Permanent Farmer’s Market

A recent editorial in the Sacramento Bee called for a permanent farmers market to concretize the recent proposal by Mayor Johnson to more deeply brand and market our agricultural heritage.

This is a great idea and the model exists in Seattle, Pike Place Market, which Wikipedia has a comprehensive article about, and we’ve written an article which provides much more detail, especially in the comments, about a permanent farmers market for Sacramento Press.

An excerpt from the Bee editorial.

“Mayor Kevin Johnson last month proclaimed Sacramento “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” during the weekly farmers market at Cesar Chavez Plaza, a fitting place named after a champion for farmworkers.

“The designation is a natural, the culmination of the Sacramento Valley’s role in agriculture since John Sutter planted 2,000 fruit trees in 1847. A Sacramento Valley Land Development Association pamphlet in 1911 touted the Valley as “one of the great valleys of the world, with a vast and fertile soil area.” It concluded that agriculture in the SacramentoValley was “much more diversified than is found anywhere else on the face of the earth.”

“The mayor agrees. No other major U.S. city, he observed, is surrounded by such a diverse range of high-quality farms, ranches and vineyards. This is not something that has to be invented, but merely tapped in a more organized way. It is, Johnson said, “part of who we are and this is our opportunity to embrace that identity, celebrate it locally and champion it to the rest of the world.”

“In 2006, The Bee’s editorial board lamented that “there hasn’t been much of a regional effort to showcase this area’s amazing variety of agricultural products and put us on the same map as Napa, Sonoma and other food-famous regions.”

“The new marketing slogan and an annual culinary festival starting in fall 2013 will provide a beginning, but it should be so much more.

“This effort shouldn’t focus merely on marketing local food served at restaurants, but also should connect government, school, hospital and home kitchens with the farmers, fishermen and ranchers who produce local bounty.

“It should involve promoting healthy food and ecologically sustainable farming practices.

“Some of this already is happening and can be expanded – and highlighted publicly. Davis, for example, has been a pioneer in the farm-to-school movement. Sacramento City Unified, too. Schools are serving fresh produce from local farmers. They’re teaching students about food through school gardens, kitchen classrooms and student-run cafeterias.

“The region has more than 50 farmers markets, including the largest certified market in California.

“Above all, why not establish a permanent pavilion dedicated to local agriculture – perhaps in the downtown railyard or on K Street?”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
This entry was posted in ARPPS, History. Bookmark the permalink.