Chico Certified Farmers Market. ~ Imagine 2030 ~. Chico Farmers Markets 2030 Vision A student project in the Department of Geography and Planning at CSU, Chico.
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~ Imagine 2030 ~
The goal of this project was to create a typical chapter for the Chico 2030 General Plan that focused expressly on the Chico Farmers Markets. The descriptions are general and they illustrate what the Chico Farmers Markets could look like in the future. In the Chico 2030 General Plan, most chapters have a section on Vision, Trends, and Considerations (replicated in these panels) followed by a series of policies and actions that are intended to ensure the vision becomes a reality.
Chico will be a livable, energetic, healthy, and sustainable community in the year 2030. It will offer a high quality of life with a strong sense of community and place. Chico will maintain its small town character with opportunities for future generations. The City will be characterized by a vibrant downtown, a healthy economy, compact urban form, identifiable neighborhoods with a variety of housing choices, organic and sustainable farming practices, and a focus on alternative transportation and healthy lifestyles.
Because Chico has been a trendsetter in the localvore movement and has long been known for its support of organic food and healthy lifestyles, there will be an abundance of vegetable stands, farmers markets, community markets, and neighborhood stores showcasing local pesticide-free produce, dairy products, meat, and homemade goods.
By 2030 the Certified Farmers Markets have grown to keep pace with the increasing numbers of consumers seeking fresh, healthy foods. The four weekly markets vary in size and character. The Saturday Farmers Market is an inclusive, adaptable expression of the Chico community that fosters local farming and serves as a hub to bring people together. The market holds a wide variety of produce, meats, cheeses, and artisan goods. Tables and chairs allow for relaxing and socializing, and a stage hosts cultural entertainment and celebration.
The three satellite Farmers Markets are conveniently located in different parts of town, providing easy mid-week access to fresh food and offering location specific programming to area residents.
Farmers markets were once the primary source for fresh foods for urban residents in America but they disappeared in this country with the arrival of mass marketing. Farmers Markets underwent a resurgence with the passage of the USDA’s Direct Marketing Act in 1976. In 2013 the USDA reported the existence of 8,144 farmers markets in the United States, nearly five-times as many as in 1994.
California leads the nation in the number of farmers markets, with nearly one in every ten farmers markets located in our state.
In 2013, California had 755 farmers markets in operation, an increase of almost 30% in three years. Of those markets, 232 operate year-round, 17% of the nation’s total winter markets.
Chico Certified Farmers Market
Total vendors - 1980-2013
On July 19, 1980, eight farmers gathered at the Park Plaza Shopping Center for Chico’s first Saturday Farmers Market in the modern era. The Market later moved to the Hasket Car Lot on Park Ave. before settling down in the Gold Country Market parking lot on 5th and Orient. Twenty-two vendors in 1983 grew to seventy-six vendors in 1990 when the Market moved to its current location.
The lot at 2nd and Flume allowed the Market to expand to 100 vendors in 1991 and growth has matched national trends. The Saturday Market currently hosts 154 vendors. In 1983, a hundred shoppers constituted “a good market.” Now, over 3,000 people visit the market on any given weekend during the peak season.
The USDA reports that the direct marketing of local food is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, rising 50% between 2002-2007. Nationally, local foods were valued at $1 billion in 2005, $4.8 billion in 2007 and $7 billion in 2012. In California, direct market sales increased 9.6% in 2012 alone. The USDA expects these trends to continue.
The General Plan predicts that by 2030, Chico will have a population of 139,000, an increase of 40,000 residents. More consumers and shifting preferences suggest that demand for direct market access to fresh foods will grow in the years to come, and the City of Chico and the local agricultural community need to plan accordingly. The following issues will need to be addressed in the years ahead.
In 2030, the Saturday Farmers Market will have permanent amenities for vendors and customers. Electricity and fresh water will be easily accessible to all vendors, which will allow for refrigeration and other essentials. Restrooms will be available for both vendors and customers, allowing people to relax at the market longer and enjoy community conversations. There will also be a solid roof with solar for those vendors who do not wish to use a canopy tent.
These permanent amenities will provide additional space for vendors and customers, making the aisles and stalls less crowded. Lastly, containers placed around the Market for trash, recycling and compost will provide a cleaner market.
In 2030, permanent signage around town will direct community members in three languages (English, Spanish, Hmong) to the various markets. Additional signage will surround the marketswhen they are occurring.Business office accommodations for Market staff will be located within a reasonable distance of the Saturday Farmers Market, allowing for convenient access
of market materials and supplies.
A forklift is stored in a nearby warehouse and allows the Saturday Market vendors to load and unload efficiently as the market expands. A cold storage room in the warehouse is available to vendors wishing to hold unsold products for sale later in the week.
The need for vendor access before and after the market is invisible to those attending. In 2030, all the markets will have sufficient space and turning radius for vendors with large trucks to load and unload their products without interfering with other vendors. The markets will have driveways on each corner of the market to allow vendor vehicles to enter and exit the property safely and efficiently.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all public spaces be accessible for people of all physical ability levels. Parking meters and concrete curbs create obstacles for shoppers as well as vendors. The markets will have flat, open spaces for the safety and enjoyment of everyone. The Saturday Farmers Market will also provide shopping cart alternatives to shoppers to ensure that they can carry their purchases with ease.
In 2030, Chico will have a multi-modal circulation systems that reduces single occupancy vehicles and increases alternative transportation. Public transit connections and improved bicycle parking has increased customer access to the Farmers Markets and offset the loss of the parking spaces. On-site ATM and EBT machines allow access to fresh food for shoppers of all income levels.
The Chico Farmers Markets bring the entire community together and foster civic participation. The civic engagement space at the Saturday Farmers Market includes permanent tables and chairs for market attendees, an elevated performance stage, and a covered demonstration area which includes electricity and running water.
The Saturday Farmers Market will also provide non-profit, civic, and student organizations the opportunity to use space under the permanent shade structure. Civic engagement space at the satellite Farmers Markets is smaller, mobile, and intended for the surrounding community.
On the stage, local or traveling artists provide live music and entertainment. In the demonstration area, local chefs offer cooking demonstrations that focus on foods that can be purchased at the market.At other times, nutritionists teach classes about healthy recipes andsimple cooking techniquesthat follow the seasons.
In 2030, Chico will have a resilient local food system that provides the whole Chico community with the majority of the fresh food it consumes. The farmers markets are the hub for the growing localvoremovementthat continues to deepen the connections between customers and their farmers.