Farmers Market Ordinance - the Good Parts
Despite the unfortunate destruction of one of the critical pieces of the farmers market community's recommended ordinance changes by the Council this morning, there's a lot of other good stuff in this ordinance.
Most importantly, our ordinances will no longer be neutral on whether or not the food at farmers markets is local. During the growing season, 60% of vendors at farmers markets will have to be agricultural producers, bringing foods like tomatoes and green peppers, or meat, eggs, and cheese to market. Distributors will still be allowed, but they have to be part of the other 40%, and will not be allowed to sell foods that are available locally and in season. (It's important to note that these changes don't apply to the Municipal market, which is governed by a different ordinance than the other farmers markets in town.)
The Mini Markets that were created in 2007 have been given legal standing (they weren't part of our ordinances before). They've also been given more flexibility in choosing vendors; up until now, they've only been allowed to have agricultural producers, and those people have only been allowed to sell plant-based foods (like tomatoes and peppers). Now they'll be able to have up to one distributor of foods like bananas, and one home processor, selling foods like jams, jellies, pickles or bread.
The ordinance creates a new license type called a "Produce and Craft Market." These are allowed to be indoors or outdoors, and have much more flexibility in selecting their vendors. Up to 70% of these markets can be crafters, artists, and others bringing products they've made to market. Only 10% of these markets can be food distributors, though, to preserve the local connection, and no vendors may resell non-food items (sunglasses, knick knacks).
Farmers Markets will be allowed to have up to 6 indoor markets per year as part of their normal license, even if those markets occur on another site. So, for instance, a market that takes place in the summer on a church parking lot will be able - for free - to have one winter market for every month of the off-season in a park building five blocks away. All they need to do is write the location as part of their license application.
There are also a number of important clarifications in the ordinance, including a much cleaner list of definitions.
My thank sincere goes to all the staff and market managers who helped work on ths project and especially to my Aide, Robin Garwood for all his skill and energy helping to put this package together.
Managers or representatives of these markets were consulted, and supportive:
Midtown Global Market
The Farmers Market Annex
These folks also deserve special thanks
David Nicholson, Madeline Kastler, Aaron Reser
Tim Jenkins, Curt Fernandez, Katie Lampi, Steve Poor, Dan Huff, Linda Roberts, Joel Fussy and Jackie Hanson