Report from our first Downtown Farmers Market Meeting.

Below is a brief summary of items discussed at our initial meeting to discuss a future Downtown Farmers Market in Waco.  Please submit your thoughts, suggestions, comments and other ideas on vendors and farmers who you’d like to see at Market.  Your input will make the Downtown Farmers Market both a community event and asset – while contributing to the local economy and supporting area producers and artisans!  In the meantime, please support farmers and producers in the area by visiting our Eat Local. Buy Local. Be Local page.

Site Selection – Chris McGowan (Chamber).

  • Franklin and University Parks (Bangkok Royale parking lot)
  • 3rd and Franklin – vacant lot
  • 5th and Mary – Insurers of Texas parking lot
  • Others brainstormed at meeting: Indian Springs park, Heritage Square

Parks and Recreation Partnership – Jonathan (Parks and Rec)

  • Looking for city-owned parking lot
  • Partnership with city could lead to increased marketing opportunities
  • Parking lot must be shut-down during market
  • Must receive permission from surrounding businesses
  • P&R can provide trash cans
  • Connect with downtown events – without complicating parking

Permits and Licenses

  • Partnership with city could lead to activity permit being waived
  • Open air vending permit – $250/vendor
  • Each vendor needs to obtain their own permits
  • Prepared foods and other special food licenses must talk with David Litke (McLennan County Health Department)

Role of Urban Gardening Coalition

  • Eventual sponsorship – however, in the process of 501c3 status
  • Work on paperwork, organizing committee, drafting by-laws and market regulations

Farmers Market Regulations (to discuss)

  • Define vendor regions or distances
  • Day of week, time, monthly season
  • Bad weather policy
  • Define mission and goals of market
  • Push for quality marketing and strong management
  • Emphasis on education of seasonality and buying local
  • Work towards becoming TX certified farmers market – for financial and marketing support
  • Recruitment of more farmers and vendors – decide how to ensure variety and avoid market saturation
  • Think of creative ways for backyard gardeners to sell excess produce cooperatively
  • Invite musicians, restaurants, cooking demonstrations, family-centered activities

Discussion of Time/Day

  • Due to downtown business schedules – market would function best during Saturday morning, when parking lots are vacant
  • Difficult for vendors already participating in established markets to give up their Saturday if already selling successfully
  • HOT Farmers Market open Tuesdays and Saturdays 7am-2pm
  • Discussed Thursday evening as possibility
  • Eventual goal for year-round market, possibly a food co-op

At this time, no other meeting has been set. Instead those in attendance (and others in the community) interested in organizing the market will form a committee and start discussions of market regulations and structure as well as vendor recruitment. Conversation and updates will be communicated through email.  To stay updated and be a part of the conversation, contact Bethel Erickson at vista@worldhungerrelief.org.

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