Senator Rosapepe at the grand opening of Hollywood Farmers Market

At tonight’s worksession, the City Council to discuss two farmers market in the city – the downtown farmers market and the Hollywood Farmers Market.

The Council will review last year’s performance of the Downtown College Park Farmers Market and the Hollywood Farmers Market and discuss how to best operate them in the coming year. Last year, the Council approved $28,600 to employ KSM Marketing to run the Downtown Farmers Market for the 2013 season.

Per the customer survey,residents were pleased with the locally grown emphasis at the downtown market, and the satisfaction level for the Downtown Market increased minimally from 58.1% to 60.3%, but the dissatisfaction level rose from 20% to 30.1 %. One of the major causes for dissatisfaction is the lack of vendors. Of 8 vendors in the Downtown Market, 4 said theywill return, 1 is unsure and 3 will not.

Unlike the Downtown Market, the Hollywood Farmers Market was run completely by a group of local residents. The market enjoyed 28 different vendors throughout the season selling avariety of local products such as produce, bread and baked goods, prepared food, coffee, meat, poultry and home-made crafts. Residents have also used the Hollywood market as a weekly meeting place.

To run the Downtown market, the staff is recommending one of the following two options (1) Employ a market master with limited duties, thus costing the City much less than last year, with the rest of the duties will be carried out by City’s economic development staff; or (2) recruit a non-profit market management company, such as FreshFarm, to run the market. Staff is recommending that the City utilize the first option to run the downtown market while pursuing the second.

We would also like the City to better support the Hollywood Farmers Market, to ensure that the market does not have to be entirely volunteer-run, and may ask the City staff to assist with the logistics of running the market, while continuing to have the market managed by volunteers.  The Council will discuss these and other options to support the Downtown and Hollywood Farmers Market, will also emphasized the Freight forwarding service and how to handle those especially for the farmers and buyers.

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