City’s Farmer market committee will be at tomorrow’s worksession to report the progress they have made since it started in April this year. Currently, the committee runs Downtown College Park Farmers Market (the “DCPFM”) which operates every Sunday from 9am to 2pm at City Hall’s parking lot from April to November. The committee has been instrumental in recruiting a diverse array of local farmers and producers, designing and implementing a marketing campaign, and submitting an annual report to the Mayor and Council.
It also reviewed farmers markets in Maryland and other States to understand the reasons for their successes and failures. The committee has researched best practices and operational guidelines to form policies and rules. It has met with the current market operator, Miller Farms and met with representatives from the University of Maryland’s Farmers Market to discuss their experience with the market and plans for the market’s future.
Additionally the committee created a customer survey to understand the customer base of the DCPFM, along with its strengths and weaknesses, while collecting data that would allow the Committee to form recommendations. The customer survey received 248 responses while it was open from mid August through September this year. We thank you all who took part of these survey. The survey finds that there is a strong preference for locally grown/raised produce and products and sustainable farming practices. Customers also desire a wider variety of vendors. While the current Downtown location was the favorite choice of respondents a location in North College Park (primarily Hollywood or Duvall Field) was selected by 37 respondents as well.
From these findings the Committee focused on crafting vision and mission statements that would guide their recommendations and future plans for the DCPFM. The Committee’s recommendations include allowing them to interview and recommend a candidate for a paid market master position and increase promotion of the market.
For the 2013 season, the committee is asking for a request in the amount of $9,600 for FY 2013 budget. The requested amount will be used to recruit a market master ($4200), to fund marketing ($3950), to make a sandwich board sign ($1000), to buy canopy tents ($200) and other cover other costs ($250).
Please let me know if you have any questions.