Growing up— Moscow Farmer’s Market looks to improve
For the past 35 years the Moscow Farmer’s Market has brought the community together in a social atmosphere while providing fresh, regional produce and crafts. To celebrate those 35 years, the city is now looking at ways to make the farmer’s market the best version it can be, said Jen Pfiffner, assistant to the City Supervisor.
“We like to think of it as ‘what is the market like when it grows up?’” Pfiffner said.
The process of improving the market stems from the city receiving the Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, a $15,000 grant, she said. They applied for the grant late last winter and received it in late May. The city also contributed $5,000.
“The market provides that rich quality of life and community in Moscow,” she said.
To keep the community aspect that the market brings, the city is involving the community in every step of the way, Pfiffner said.
To improve the market the city has hired Aaron Zaretsky, principal with Public Market Development, as a consultant for the project.
“He has an incredible amount of experience with farmers and public markets,” she said.
Zaretsky has been the director of Seattle’s Pike Place Farmer’s Market, which he said is the largest indoor-outdoor public market in the country. He created a five-year strategic plan for Moscow’s farmer’s market.
One aspect to make the market better is to look at having an indoor-outdoor market year round, Zaretsky said in his proposal.
Pfiffner said the city is involving the public in the strategic plan in many ways. They are having a meeting open to the public at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 where they will hear what people think about the market now and where it can go in the future, she said. Also, they are having a special vendor meeting after the market on Saturday, and after those meetings they will start to make surveys and questionnaires to gain more input.
She said that if people cannot make it to the meetings, but still want to contribute to the strategic plan, they can voice their thoughts via email.
“We really hope people in the community come out,” Pfiffner said. “Not just people that come to and are vendors of the market, but students, other community members and business owners, too. We’d love to talk to them.”
In Zaretsky’s article, “Is There a Public Market in Your Community’s Future” in Farmer’s Market Today, he said public markets have cut across economic and racial lines and bring the community together because everyone feels welcome “in a safe, lively and exciting venue.”
Pfiffner said the City of Moscow strives to welcome everyone, as they were the first market in Idaho to allow the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to be used, which allows people who have low incomes go to the market.
“There is a social aspect to the market,” she said. “We want to make it more comfortable for people to take advantage of it.”
The farmer’s market takes place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May to October.
Pfiffner said that it is a big event that happens in Moscow, and they want to make the most of it.
Allison Griffith can be reached at email@example.com
To contribute ideas about Moscow’s Farmer’s Market email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit www.ci.moscow.id.us/projects/marketplan/aspx