the study. - CSU, Chico

Chico Certified
Farmers Market
~ Imagine 2030 ~
Chico Farmers Markets 2030 Vision
A student project in the Department of Geography and Planning at CSU, Chico
The goal of this project was to create a typical
chapter for the Chico 2030 General Plan that
focused expressly on the Chico Farmers Markets.
The descriptions are general and they illustrate
what the Chico Farmers Markets could look like in
the future. In the Chico 2030 General Plan, most
chapters have a section on Vision, Trends, and
Considerations (replicated in these panels)
followed by a series of policies and actions that are
intended to ensure the vision becomes a reality.
Introduction: General Plan
Chico will be a livable, energetic, healthy, and
sustainable community in the year 2030. It
will offer a high quality of life with a strong
sense of community and place. Chico will
maintain its small town character with
opportunities for future generations. The City
will be characterized by a vibrant downtown,
a healthy economy, compact urban form,
identifiable neighborhoods with a variety of
housing choices, organic and sustainable
farming practices, and a focus on alternative
transportation and healthy lifestyles.
Because Chico has been a trendsetter in the localvore
movement and has long been known for its support
of organic food and healthy lifestyles, there will be an
abundance of vegetable stands, farmers markets,
community markets, and neighborhood stores
showcasing local pesticide-free produce, dairy
products, meat, and homemade goods.
Chico Farmers Markets: 2030 Vision
By 2030 the Certified Farmers Markets have
grown to keep pace with the increasing
numbers of consumers seeking fresh, healthy
foods. The four weekly markets vary in size
and character. The Saturday Farmers Market is
an inclusive, adaptable expression of the Chico
community that fosters local farming and
serves as a hub to bring people together. The
market holds a wide variety of produce, meats,
cheeses, and artisan goods. Tables and chairs
allow for relaxing and socializing, and a stage
hosts cultural entertainment and celebration.
The three satellite Farmers Markets
are conveniently located in different
parts of town, providing easy midweek access to fresh food and
offering location specific
programming to area residents.
Farmers Markets: Outlook and Trends
Farmers markets were once the primary
source for fresh foods for urban residents
in America but they disappeared in this
country with the arrival of mass
marketing. Farmers Markets underwent a
resurgence with the passage of the USDA’s
Direct Marketing Act in 1976. In 2013 the
USDA reported the existence of 8,144
farmers markets in the United States,
nearly five-times as many as in 1994.
California leads the nation in the number of
farmers markets, with nearly one in every ten
farmers markets located in our state.
In 2013, California had 755 farmers markets in
operation, an increase of almost 30% in three
years. Of those markets, 232 operate yearround, 17% of the nation’s total winter markets.
Chico’s Saturday Farmers Market History
On July 19, 1980, eight farmers gathered at
the Park Plaza Shopping Center for Chico’s
first Saturday Farmers Market in the
modern era. The Market later moved to
the Hasket Car Lot on Park Ave. before
settling down in the Gold Country Market
parking lot on 5th and Orient. Twenty-two
vendors in 1983 grew to seventy-six
vendors in 1990 when the Market moved
to its current location.
Chico Certified Farmers Market
Total vendors - 1980-2013
The lot at 2nd and Flume allowed the
Market to expand to 100 vendors in
1991 and growth has matched
national trends. The Saturday Market
currently hosts 154 vendors. In 1983,
a hundred shoppers constituted “a
good market.” Now, over 3,000 people
visit the market on any given weekend
during the peak season.
Chico Farmers Markets: Outlook and Trends
The USDA reports that the direct marketing
of local food is one of the fastest growing
sectors of agriculture, rising 50% between
2002-2007. Nationally, local foods were
valued at $1 billion in 2005, $4.8 billion in
2007 and $7 billion in 2012. In California,
direct market sales increased 9.6% in 2012
alone. The USDA expects these trends to
The General Plan predicts that by 2030, Chico
will have a population of 139,000, an increase
of 40,000 residents. More consumers and
shifting preferences suggest that demand for
direct market access to fresh foods will grow
in the years to come, and the City of Chico and
the local agricultural community need to plan
accordingly. The following issues will need to
be addressed in the years ahead.
On-Site Infrastructure
In 2030, the Saturday Farmers Market will have
permanent amenities for vendors and
customers. Electricity and fresh water will be
easily accessible to all vendors, which will allow
for refrigeration and other essentials. Restrooms
will be available for both vendors and customers,
allowing people to relax at the market longer
and enjoy community conversations. There will
also be a solid roof with solar for those vendors
who do not wish to use a canopy tent.
These permanent amenities will
provide additional space for vendors
and customers, making the aisles and
stalls less crowded. Lastly, containers
placed around the Market for trash,
recycling and compost will provide a
cleaner market.
Off-site Infrastructure
In 2030, permanent signage around town will
direct community members in three languages
(English, Spanish, Hmong) to the various markets.
Additional signage will surround the markets
when they are occurring. Business office
accommodations for Market staff will be located
within a reasonable distance of the Saturday
Farmers Market, allowing for convenient access
of market materials and supplies.
A forklift is stored in a nearby
warehouse and allows the Saturday
Market vendors to load and unload
efficiently as the market expands. A
cold storage room in the warehouse
is available to vendors wishing to
hold unsold products for sale later
in the week.
Market Access: Vendors
The need for vendor access before and
after the market is invisible to those
attending. In 2030, all the markets will
have sufficient space and turning radius
for vendors with large trucks to load and
unload their products without
interfering with other vendors. The
markets will have driveways on each
corner of the market to allow vendor
vehicles to enter and exit the property
safely and efficiently.
In additional to an open, level area
that is free of curb stops and other
obstructions, vendors will also have
a stream-lined process to access
towing services in the situation
where a vendor’s assigned stall is
occupied by a vehicle left in the
parking lot overnight.
Market Access: Customers
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
requires that all public spaces be accessible for
people of all physical ability levels. Parking meters
and concrete curbs create obstacles for shoppers
as well as vendors. The markets will have flat,
open spaces for the safety and enjoyment of
everyone. The Saturday Farmers Market will also
provide shopping cart alternatives to shoppers to
ensure that they can carry their purchases with
In 2030, Chico will have a multi-modal circulation
systems that reduces single occupancy vehicles
and increases alternative transportation. Public
transit connections and improved bicycle parking
has increased customer access to the Farmers
Markets and offset the loss of the parking spaces.
On-site ATM and EBT machines allow access to
fresh food for shoppers of all income levels.
Civic Engagement: Space
The Chico Farmers Markets bring the
entire community together and foster civic
participation. The civic engagement space
at the Saturday Farmers Market includes
permanent tables and chairs for market
attendees, an elevated performance stage,
and a covered demonstration area which
includes electricity and running water.
The Saturday Farmers Market will also
provide non-profit, civic, and student
organizations the opportunity to use
space under the permanent shade
structure. Civic engagement space at
the satellite Farmers Markets is
smaller, mobile, and intended for the
surrounding community.
Civic Engagement: Programming
On the stage, local or traveling artists provide
live music and entertainment. In the
demonstration area, local chefs offer cooking
demonstrations that focus on foods that can
be purchased at the market. At other times,
nutritionists teach classes about healthy
recipes and simple cooking techniques that
follow the seasons.
The civic engagement space at the
Saturday Farmers Market also serves as an
area to celebrate multicultural holidays
and host community events such as a chili
cook-off or a salsa contest. In addition,
adults who would like to sample a glass of
locally-made beer or wine before selecting
a purchase are able to do so in a 21 and
over beer and wine garden.
Food Security, Now and in the Future
In 2030, Chico will have a resilient
local food system that provides the
whole Chico community with the
majority of the fresh food it consumes.
The farmers markets are the hub for
the growing localvore movement that
continues to deepen the connections
between customers and their farmers.
Chico’s four Farmers Markets operate yearround, in different locations, and on
different days of the week, to better serve
the entire population of the City of Chico.
The markets also ensure local food security
well beyond 2030 with a program that
mentors new farmers, offers them business
expertise and dedicates space at the
markets to help them become established.
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