Yes on Measure B for a Permanent Marin Farmer’s Market

On the ballot June 3, 2014, is Measure B, which will help the Marin Farmers Market take root in a permanent home at the Marin Civic Center – at no cost to the public. In 1992, Marin voters passed a measure requiring a vote of the people for any changes to the Marin Civic Center site. Yes on B will give permission to the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM), the non-profit that runs the Civic Center Farmer’s Market, to negotiate with Marin County to create the permanent home.

The permanent home for the Marin Farmers Market – “The Farmers Market Canopy and Market Hall” – will be a community hub for agriculture and will benefit our West Marin farmers and ranchers as well as the community at large. “The farmers market project is an essential contributor to the future success of agriculture here in Marin as well as our entire Bay Area food shed”, states Julie Rossotti of Rossotti Ranch. “It will provide a permanent place for farmers and ranchers to sell our locally grown food directly to our community, for decades to come. To have a permanent “home” to sell our meat gives me inspiration and encouragement to continue my family’s tradition of ranching in Marin County.”

For more than three decades, the Marin Farmers Market, operated by AIM, has provided a direct market for local farmers, jobs for hundreds of people and a place for thousands of Marin residents to shop for local farm fresh goods – helping launch the farm to table movement. Each Sunday and Thursday, this town square at the Marin Civic Center brings together more than 200 farmers, specialty food purveyors, artisans and thousands of patrons to celebrate a vibrant local food movement.

For the past 31 years, the Marin Farmers Market has operated on parking lot tarmacs, moving around according to available space and lacking consistent electricity for refrigeration, access to running water, and always vulnerable to weather. AIM, with its dedication to sustainable food production and consumption, understands that this transient lifestyle is no longer sufficient. “The Marin Farmers Market is ready for a permanent home,” states Brigitte Moran, AIM’s CEO. “Measure B will allow the Marin Farmers Market to continue as an invaluable resource and gathering place for future generations – a landmark dedicated to local food, farming, and families in Marin…forever”. AIM and the County of Marin have worked in close conjunction to determine the optimal site, with design concepts from architect Buddy Williams, and a business model that supports both social and economic benefits. The project’s main features will include:

– The Market Canopy: The expanded Farmers Market will operate two days per week, with a possible third day added later, much of it under the shelter of a light-permeable cover that will provide for year-round access.

– Education and event facilities: The project will allow AIM to offer new and expanded programs – convening of national and international seminars with local agricultural leaders, facilitating donations from farmers to local food pantries, expanded WIC and food stamp programs, cooking classes, cultural events and an array of educational opportunities such as AIM’s highly popular Diggin’ the Market program for local schoolchildren.

– The Market Hall & Plaza: Central to the new facility will be its retail center where locally grown food, including cheese, meats and artisan-prepared foods, can be purchased seven days a week, directly from local producers. Day tables will allow farmers to sell local produce on off-market days.

– Eco-friendly design. The entire project celebrates natural resources, minimizes energy utilization, uses recycled materials, collects rainwater and is part of the bicycle and pedestrian master plan. AIM is both committed to providing the community with healthy food and to being a responsible steward of our environment. One June 3 Marin voters will have the opportunity to help make this a reality with the next step in the Marin Farmers Market’s journey. The Farmers Market is a treasured resource in Marin. With more than $15 million in goods sold each year, the Farmers Market is an engine of the local economy that supports our farmers and provides our community with fresh, local food.

Yes on B will help the Marin Farmers Market take root at the Civic Center.