News 6-5-07 Farmers Market

As reported previously, the Redevelopment Agency entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nevada Farmer's Market Association, to open a farmer's market downtown. The permanent, indoor year round farmer's market will be completed in December...location is still undecided among the 3 contenders, Riverwalk, Belvedere Tower and Freight House. However, to take advantage of summer crowds, an outdoor farmer's market will begin in July, at 10 North Virginia on the plaza. New Redevelopment Agency staff member Karen Craig explained they don't want to necessarily go in the direction of the Sparks Farmer's Market, which has become more event oriented and less farmer oriented. Their concept is to truly push the farmer's products, focusing on the benefits of buying local food. To draw folks to the market during Art Town, the city plans to move some of the food venues for Art Town over to the 10 North Virginia plaza to join the farmer's market. I think this is a good will introduce Reno-ites to the concept of buying local, and it's good to have during summer, and there's no way to get one of the indoor locations finished in just a couple months, considering each location is 'unfinished' inside. You readers voted for an urban farmer's market overwhelmingly on my poll, so PLEASE go and support this when it opens. Buy some produce, fruit, meat etc. I'm going to be pushing and promoting this in any way I can, for sure.

Post your comments
Posted by: karen craig - 6/6/2007 7:02:06 AM
Hey Mike, I am a great fan of Downtown Makeover (reading it daily). Thanks for input and support for the Urban Market. FYI - I use your polls and read the comment section daily in adjusting strategy and vision for downtown and Urban Market. My background is that I moved to Reno about 14 years ago with my geologist husband and new baby. I am one of the founders of Artown. I was the Executive Director for the first 7 years of the Festival. My family recently purchased a downtown condo (although we need our house to sell before we can move in permanently downtown). My son grew up in Reno and learned to kayak in the Reno Whitewater Park. You probably see him training downtown on your walks. He is the little kid (looks like a cork bouncing around out there). He is the current US Jr. National Freestyle Champion and was psyched to win here at the Reno River Fest a few weeks ago. I have a great passion for creating a great downtown. I would enjoy meeting you and joining you on one of your downtown dog walks. I would enjoy hearing more of your vision, comments and concerns for downtown (especially ideas and cautions for the Urban Market). Ill also fill you in on some of the earlier vision(s) from 1990s of how we started to create Uptown Downtown Artown as a strategy to promote the University on the Hill + the Business District + River Arts District to revitalize downtown. I look forward to meeting you. With apprecition, Karen Craig

Posted by: Mike Van H - 6/6/2007 8:34:26 AM
Wow Karen thanks for the props! Im glad to hear youll be a neighbor soon. Welcome aboard! You took Art Town to an amazing level, I can imagine what youll be able to do under the Redevelopment Agency. Id love to take you up on your offer when I get back into town, although to keep a little perspective Im just one resident with some opinions and ideas; I certainly dont have any planning experience, redevelopment experience etc. But I have lived in downtown urban areas my entire life, in Los Angeles, Manhattan, and now here. So I have life experience haha. The farmers market I grew up with is this one, It was a family tradition we go there every weekend to pick up produce and meat, people-watch and socialize. It was very common for Angelians to say Meet me at Fairfax and Third which of course is the farmers market. Im stoked that you are so into this site; that was one of my main goals with the site, to get the public excited about the Redevelopment Agencys plans downtown, and to get the Redevelopment Agency excited that there are citizens out there who are into downtown Reno. A while back Kristen Rossiter approached me about collaborating with the agency, but right at that moment my web firm became 4x as busy, and I didnt even have the time to do a proposal for them (sorry Kristen!) and I think that left the Agency with a negative impression of me. My fault! But that was a couple years ago, I think theyve warmed up to me since then, and probably realize I better serve their cause/purpose in a non-official, citizen level capacity. FYI I removed your cell phone from your comment post, not sure if you realized those actually go public, and was unsure if you wanted it exposed to thousands of people visiting this site. I can add it back in if you want, if you intended it to be public knowledge. Thanks again for the props!

Posted by: Bugsy - 6/6/2007 10:26:08 AM
Im hoping this farmers market makes a big splash because I believe it will be the test of big retail project downtown and if successful, it will start a chain reaction of other retail moving in and making Downtown a great place to live and play. Its nice knowing people like Karen are moving downtown and have a huge interest on making our investment in downtown successful. Good job Karen......and you too Mike.

Posted by: AH - 6/6/2007 12:31:43 PM
To all of you naive enough to support a farmers market in downtown Reno, consider the following: 1) loading and unloading of materials, goods, produce, etc. that will be needed to accommodate such a Farmer's Market. 2) I'm sure those residents in the Riverwalk or adjacent condominium complexes will be thrilled with the smells that are common to most "farmers markets" like the one that is being proposed. I'm sure those people that spent $300,000 plus to buy one of these condos will be thrilled with day-old rotting seafood, meats, produce, etc. that will soon be their "next door neighbor". 3) The insanity of hiring a full-time employee at the Agency to work solely on this farmer's market concept. Is the rest of the staff - a new administrator making $150K a year and three economic development managers (each earning in excess of $100K a year) and a "downtown beautification manager" with no budget to pursue this project let alone do any beautification - really that busy that they need an additional staff member?? What the heck?? If they are "so busy" as to need another staff person, WHERE ARE THE RESULTS?? WHERE ARE THESE MYSTERIOUS and SEEMINGLY INVISIBLE PROJECTS that monopolize the staff's time? Yet another example of bureaucratic waste. 4) Remember the Downtown Grocery Store study from a year or so ago? Even given the new developments, there will be only 5,000 plus individuals living in downtown Reno in the next few years - similar farmers markets in other cities have populations of 12,000 or more within a one mile radius of them. We can't even get half of that. This project will result in a huge failure. WHERE IS THE DEVELOPERS financial feasibility study? Where is the cost proformas? Where is the estimation of BREAK-EVEN in-terms of how much money per month, year the market must make to remain in business? How many customers does the market need per year/month to survive? WHERE IS THE OBVIOUS DUE DILLIGENCE THAT ANY OTHER PROJECT WOULD BE REQUIRED TO DO??? Why is it that NO ONE IS PUSHING THE AGENCY and the DEVELOPER for these numbers??? Do we need another failed project in downtown Reno - Chambolle, Metropolitan, 10 N Virginia Street to name a few - until the community at large begins to push the Agency/City and Developers to provide this analysis??? 5) Using REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY money for this project is completely unacceptable. Especially if it is used to acquire the ground floor of existing property to house the market or to build a new facility. WHERE IS THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR DOWNTOWN PROPERTY OWNERS AND BOND HOLDERS AND THE AGENCY???? If the Council/Agency moves forward with Redevelopment dollars to do this project, and it generates NO PROPERTY TAX INCREMENT for the Agency, it's time to replace the Agency Board and the Executive Director with COMPETENT business people that know how to go after a return on investment. 6) I'm sure the developing retail around the farmer's market will be thrilled with this project! A vibrant entertainment night-life is just now beginning to show signs of life and what are we going to do? Kill it dead with a project that is completely incompatible with it. Oh well, goes to show you how naive the public is - the fact that the Agency and the City can blind everyone to the apparent shortcomings of this project. It's time for the public, property owners and bond holders of Agency debt to use their brains in forcing the City Council/Agency Board to answer these, and other CRITICAL questions - not just for this project, BUT FOR EVERY project in downtown Reno.

Posted by: Justin - 6/6/2007 12:57:41 PM
If the weekly Farmers Market in Sparks can be used as any sort of any indication, I think the chances of a year-round downtown Reno market being successful are VERY good. I personally can't wait. My only hope is that they will have a comprehensive selection of organics. I'm tiring of Wild Goats.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 6/6/2007 2:57:37 PM
To AH: Naive enough to support a farmers market? Do you think the people who frequent the Sparks Farmers Market all live within a mile of the market? Yeah right. I frequent it and I live 7 miles away. The whole community supports it. Your comments give the impression a farmers market has never been built before, in any city, and your comments seem more against farmers markets in general than downtown Reno getting a farmers market. You act like no other farmers market is successful. Ive seen successful farmers markets in communities smaller than Reno and larger than Reno. 1. The outdoor farmers market will not be large enough initally to worry about loading and unloading, and the 10 North Virginia Plaza has access from the street. If they can unload and load pieces for an ice skating rink, and supporting equipment like freezers etc, I think they can handle a dozen or so fruit and produce stands. When the location moves indoors in the winter, obviously they arent going to pick a location where loading/unloading would be a problem. 2. Ive been to the Sparks Farmers Market, Pikes Place, LA Farmers Market hundreds of times and one in Phoenix, and never have I smelled day-old rotting fish, meats or produce. I suggest maybe you go to better quality markets! They dont leave meat rotting out in the sun all day. Maybe youre confusing farmers markets with trash dumpsters? 3. If you had gone to the meeting, you would know Karen wasnt hired to solely work on a farmers market, its the first of Im sure many projects for her to oversee. 4. I remember the downtown grocery study, however a farmers market is not just about groceries, IMO. Its a completely different concept. Its about the urban-to-farmer connection, and mingling, and seeing entertainment, and eating! And I think most community planners would agree they are two totally different concepts. The last part of your 4th point and your 5th point are legitimate questions. It would be good to know where the money is coming from, how involved the Agency is, what their part is, if theres enough foot traffic to support it etc. But I think youre jumping the gun in the sense you have no idea how much the agency is getting involved, you have no idea how much money they are allocating or providing assistance for, and you really dont even know the details of the MOU. In my opinion Redevelopment isnt just about building tax-generating projects to pay off bonds. Sure thats part of it, but you have to engage in the supporting projects to some extent as well. You cant just have a bunch of retail projects in an ugly neighborhood. You are also jumping the gun in the sense all the farmers market will be to begin with is a dozen or so stands on 10 North Virginia Plaza from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays starting in July. Tell me how that will cost the Redevelopment Agency hundreds of thousands of dollars? It wont. It will gauge how the public reacts to the concept of a farmers market and food venues. If you are so concerned with the financial implications of this project, why dont you email Mark Lewis or Karen and talk about it in an intelligent manner? These arent publicly inaccessible people, you just have to take the time to communicate with them. And while youre at it, take the time to learn that the Nevada Farmers Market Association already runs several successful farmers markets in Nevada, from rural to urban, from Vegas to Sparks to Fallon. Thats their website.

Posted by: Paul - 6/6/2007 4:18:12 PM
AH your remarks on farmers markets are downright ridiculous. Have you ever spent time at an established farmers market, particularly an indoor one with established restaurants, farmers, artists and products? I prefer Portland's urban farmers market, to me Pike's Place is almost too commercial now, with a Starbucks and all. A farmers market is a community gathering place, an experience. Sorry, shopping at Albertson's or Raley's is not an experience. No comparison. Also, in reading the Redevelopment Agency's mission statement, I don't see where it says only build projects that have a direct return on investment. Mike Van H is right, redevelopment is not that cut-and-dry. If you look at their goals, they include improving public utilities, establishing sense of community pride, recruiting new business from outside the area to relocate to vacant redevelopment property (maybe like a farmrs market) and new cultural, shopping and recreation opportunities within the community.

Posted by: ModGirl - 6/6/2007 4:28:28 PM
Wow AH, this conversation sounds familiar... do your remember a few years back when people like you had the same questions and concerns about the Kyaking park? They were against it, asking, "why downtown, there is nothing but crack houses and whores down there???" .... 5 years later, TA DA, it happens to generate over 30,000 people to its annual festival. It was the starting point of cleaning up the downtown. Then the domino effect.... and look at what it is today. Have some faith in our Redevelopment Agency!!!! The farmers market will bring more life to the downtown than vacant floor space. It's going to be a beautiful place, it is already a beautiful place! Why do you think people are willing to spend $400K on a one bedroom unit just to be downtown? To watch "FRIENDS" and "AMERICAN IDOL"on TV? No, probably to be closer to the action, so they can go outside and play within walking distance.

Posted by: Reno Girl - 6/6/2007 6:58:21 PM
I don't live downtown, but I'll go to the farmer's market. What a great thing for downtown Reno! Seems there's no shortage of sour people who can't stand to see Reno get better. The city is on a roll and no amount of pooh-poohing from the naysayers is going to stop it.

Posted by: Slapdad - 6/6/2007 10:15:52 PM
"To all of you naive enough to support a farmers market in downtown Reno..." I'm not even sure what that is supposed to mean. I think what you're trying to say is that you think anyone who has a different opinion than you MUST be wrong....but naive?? 1) Loading and unloading of materials. Yes, they will need to load and unload materials. Just as there will be a need to load and unload materials at any retail location that might be located in those same sites. If it can be done at Silver Peak or Pikes Place, then it can be done at these locations as well. 2)The smells of a farmers market is no different than the smells of any grocery store, which the residents who live downtown have been begging for. And when you factor in that, unlike most farmers markets, this farmers market is slated to have a common kitchen with refrigeration. 3) First of all, these positions are not dedicated to the Farmer's Market. Second, have you worked out a break even analysis for the addition of these positions? I'm wagering that you haven't and I'll also wager that adding these positions to help revitalize our downtown, which has a HUGE impact on tourism (which still drives this town) will pay for themselves and then some. 4) The last news that I saw on the market was that it was a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that was signed, which only expresses a common will between parties rather than a legal commitment. Certainly, as the process moves along, we will see some financial analysis of the three sites. And how is 10 N. Virginia a "failed project already". Just because there have been delays, that does not qualify it as a failure. 5) Where is the return on investment? Adding a retail outlet to purchase groceries will make living downtown more attractive, increase demand for property, which can drive up values (a benefit for those who do own a place downtown now) and increase tax revenue for the city as well as creating new jobs and adding to the retail sector downtown, the success of which benefits.....Reno! If that's not a wise use of redevelopment funds, I'm not sure what would be. 6) Adding a retail location that gives residents a place to buy food is going to kill the entire entertainment sector in downtown Reno? That's a pretty bold statement. Come to think of it, you may be right. When I step out onto the streets of downtown, the last thing I want to see is a farmers market, which will also include restaurants (the last time I checked, restaurants were a huge component of entertainment) taking up space that should be reserved for things like a junky antique mall, liquor stores, pawn shops, and shuttered buildings. What are these people thinking??? Naive indeed.

Posted by: Toby - 6/6/2007 10:31:24 PM
I happen to enjoy the smell of day-old rotting seafood, meats, produce and etc

Posted by: AH - 6/7/2007 4:39:39 PM
All of you should read this: This is the market feasibility study for the exact "farmers market" proposed for downtown Reno.

Posted by: Justin - 6/7/2007 5:46:50 PM
Link doesn't work, at least for me.

Posted by: Slapdad - 6/7/2007 6:45:18 PM
The link doesn't work for me either....I guess we must naive.

Posted by: Living Picture Show - 6/14/2007 4:52:42 AM
I understand there is a need for bands at this summer's new downtown market. If so, please let me know who is in charge. I can be reached at Thank you.

Posted by: Barbara - 6/14/2007 9:06:47 PM
This sounds like a great idea. I live in Sparks and refuse to go to the Thursday night "farmers" market because it is a zoo. I love the idea of a year round farmers market and will gladly support it. I moved here from Seattle seven years ago and frequented Pike Place Market after work. Nothing like putting fresh seafood, poultry and produce on the table at dinner time. Downtown desperately needs a draw such as this for the locals and visitors.