Dear City Council Members and Mayor Goloff,
I’m writing to you concerning your decision to try to push the Saturday Chico Certified Farmer’s Market out of their current time and/or location in downtown Chico.
My father-in-law, Reid Seibold, is a long-time vendor and current board member for the Chico Certified Farmer’s Market. My mother-in-law, Ann Noble, is a long-time vendor. My great aunt, Lori Noble, of Noble Orchards, is a long-time vendor. My mother and father raised me on produce from the farmer’s market. As long as I can remember, I have always been involved with the market somehow. I value the sense of community that exists there, I value high quality produce and other locally produced products available to me there, and I value all the people who show up every week to make the market possible.
It would truly be a tragedy, if due to the complaints of a few people, the needs of our community would no longer be met. The farmer’s market is one of the only places left where you can buy local produce. It’s one of the only places available for local farmers to sell their produce. In a world full of food of questionable safety, I know I can rely on the local farmers for safe, quality produce. With childhood obesity, diabetes, and many other diet-related diseases on the rise, I find it hard to believe that my city government, whose job it is to keep our community safe and healthy, would see fit to rid us of this beautiful tradition.
I also find it difficult to believe that downtown business owners cannot see how the farmer’s market is a positive thing for them. The complaints I’ve heard so far basically boil down to a lack of parking, yet every Saturday our parking structures are ghost towns. The farmer’s market reminds people that downtown is not just for vagrants and drunks; it is for families and the community at large to enjoy. In addition, many people do not come downtown for any other reason except for the farmer’s market. They often shop at downtown businesses when they are already there for the farmer’s market.
It is truly appalling that you would choose to “strong arm” the farmer’s market this way. The board of directors has been more than open to negotiations of moving to another downtown location that would be better for all involved. There’s no reason for you to act this way.
If the market does move, that parking lot will likely be developed. I know that’s been a topic of conversation for years. More malls and businesses that will fail is not what we need, when we already have a market that is flourishing there.
I’m asking, as a very concerned citizen, that you please reconsider asking the farmer’s market to move. It is has been a tradition for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine having to tell my children one day that the reason we no longer have good quality produce for them to eat is because 6 people made a bad and hasty decision.
I will see you all at the meeting on Tuesday to voice this opinion, alongside many vendors, patrons, board members, and citizens who care deeply for the market.