The Lake City Farmers Market was founded in 2002 by the non-profit Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA), with help from the Lake City Chamber and volunteer community stakeholders. The market thrived through 2008, but as the economy fell the market saw a precipitous drop in shopper counts and vendor sales. Since then, market growth has remained flat.
Last year, NFMA redesigned the market layout, reactivated the park, added new farmers, and expanded the vendor mix as part of a remediation plan to improve market performance. However, the shopper counts and sales to farmers remained flat. In contrast, other NFMA markets saw significant growth in 2013.
Other concerns about the Lake City location compound the issue. Repeated theft of market equipment and squatting in the market shed and parking lot raised safety concerns for staff throughout the 2013 season. Unless shopper attendance, sales to farmers, and staff safety improve in 2014, the market will be re-located in 2015.
The NFMA has undertaken remediation efforts in other neighborhoods with success. Collaboration with community volunteers and the local business association helped Columbia City’s market thrive despite an adjacent development project. In Magnolia, significant sponsorships, hours of on-site volunteer help and a relocation helped the Magnolia market grow by 25%.
How Can You Help?
- Complete this Lake City Farmers Market survey (it only takes a few minutes) to help volunteers assess what’s happening at the Lake City market
- Distribute market signage, fliers, and posters
- Attend and shop at the market & encourage others to do so
- Outreach to community groups to advertise the Fresh Bucks (SNAP incentive) program
- Organize community groups to come to the market each week and put on free kids and cooking events
- Help with live music booking for the market each week
*Update: To volunteer with the market, please contact email@example.com