The popular Creston Valley Farmers’ Market kicks off another season on March 23 by introducing local residents to its new site.
“This is a giant move toward our long-term plan to become a year-round market,” volunteer Len Parkin said last week.
The market has grown like Topsy in the last few years under the umbrella of the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition. It will now be operating on land adjacent to the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce, where last year’s mid-week markets were held.
“Our Spring Beginnings market on March 23 will be held indoors in the chamber of commerce,” organizer Martha Boland said. “We will be using both levels of the building, which will allow us to accommodate about 26 vendors. We already have great interest from a large selection of vendors.”
The move from its longtime home beside Millennium Park was spurred by the Town of Creston’s decision to allow the property to be used for an affordable family housing project. But Parkin said it is a win-win for the community.
“This new location will become our permanent home for all of our markets and it has the advantage of visibility to Highway 3 traffic that flows through town,” Parkin said. “The opportunity to use the lower level of the chamber is huge. The indoor portion will afford protection from the weather for our fine arts vendors, making the farmers’ market more appealing to them.”
The new location also fulfills a goal of the food action coalition to increase its coordination with key community functions like the chamber, the Town of Creston and College of the Rockies.
“The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market reflects the values expressed in the creation of the Cultivating Creston brand,” Parkin said. “It helps create a more dynamic and economically viable community without changing the essence of our culture.”
Boland said the Spring Beginnings market will be a good test of the visibility of the location, both for vendors and community members. Signage, sandwich boards, chalk sidewalk art and posters will all be used to connect vendors with customers.
“All of our markets (a fall market has been held at Morris Flowers Garden Centre for the past few years) will now run from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. and all will be held at the same location,” Parkin said. “We are trying to be consistent in every way we can.”
He credited the Town of Creston for supporting the market, working with the food action coalition to ensure a suitable location was in place before the Millennium Park site was designated for the housing project.
“[Town manager] Lou Varela has worked very closely with us and we are very appreciative of the support we have from the Town of Creston,” Parkin said.
Approval is anticipated this week from town council for the town works crew to run water and electrical lines for the vendors, and to level and gravel the site to make it safe and clean for vendors and visitors to the market.
“Our eventual goal is to become a year-round market,” Parkin said. “The goal for the food action coalition is food security, and that means supporting local producers and keeping them economically viable. The market can play a large role in making that happen.”