There’s potentially fertile ground in Spokane Valley for a farmers market, there’s only a question of where to plant the seeds.
On Tuesday, City Council members and staff zeroed in on parking lot property across from Valley Mission Park as a potential site where fresh food fans could congregate as there are no other similar ventures in the immediate area.
“The city is completely surrounded by farmers markets but none in the corporate area of Spokane Valley,” said Mike Stone, city parks director. “This suggests to me that one cold come in and be successful.”
Stone compared several other locations, including the horse arena at Valley Mission Park, Balfour Park on Sprague Avenue, the parking lot at the new city hall and at Castle Park at 34th Avenue and University Road. But these locations either lack parking, visibility, amenities like power or restrooms, or any combination thereof.
Stone said the Valley Mission south parking lot could be ready to go next year for under $10,000.
The only question is who would coordinate the effort. Most municipalities leave that work to someone else, Stone said, and there is currently no one on city staff with the knowledge or time to do it.
“We’re ready to move forward in the next direction,” he said.
Council members said they wished for the city to stay out of the day-to-day workings of such an operation and basically just provide the space.
“The most successful is when the city stays out of it,” said Council Member Mike Munch.
Council Member Ed Pace, who helped form a farmers market in Chewelah, said the emphasis should be on growers and their produce, not on crafts or other vendors.
“It’s a farmers market,” he said. “Grow it yourself or don’t sell it.”
Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard concurred that the city should limit its involvement.
“If it moves organically, we can do this,” he said.
City staff will now gather more information to bring to the council on how to proceed.