Seaside wants to bring back a farmers market. The hope is that this time it sticks. | News

Seaside wants to bring back a farmers market.  The hope is that this time it sticks.  |  News

The city of Seaside has had two farmers’ markets in the past few decades, but neither of them stuck. Perhaps the third time will be a charm.

On Jan. 23, the city issued a request for proposals for an organization or persons to launch another farmers market in the city at one of three potential locations: lower Broadway (Seaside’s downtown, and where the most recent market shut down in 2019 due to lack of traction ), Oldemeyer Center (which is across the street from a bus stop and multifamily housing) or the parking lot at City Hall, which is mostly empty on weekends.

As stated in the RFP, the possible purpose of trying to restart a market is to help the city achieve a Blue Zones Project certification, a distinction that reflects a community’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of its residents.

Dan Meewis, Seaside’s recreation director, says bringing a market back is the “marquee project” to demonstrate Seaside is “putting its best foot forward” to create healthier food choices. “It’s trying to flip the script on our community,” he says.

Tanja Roos, Blue Zones’ community program manager for Monterey County, says the organization’s hope for the market is to increase access to healthy produce that would include residents who utilize state-funded nutrition programs like CalFresh, which provides subsidies to help people put fresh food on the table.

But she’s also clear-eyed about the market’s potential: “At the end of the day, if we’re looking at long-term stability, it needs to be community-driven, and carried forward by city staff with community buy-in. ” That said, she’s hopeful: “Farmers markets can be a wonderful, galvanizing space for a community.”

Other goals of the market include creating a “festive community event and social gathering place,” highlighting “the unique and diverse character of the Seaside” and providing “locally sourced and culturally relevant products that will appeal to a broad range of residents and visitors.”

The response period for the RFP closes on Feb. 24.

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