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Sonoma Farmers Market plans back on track

Posted on January 5, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

At a 1/5/17 Plaza picnic table meeting with the Sonoma City Council farmer’s market ad hoc committee of Gary Edwards and Amy Harrington, it appears that the farmer’s market review process is proceeding in a positive direction.

Council member Amy Harrington explained that the council simply wants to review the contract, and lay out formal feedback and concerns before the next contract period begins. This might not have been quite clear from the start, she noted.

Market management, for its part appears flexible, open and willing to work with the city. Market Manager Chris Welch expressed satisfaction with Edwards’ and Harrington’s approach. Good will and reasonableness was displayed among the principals involved.

Members of the public in attendance made various suggestions and comments, and the tone was positive and inclusive. Edwards and Harrington offered assurances of their support for the market. Chris Welch acknowledged that the issues of various stakeholders were legitimate, and explained how he intends to address such issues in a forthright way.

“Some things just have to be experimented with”, said Welch. “The market can try various options and see what the feedback is.”

The current plan is to have the market management reauthorization come back to the full City Council on the 1/23/17 meeting. At that time, the ad hoc committee will make its recommendations and the full council will vote on what to approve. The public will have the opportunity to provide formal input at that time. Meanwhile, the public may contact Gary Edwards, Amy Harrington or Chris Welch to provide input on the ad hoc process, i.e. anything to say about the market.

If the market management is satisfied with the process, and the ad hoc committee council members continue to pursue a simple contract review, indications appear that this year’s market plans will proceed as usual.

Referring to all things “Plaza” as a lightning rod for heated public opinion, Amy Harrington explained, “I have a new appreciation for the term sacred cow!”



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