A Public Market in Downtown Fresno

Hurrah!!! Hurrah!!!
A Public Market in Fresno…

Imagine a public market in downtown Fresno. A place where your senses come alive, where local foods such as the aroma of fresh ground coffee mingles with Jamaican jerk chicken and spicy greens sizzling in a pot. The scent of artisan baked hot bread fresh from the oven interlaced with sweet potato pie cooling on the counter. The sounds of blues or jazz heard in the distance from a street musician in the public area. Visiting Fresno’s public market would be a feast for all senses, a place to experience familiar taste from the homeland of your ancestors, a place to experiment with new flavors that animate your taste buds with the tang of new and exciting palates.

I close my eyes and envision a fiesta of color, scents and exciting products. I can’t help but to have a smile on my face when I think of this. Well, my wishing may be over soon. On Wednesday January 9th, from 10 – 12 noon, (CA Raisin Marketing Board Room, 2445 Capitol St. in Civic Center Sq) public market expert Ted Spitzer will be in town to talk with the City about public markets and the steps to create one. This visit could be the first step in preparing a feasibility study that will enable the financing and development of the Fresno Public Market. (City of Fresno, Elliott Balch)

I have been dreaming about this for years now and it is finally in the planning stage. I for one am very excited about the possibility of having a centralize location to get all my produce, specialty cheese and meats, and to find those hard to find ethnic items that I love so much.

If we add up the GHG saving from a lesser number of trips to the various farmers markets and supermarkets around town, otherwise known as vehicle miles traveled, there is a considerable advantage. With the cost savings in fuel and energy savings from a centralized location, I for one vote a earsplitting YES!

Aside from my personal excitement, there are many benefits from a public market in Fresno. Those benefits include building local economies, job creation, social mixes, arts and cultures, health and nutrition and last but not least environmental protection. For this blog I will focus on the environmental protection aspect of public markets especially one located in Fresno’s downtown area. We have to consider the fact that a public market will use existing infrastructure, historic preservation and encourages recycling. It would also lend to health and nutrition for our local community as the access to quality fresh, local healthful foods along with organic foods would be available 7-days a week at a set location without having to wonder, “Oh, its Tuesday…where is there a farmers market today?” I’m excited thinking that Fresno could have a place that would house small farmer sales, preserve green space, while allowing the public to meet the producer.

Fresno is such a diverse, vital and culturally rich community; ripe to embrace diverse foods and culture ready to reflect its community’s character and heritage while meeting its everyday shopping needs – especially for fresh foods. Public market shoppers are not only there for the fresh foods, they go for the experience. Shoppers go to public markets for fundamentally social reasons – to meet a friend, to people watch, to enjoy the street musicians, to mix with people who are different from themselves.  They go to immerse themselves in a vibrant, pulsing, colorful place that is exciting and fun. They go to public markets for free flu shots or the ethnic festival or to show their kids where food really comes from. It also gives Fresno a venue for public awareness campaigns such as energy conservation. Shameless plug…

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/antrover/7868344888/