downtown Fresno

SAVE THE DATE : Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative

8th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum

Call for Proposals and Registration

Join us for the 8th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum in Fresno from June 14th to June 15th, with pre-forum activities taking place June 13th! This forum is offered at no-cost to California local governments and features updates from key state agencies, highlights innovative local energy and sustainability projects, offers capacity-building trainings, and provides multiple networking opportunities.

DoubleTree by Hilton 
Downtown Fresno
2233 Ventura Street
Fresno, CA 93721

With optional pre-forum activities
taking place June 13th

The forum is an opportunity to showcase best practices, local projects, and innovative strategies for energy efficiency and sustainability. If you have innovative projects or replicable strategies to share, we encourage you to submit a session proposal!

We hope you can join us! If you have any questions about the forum, please contact Khrystyna Platte at

For more information about the forum, please visit


This forum is being organized by the Local Government Commission through the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC). SEEC is an alliance to help cities and counties reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. SEEC is a collaboration between three statewide non-profit organizations and California's four Investor Owned Utilities. This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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:

What is Localism? Can it really work in Fresno?

lo·cal·ism [loh-kuh-liz-uhm] : a philosophy that puts a priority on local economics.

Simply put, it is the idea of buying local, local control of government and the promotion of local history, culture and identity.  I ask why have we not embraced the idea years ago? With the eclectic population we host in the area there is an endless supply of culture and diversity that the mainstream public doesn't even know about or have the opportunity to enjoy. Now, throw in the reduced carbon footprint and cost savings that localism promotes and Fresno has the ideal mix for a successful localism movement!  

We can promote this idea more.  We must promote this idea more. 
I do realize Fresno has a “buy local” campaign, (I don’t live in a cave all the time) but we as a public need to start thinking differently. It is time to change the status quo and start acting (not just thinking) outside the box. We need a more walk-able  livable and climate friendly community to leave as a legacy for our children and grandchildren.
In theory, localism sounds great and it’s something Craig Scharton, from the City of Fresno, has been preaching from the day I met him on a brisk morning back in 2009. Craig gave me my first tour of the Fulton Mall and invited me into a discussion about where the downtown area should be heading.  I for one am very excited that the City of Fresno gets it! Fresno seems to understand where to start researching our past mistakes and how far back to look in an effort to make right the mistakes of our predecessors in planning to best move downtown revitalization forward.
I have often wondered why, when we live in one of the most productive areas in the country, we don’t have a co-op of growers, craftsmen, winemakers, artist, bakeries and such; much like Seattle’s’ PIKES PLACE market. California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities, the state produces nearly half of the U.S. – grown fruits, nuts and vegetables and Fresno County is the nations’ leading agricultural county with nearly 5 billion a year in farm product sales.

When I began looking at this issue it sounded wonderful, almost silver bullet wonderful. Oh, what I would give to have a resource like this in the downtown area. It just seems to logical not to already be in place. Fresno has the agriculture, artisans, craftsman, restaurants, bakers and winemakers; Fresno has the space on the Fulton Mall; The City of Fresno is looking for more anchors for the downtown area.  Will somebody just do this, (not so small project) and give our community a venue to show off all Fresno County has to be proud of? 
“Changing a local economic system starts by changing its most basic industries: agriculture, energy, manufacturing, retail, building and transportation and capital. When these sectors are transformed into localized, sustainable, green- and community-focused industries, the entire economy is transformed.” 

photo credit: prayitno via photopin cc