Produce section of SLO Farmers Market now controlled by Downtown Association

Tonight will mark the first night that the produce section of the Thursday Night Farmers Market in downtown San Luis Obispo will be controlled by the Downtown Association.

The certification was issued by the county agricultural commissioner Thursday following a request made the association earlier this month.

Prior to the takeover, the San Luis Obispo County Farmers’ Markets Association managed the produce sales.

In mid-January the Downtown Association, which has overall responsibility for the event, informed farmers that it planned to take over their market.

The county’s Farmer’s Market Association says it intends to appeal the management change.

Downtown Association Executive Director Deborah Cash has emphasized that the change in management proposed for downtown will not mean any fee increases for farmers or any change in the availability of selling space.

“Let’s just say our No. 1 goal is a seamless transition. Nothing is any different. We are not muscling out farmers,” Cash said last week.

Peter Jankay, manager of the county Farmers’ Market Association, said that it will hurt the association, which is nonprofit and depends on income from all markets to promote the mission of farmers markets. He said there also is concern about it not being run by farmers.

He stressed the change is precipitated in part by his resisting Downtown Association efforts in the past to move farmers to less desirable selling spaces.

--AnnMarie Cornejo

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