Agreement reached in SLO Farmers Market dispute

The two associations at odds over control of San Luis Obispo’s Thursday night Farmers Market produce section have reached an agreement, according to city officials.

Under the agreement announced Thursday, control of the farmers’ section of the weekly market returns to the Farmers’ Market Association by May 27.

The Farmers’ Market Association had been negotiating with the Downtown Association for three months, following a rift that became public in February.

City Manager Katie Lichtig and City Attorney Christine Dietrick met this week with representatives from both groups to help broker an agreement.

The City Council on Tuesday warned the Downtown Association that it might lose its contract with the city if it failed to reach an agreement with the Farmers’ Market Association.

The Downtown Association, which is contracted by the city to manage the Thursday night event, informed farmers in mid-January that it planned to take over the produce section from the San Luis Obispo County Farmers' Market Association.

That group had managed the produce sales for more than two decades. In February, the council directed both parties to use a mediator to help work out an agreement that would put the Farmers' Market Association back in control of the produce section of Farmers Market.

The agreement is subject to approval by the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner.