LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Livingston County Development launched a public survey to test the waters for a potential centralized public market just as the first fruits and vegetables are peeking from local farmers’ fields.
The vision laid out in the survey, accessible here, is fluid. Maybe the county could secure a grant to build an indoor, year-round venue for farmers, growers and producers to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, baked goods, and maybe even fresh-brewed coffee at cafes serving lunch every day. Or maybe all the county needs is an administrator to coordinate the existing small public markets in Dansville, Geneseo, Lima, Mount Morris and Nunda.
“This survey is just to gauge public interest here,” said Livingston County Development Director Bill Bacon. “If there’s interest here, we will certainly continue to pursue it. This is about attracting young people, young families, to Livingston County. It’s about building that magnetism.”
No matter what, a public market project would not replace the current small markets.
“This doesn’t mean that the little markets are going away, not by a long shot,” said Bacon.
The survey itself lays out some of the possibilities for the market.
“We are exploring the possibility of creating a year-round, indoor public market facility that would complement – and not replace – the outdoor farmers’ markets,” says the survey. “The indoor market would provide stalls for independent, locally owned businesses (including farmers) to sell fresh and prepared foods. It might also include facilities for educational programs and events.”
“The indoor market would be designed to expand the types and availability of products that are sold to consumers at the farmers’ market, including fresh foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables as well as baked goods and other prepared foods plus handmade crafts,” says the survey. “While the focus would be on New York grown or made products, the indoor market would likely have products from outside the state, too. Vendor stalls could be designed so food could be made in the market. Rents would be affordable so small, independent businesses could afford to operate there.”
If there is public interest based on the results of this survey, Bacon said the next step would be pursuing grant funding from the state to make it happen.