A Permanent Farmers Market in the Marin Civic Center

In the fall of 2014, the voters of Marin overwhelmingly showed their support for the construction of a permanent farmer’s market. With an 81% approval rate, the county’s residents made it clear: a complex that supports healthy eating, healthy neighborhoods and education that encourages a preference for locally grown food is a priority for the county.

Our renowned Farmers’ Markets have become a model for others across the country. But the temporary ”town squares” that pop up throughout the county during the week face challenges. They operate on parking lot tarmacs, move around according to available space, lack dedicated electricity for refrigeration, access to running water and are vulnerable to weather. They are not a sustainable solution. 

Furthermore, future generations of eaters and food producers need the assurance that they will be there for each other. As an economic driver, the Farmers Market is a critical venue for the survival of local family farms and ranches, which depend on this direct access to consumers to avoid lower commodity market prices which can drive regional family farms out of business. As local food production becomes more diversified, direct marketing is the key to the farmer’s success.

“The Farmers Market is really key for small farmers like us. It’s the only way to survive.”
Dennis Dierks, Paradise Valley Produce
Dennis Dierks Of Paradise Valley Produce

The permanent Market Hall and Canopy at the Civic Center will feature 240 vendors selling sweet limes, Romanesco, sheep cream cheese, orange blossom honey, rack of goat and salted chocolate. A farm-to-plate restaurant. A demonstration and commercial kitchen. A greenhouse. A café with indoor and outdoor seating. 28 day tables where farmers can sell the freshest, most seasonal products on a daily basis. An Education Center featuring classrooms, conference and event facilities. Open seven days a week. Check out the video to see a 3D rendering of the project.

But the vote was only the first step. Now capital has to be raised. The Agricultural Institute of Marin is seeking $20 million to construct the Market Hall and the all-important Canopy, which will enable a true daily market, regardless of weather conditions. 

"Coming to the farmers market is like having my own garden, but better. It’s the best of the best, shopping with different farmers…it’s like a toy store for chefs.”
Roland Passot, Chef and Owner, La Folie, San Francisco, & Left Bank Brasserie, Larkspur

Download the Business Plan

Aim Business Plan

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more, visit pitchinmarin.org and check out the business plan. Or you can contact Vicki Buder, Chief Development Director at AIM at 415-472-6100 ext. 104 or vicki@agriculturalinstitute.org.