The Sunday Farmers Market wants residents to connect, or at least place, the dots for the future of the event.
Attendees at the Feb. 15 market will have the opportunity to participate in a resident feedback project that will help staff develop educational and entertainment programs at the Main Street location.
There will be five easels at the market. Four will have specific question and a multiple-choice list of answers. Customers will be given four stickers (one per easel) and instructed to attach a sticker to the answer that best represents their views. The fifth easel will solicit open feedback.
“We’re talking about what kind of activity will keep people interested in attending the Main Street Market,” said Farmers Market Supervisor Laura Avery.
According to staff, attendance at the market peaked in 2007-08, dropped with the recession beginning in 2008-09 and has begun to climb again through 2013. Attendance has held steady at Santa Monica’s downtown and Pico markets, so according to Avery, staff will focus on improvements to Main Street in the immediate future.
Staff was already in the midst of planning new programs for Main Street last year when the City Council complicated the task by effectively banning the long-standing pony rides from their current location.
“As you also may be aware the contract for the pony ride and petting farm operator expires in May 2015 and at the direction of City Council staff is exploring new educational and entertainment programming concepts with a preference for non-animal related activities,” said staff in a letter sent to businesses and neighbors. “As such, we will be collecting customer, vendor and strategic partner feedback to determine which activities would be most appealing, appropriate and successful for the venue. After evaluating the feedback, pilot programs will be developed and implemented to test the best ideas.”
Avery said there are no definite plans for what to do at the market post-pony ride and customer feedback will be an important tool in their future planning.
“We will have a combination of educational and entertainment programming,” she said. “The education items could be cooking demonstrations, landscaping information — things similar to the library panels we did last year. We’re trying to entertain little kids, many of the kids there are under 8 and there are a lot of young families that come to that market and they want to have their kids do something. With both of those tracks, programs could be throughout the market, located in one place, recurring, we just don’t know what’s going to work so we’re interested in trying something then getting more feedback.”
2015 marks the 20th anniversary for the Main Street Market and Avery said it has been many years since the market undertook a dedicated customer feedback program.
“We were shocked to realize the market was 20-years old and we haven’t done any kind of survey since it reorganized,” she said. “It’s always good to take the pulse of what the customers want and how they spend their money so this is kind of a good opportunity for us to move ahead.”
The Sunday market is located at 2640 Main St. and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit www.smgov.net/portals/farmersmarket for more information.
What – pray tell – does tethered ponies with children on their backs have to do with a Farmers Market? Why does this article not have an accompanying photo of mouth-watering organic fruits and vegetables that might entice people to visit the Farmer’s Market? A picture of a parent taking a photo of a young child on a tethered pony has, in my opinion, little or nothing to do with the Farmers’ Market. And since the pony operator sued a Santa Monica activist (and lost following the granting of the SLAPP Motion) I cannot imagine why the Daily Press would put a photo of ponies on its website. In my opinion, the community should NOT reward those persons who use litigation as a means to silence the free speech rights of the citizens of our community. The Farmers Markets in Santa Monica are, in my opinion, a superb asset to our community, and people should be made aware of the wonderful variety of fruits, vegetables, and other wonderful things for sale at the Farmers’ Market. If I were the editor of the DAILY PRESS, I would replace the pony picture with a photo of the fabulous food offered at our local Farmers Markets instead of posting a picture of the controversial for-profit pony ride. It seems to me – and this is merely an opinion – that the Daily Press does a disservice to the farmers who bring their produce to the Market each week by singling out the pony operator to be featured in a photograph instead of photographing one or more of the produce stands with their mouth watering goods for sale. Am I imagining this, or is, perhaps, The Daily Press biased in favor of the owners of the pony ride and is favoring the pony ride operators (who actually sued residents for exercising their free speech rights) over the actual farmers at the Farmers Market?
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