Members of the Poulsbo Farmers Market gave a presentation to the City Council Sept. 6 to consider using the former Public Work’s facility on Iverson Street as its new permanent home as soon as 2025.
PFM was started in 2003 by five farmers. The event has been searching for a permanent home since 2013 and has been operating in the parking lot of Gateway Fellowship Church on a lease agreement for seven years. PFM intends to operate there in 2024 and possibly beyond if the Public Work’s site doesn’t work out. The market runs every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from April through December.
From 2008 to now the market has ranged in attendance each year from 20,000 to 40,000. Additionally, yearly sales have increased steadily since 2008, going from $250,000 to over $750,000. Next steps for PFM include achieving 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status, hiring its first full-time employee and finding a permanent home.
If a long-term lease between PFM and the city is agreed upon for the start of the 2025 season, the market would be able to provide space for a minimum of 61 vendors outside, and more inside once the facility is ready to be used. The maximum capacity for vendors at Gateway is 61. It would also provide office space for staff, permanent equipment storage and parking agreements with neighboring businesses.
Down the road, PFM envisions a community space that can be utilized year-round and more than one day a week. Things like a commercial kitchen, community garden, an education space and ADA-accessible bathrooms could be added. Also, a majority of vendors would have their own permanent space.
PFM says it has roughly $86,000 for capital projects, including improvements to its permanent home. It could also be used for grant matching. Grant funding could come from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ecology, Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and Farmers Market Coalition. A capital campaign is another option, which would include sponsorship, fundraising events, individual donations and in-kind donations.
If the market and the city move forward with a lease, PMF would request to negotiate contingencies regarding environmental hazards. “It is our understanding that improvements to the buildings, ADA accessibility, and the flooding issue would be the responsibility of PFM, therefore we are not requesting these be included in such contingencies,” the presentation states.
Additionally, PFM would need appraisal information and continued communications about plans for the nearby area, such as a safe crosswalk option for customers crossing Iverson.
“We understand that this site has really unique challenges, and we also feel the market is positioned in a way where we have the resources, we have the capacity, we have a great team put together, and we have the tenacity, frankly, to transform this property into a permanent community resource,” PFM market coordinator Rebeccah Landerholm said.
Mayor Becky Erickson said: “The vision of this is just remarkable. We got some hurdles here, no doubt, but I can close my eyes, and I can see what it could be and how important it would be for the surrounding area.”