After the question came up in a WSB comment discussion earlier today, we called West Seattle Farmers’ Market management to verify they WILL be open on Sunday. Since then, they’ve sent this news release saying all markets will indeed be open this weekend, and explaining why:
Farmers Markets in Seattle will continue as planned this weekend, including the University District, West Seattle, and Capitol Hill Farmers Markets, run by the nonprofit Neighborhood Farmers Markets, and the Ballard Farmers Market, run by the Seattle Farmers Market Association. The markets offer year-round economic opportunity to over 200 Washington State farmers and local food businesses, and also provide access to fresh nutritious food in local settings.
According to annual data collected by the Neighborhood Farmers Markets, the majority of their direct-to-consumer farm businesses earn 70% or more of their household income from the farmers markets. Only some businesses have secondary sales channels such as wholesale or restaurant purchasing, so a downturn in attendance will likely take a toll during a month when many farmers are making significant purchases for the upcoming growing season.
“It is important that everyone understand farmers markets are a place to buy nutritious local food, not a social event,” says Jennifer Antos, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Markets. “As an organization based in community connection, our top priority is the health and wellness of market shoppers, vendors, and our staff.” Farmers markets work closely with King County Public Health to ensure safety and cleanliness throughout the year. In the wake of concern over COVID-19 in King County and guidance that large gatherings be postponed, market organizers have been proactively consulting on additional measures, and are voluntarily implementing the following to help prevent the spread of illness.
• Public handwashing stations will be available for shoppers;
• Customary cancellation fees are not being charged to any vendor who cancels due to illness or concern over public contact;
• Handwashing posters and public health information will be posted;
• Cooking demonstrations, public seating, and special events within the market have been cancelled to reduce close proximity gathering and increase available supplies for handwashing stations;
• A zero-tolerance policy for market staff or vendors who attend the market if they are experiencing illness;
• Everyone is cooperating to ensure cleanliness of “high touch” items and areas, such as card readers and touch screens.
Alessandra Gordon, owner of Ayako and Family and longtime vendor at the U-District and Ballard Farmers Markets stated, “Health and safety is important – know and trust that the small food businesses and farmers in your area are continuing best practices.”
“It’s a tricky situation in that farmers markets are public gatherings.” says Colleen Donovan, Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, “Farmers markets bring people together precisely to promote health through good food and community, so public health is always top of mind. And they are also places of business and the embodiment of local supply chains for healthy food which is always important and even more so now.”
The market happens in the street on California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska, 10 am-2 pm Sundays.