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Following A Trend, Eau Claire To Study Opening Year-Round Farmer’s Market

City Leaders Studying Whether There Is Support To Start A Market

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The city of Eau Claire is the latest in Wisconsin to consider a year-round public farmers market.

Eau Claire City Council members agreed to work with consultant Market Ventures Inc. of Maine to see whether a downtown, year-round farmers market would be a practical way to improve the local food economy.

Associate city planner Ned Noel said the public market model is gaining attention.

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“This trend is a national trend and Eau Claire is not the first to consider this when it comes to smaller cities,” he said. “Kenosha is looking at the same thing. Green Bay has already built, kind of, a quasi-public market with a local food cooperative as kind of a main anchor.”

The city will spend around $95,000 with the help of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to hire the consulting firm. Noel said interest in public markets is being fueled by the local food movement nationwide.

“Obviously, larger cities around Eau Claire like the Twin Cities and Milwaukee, they have thriving, successful markets already built and operating,” he said. “So, for a smaller city like Eau Claire, I guess, the big question is, is it possible for our community to do this.”

The city of Madison is writing a business plan for a planned public market, and a year-round market has been open since 2005 in Milwaukee.