Will Iowa City's Farmer's Market move outside once a month, or not? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Will Iowa City's Farmer's Market move outside once a month, or not?


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - After the cost of transporting food shot up, and health concerns grew out of tainted food, the popularity of locally-grown produce skyrocketed.

For 37 years, Iowa City has had a growing market, but this summer it could move from indoors, to the open air.

The city holds farmer's markets in the Chauncey Swan parking ramp across from City Hall, but a proposed change to a city law would move the market outside one Saturday a month to the downtown area.

The city council was expected to vote on this Tuesday night, but whether that will even happen was still in question as of Monday. We spoke with several vendors and local growers about the issue. Some are not opposed to the once-a-month move outside, but most say unpredictable Iowa weather could mean a rotten experience for their food and customers.

Kristina Arnold spends weekdays at her shop, Cocina Del Mundo, or The World's Kitchen, located along Highway 965 in North Liberty. On spring and summer weekends, she brings her food to the Iowa City Farmer's Market.

"Jams, granola, honey, coffee," she said, rattling off the different things she usually brings. But the thought of it moving all outside from the cool cement confines of the Chauncey Swan parking ramp isn't a good one for her.

"I don't think change is a good idea right now."

She worries changing the market's usual location will confuse and upset customers, who she's seen fewer of since the nation's economy began to slide.

"One of the major reasons we pick that market, is because we're covered," said Arnold. Other vendors come here to sell meat and dairy products, which need refrigeration. Many of Arnold's foods, like dry soup mixes, are vulnerable to heat, humidity and rain.

"It would turn into a rock, basically, if it had condensation, because all you need to do is add water to that."

She appreciates that taking the market outside may be an attempt to expose it to people who aren't aware of it, but says too much of her and other vendors' business is at stake.

We placed calls to City Hall Monday morning requesting comment on this issue, and those calls were not returned. However, we spoke off-camera with superintendent of the city's recreation division, Mike Moran. He said an informal meeting was scheduled for Monday evening, deciding whether a vote on this ordinance will even happen at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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