Home » American River Public Market: Is it time for a permanent farmer’s market in Sacramento?
Farm to Fork

American River Public Market: Is it time for a permanent farmer’s market in Sacramento?

There has been some interest expressed in local media lately about establishing a permanent farmers market in Sacramento to concretize the recent proposal by Mayor Kevin Johnson to promote one of the historic strengths of Sacramento as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital."

Establishing a permanent farmer’s market is a wonderful idea and the seminal model exists in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

For those of you who have shopped there—I lived in Seattle for a year and shopped there often—you know it is a truly world class public market taking advantage of the setting next to the ocean and local produce, which in Seattle’s case is, among other things, fish, flying fish.

Wikipedia has a great entry about Pike Place and Yelp has some great reviews.

Given the availability of open space and the advantage of placing it alongside one of our rivers, would seem to indicate looking at the south side of the American River, in the area bounded by I-5 on the west, Richards Blvd on the south, North 7th Street on the East and the American River Parkway on the north.

The other advantage of siting in this general area is its closeness to existing lower income housing communities—who benefit most from the low price and high quality of farmers market produce—such as Alkali Flats, Dos Rios, North Sacramento and on the planning board, the low income residences planned for Township 9 and the Railyards area.

Other areas that have been mentioned include the Railyards area and K Street, both of which would be good, but getting close to the blue water American River and the green beauty of the American River Parkway would be priceless.

There is a lot of history connected to this part of the American River.

For centuries the dominant village of the local native Indian tribe, the Nisenan, was Pujune, which stretched for miles along the Sacramento River from just south of the confluence with the American River north to the Feather River.

There is a historical marker—listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971—in Discovery Park by the archery range on the east side of the park, marking the location of the Nisipowinan Village Site, which is also known as “Joe’s Mound” and ethnographically as Pujune.

When the new Sacramento City Hall was being built many Indian artifacts and human remains were unearthed, some 4,500 years old.

A 19th century fur trapper and trader, for whom the American River Bicycle Trail is named—American River Parkway Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail—reached the American River in April 1827 and explored the area around the confluence of the two rivers.

And, of course, in 1839 Captain John Sutter established his fort—he had a dream of creating an agricultural utopia at Sutter’s Fort—close to the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers which ultimately led to Sacramento being born as a city and the capital of California after the gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma in 1848.

History, setting, natural resources, and agricultural heritage can come together in a truly significant way if this project now being discussed comes together, and if it can happen along the American River, that would be wonderful.

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