Alternative Markets : Cache Valley Gardener's Market
Cache Valley Gardeners' Market
The Cache Valley Gardeners' Market (CVGM) has been operational for over 20 years. Founded by just a "handful of people and a card table ," CVGM is now one of the most popular markets in Utah.
After a few years in operation, the original vendors realized that they needed to organize themselves in order to stay afloat. With this in mind, they founded CVGM's parent organization, the Sustainable Agriculture Association of the Bear River Area (SAABRA), a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization, in 2001, with the goal of organizing citizens and professionals in the Bear River Area in order to support and enhance sustainable agriculture in the area. CVGM aims to help achieve that vision. As stated on their website, the mission of CVGM is "to educate consumers about sustainable agriculture and healthy foods, provide a source of revenue for local farmers and artisans, and create a vital community gathering place for all ages ."
In addition to being a source for fresh food, the CVGM is a kind of community center where people can gather. The market is all-inclusive and welcomes all members of the community to participate however they can. The market also hosts events throughout the summer to help other organizations be involved and gain recognition within Cache Valley. Over the years, the CVGM has developed to represent the community in greater diversity, rather than being a small alternative culture in itself. In this way, the market is has become a strength to the community, both in supporting small businesses and nurturing the culture of Cache Valley .
In order for a vendor to qualify to sell at CVGM, all of their products "must be grown, raised, produced, prepared, handmade, and gathered by the vendor ..." Because market growth and customer base vary depending on the year, vendors are re-evaluated by the Cache Valley Gardeners' Market Advisory Committee each year. Priority is given to small family farms and residents of Cache Valley.
Housed first at the parking lot on Federal Avenue, CVGM has also found previous homes at Garff Gardens, Pioneer Park, Merlin Olsen Park, and Horseshoe Park at Willow Park. The most recent move to the Cache County Historic Courthouse (199 N Main St) in 2015 put the market further downtown, making it more quickly accessible to a greater number of Cache Valley residents.
For more information, drop by the Courthouse any Saturday between May and October from 9am to 1pm. You can also check out their website here or email them at email@example.com.
Contributors to CVGMHow local is "local?"
Johnson Family Farms and First Frost Farm, two of CVGM's featured vendors, are shown on this map. The original idea behind the market, however, was to encourage locals to grow their own food at home by giving them a place to sell extra produce. This means that many of the vendors found at CVGM are not necessarily farmers, but "backyard gardeners." CVGM chose the term "gardeners' market" instead of "farmers' market" to encourage the even the urban community to participate. In fact, many of the vendors at the market aren't full-time farmers or gardeners, but use the market as a sideline to their other professions . Priority is given to vendors located within 50 miles of CVGM's location - vendors living outside the boundaries have no guarantee of yearly approval.