Another step for the Farmer’s Market Pavilion

The Columbia Farmer’s Market Pavilion effort was publicly unveiled in July. When completed, the project will offer mid-Missouri a permanent, year-round structure for housing the farmer’s market, as well as the potential for other uses.

If you’ve ever lived somewhere with a permanent market structure you already know what a benefit they can be. Washington, D.C.’s Eastern Market was a gathering place on the weekends, for sure. But it remained vibrant – and open – all week long. Inside there were fishmongers, a cheesemonger, several butchers, a flower shop, and many vegetable stalls as well. On the weekends the sidewalks were covered with dozens more vendors selling everything from more vegetables to handmade furniture. It was a bustling, buzzing place. Columbia’s market pavilion won’t be a walking destination for most, but it could still build on and enhance what is already a growing market scene.

You know the effort to get the pavilion built is hitting its stride when the hiring starts. Casey Corbin has been announced as Executive Director of Sustainable Farms and Communities, the group heading up the project. I don’t know Casey – and believe he is new to town – but for years the pavilion effort has been led by a few stalwart volunteers; his hiring proves their seriousness.

Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

8 thoughts

  1. It seems a waste that it isn’t designed to fully maximize the ability of farmers to back up to the pavilion space with their trucks. Making it more expensive….and less related to its purpose.

  2. Luckily the farmer’s market and new pavilion ARE within walking distance for us. That is one of the reasons we stay in the horrible neighborhood we live in, we are a 15 minute walk from the farmer’s market, a 5 minute walk from a community garden plot, and we have a south facing apartment that allows us to container garden.

    I really love the idea of the pavilion though – there are many vendors that could sell multiple days a week and year round. It would certainly be more convenient for me, but much more importantly than that, is that it could allow farmers to grow their business if their customer base increased as a result of a greater presence.

    I’m happy to see people being hired. I know it isn’t perfect, I would have liked to have seen the space for trucks that the commenter above speaks of, but it is a step in the right direction, a step towards sustainable local food year round. It isn’t going to be perfect, but we should applaud the efforts and support them where we can. Thank you for keeping us up to date on the progress of the project.

  3. It is totally hot and unpleasant when the market is in full swing, so that should be a major part of the plan. The design should recognize that, and minimize the walk between parking and market, perhaps entering immediately a walkway flanked on both sides with trucks backed up to the roofed walkway, possibly following a u-shape and ending back at the parking lot.

    Plan some greenspace or trees and shade IN the parking lot.

  4. Anonymous(es),

    You can view an aerial outline of the proposed facility at:

    Looking at the design as laid out there, farmers are able to back their vehicles up to the structure on all sides, leaving shoppers free to move around the entire interior circuit. On the drawing, pink are actual stalls, with farmer parking directly around the outside, and walkways around the inside. The roof would cover all of the areas outlined in pink along with the customer walkways inside. Thus you are immediately under shade upon leaving the parking lot and remain under shade throughout any shopping. What would you do differently to “maximize the ability of farmers to back up to the pavilion space”?

    Customer parking exists in the entire arc of multiple rows extending around the south of the structure from east to west, with five separate entryways leading into the structure (W, SW, S, SE, E). At the farthest extent, you are one roadway away from reaching the structure. Again, note that the nearest row of parking (adjacent to the structure itself) is actually for farmers, not customers, allowing them to back up directly to their stalls as is the case now.

    Notice that the map there does in fact include trees on most of the parking area medians, and within the pavilion’s central courtyard as well, though of course those will take time to grow large enough for real shade.

    The main entrance (large block at south end) is covered and would include real ADA bathroom facilities.

    Does this address the questions and concerns raised? I’d be happy to answer more questions if needed.

    Eric Reuter
    Secretary, Sustainable Farms & Communities
    Board member, Columbia Farmers Market

  5. Eric, I thought the same thing…the designs seem to incorporate back-in stalls just fine but wanted to leave it to you or Dan to clear up, as my knowledge of the project is limited.’

  6. The problem may just be the way the drawing is constructed; it makes it look like the farmers’ parking spots are in fact customer parking spots, not making it clear where farmers are supposed to put their vehicles. Something for us to consider, that I’d never thought of because I’m so close to the project.

  7. Again, only about 1/3 of the design allows the trucks to back up to both sides of the market stall structure, which makes it more expensive to construct for a set amount of market stalls…….for example a design like an H on it’s side where you could park trucks on each section of the H (and on both sides of each section) of the H would be more cost efficient. And if parking was arranged all around…you would have 5 different entrance points to the market…as opposed to the current 3.

  8. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the additional comments. Part of the ideas that went into the current (rough) design included the goal that the structure be useful for events and community needs other than the farmers market, which is in keeping with the city’s involvement in the project as a public/private partnership. Keeping the central area open makes it more attractive for festivals, weddings, outdoor films, and more, than an “H” type design would.

    That being said, you’re absolutely right that the H type (such as was recently constructed in Eau Claire, WI, though that was more of an E) may be more efficient for a farmers market. My hope is that when the fundraising reaches a point that we’re looking at a certainty here, that we can really reach out to get good comments and input before the final design is settled. Right now we have to work with the preliminary ideas that we have, and so are using this design to begin the discussion and give folks a sense of what’s possible. What the final design will look like, I hope, will reflect ideas and feedback from as many folks as possible. So I hope you’ll keep showing interest and involvement when the time comes.

    I would note, though, that the currently displayed design does, in fact, have 5 entry points that are equally accessible from the parking lot depending on where you park (W, SW, S, SE, E). As the lot wraps all the way around the south side from east to west, the structure is equally open to parking anywhere in the lot.

    By the new year, I hope to have a more detailed map up on the website that will better describe the features of the proposed design, rather than the blank, uninterpreted map that we are working with right now. As it is, I hope you’ll view the flythrough that was recently unveiled and send us our opinions (see Scott’s later post on this).

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