In-person shopping will be back when the Iowa City Farmers Market opens at the Chauncy Swan Parking Ramp for its 2021 season on Saturday, May 1.
“Of course, we’ll have safety precautions in place,” Tammy Neumann, the city’s coordinator for the market, told Little Village. “We’re asking that people wear masks, there will be handwashing stations available. We’ll also monitor the number of customers in the market.”
If the number of people in the parking ramp approaches the point where maintaining six feet of distance between customers becomes difficult, staff will ask individuals to wait until others exit before entering the market.
The city canceled in-person shopping at the farmers market in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the city partnered with Field to Family, an Iowa City-based nonprofit that helps connect people with locally produced fresh food, to launch a virtual farmers market with online ordering and drive-through pick-up that ran from May to October.
Field to Family will be offering the virtual farmers market again this year, independent of the city’s market, just as it did with its late season farmer market, which was open in November and December.
According to Field to Family’s site, the virtual farmers market is still in its planning stage: “We are currently exploring opportunities with our community partners, talking with prospective collaborators and seeking grant funding. Interested vendors should contact operations manager Ben Dolan at email@example.com.”
New safety precautions won’t be the only change when the Iowa City Farmers Market reopens in May. The city has given its season-long vendors the option of opting out of this year’s market and returning in 2022. That could create openings for new vendors who would like to have a stall in the market this year.
“This opportunity is for the 2021 season and does not guarantee a vendor space during the 2022 season,” the city said in a news release on Monday. “Farmers with fresh locally grown produce will get priority, however, there are still opportunities for other types of vendors. There is no fee at the time of registration. New vendors that have reviewed the 2021 Vendor Handbook and feel confident that they qualify to be an Iowa City Farmers Market vendor can register at www.managemymarket.com.”