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Chico Farmers’ Market Study: Collaboration Across Disciplines and Communities
California State University, Chico faculty collaborated with city government, residents, and businesses to study questions raised about safety and parking for the city’s Saturday Certified Farmers’ Market that had come to be a planning issue for the city. The research project sought to provide objective data to facilitate decision-making by the City of Chico, its citizens, and the business community about the location of the Farmers Market.
The study also aimed to actively engage students in their coursework and integrate theory and practice through a service-learning project. A sustainable planning class focused on safety, bicycle and vehicle parking issues and attitudes as well as the vendor/farmers’ needs. Other classes conducted an extensive survey of market attendees’ shopping behaviors, including purchases made before and after the farmers’ market in nearby downtown businesses. They also surveyed attendance, safety, the distance shoppers traveled to the market, and their parking behaviors.
CSU Chico researchers’ close collaboration with the market manager and city staff assured simple, practical recommendations as one outcome of the project. Students benefited from their participation in the service-learning project and the resulting public presentation, while community members, businesses, and city officials benefited from sensible decisions based on research, resolving a controversial issue. Faculty members learned more about academic collaboration between departments as well as the importance of including community partners in the research design and implementation.
LaDona Knigge, Geography & Planning
California State University, Chico
Richard Gitelson, Amy Lukens, & Caleb Weeks, California State University, Chico
Andy Holcombe & John Rucker, City of Chico
Key words: geography, farmer’s market, city government, Northern California