Small Farmers, Big Impact: The Marin Farmers Market Takes Root

by Brigitte Moran

Each Thursday and Sunday the Marin Farmers Market, operated by the nonprofit Agricultural Institute of Marin, brings together hundreds of farmers, specialty food purveyors, and artisans, with thousands of patrons, to celebrate our vibrant local food movement.  But the Marin Farmers Market is more than just a great place to shop – with more than $15 million in goods sold each year, the Market is an important driver of the local economy – and a healthy community – providing direct access to exceptional goods from regional fields, dairies, and ranches.  The Market is the economic engine and critical venue for the survival of local family farms and ranches, who depend on this direct access to consumers to make a viable living.

However, the potential of the Agricultural Institute of Marin has outgrown the transient existence of the Market, which has operated in parking lots, lacking necessary amenities for 32 years.  The Marin Farmers Market needs a permanent home, and Marin voters agree – in fact, an overwhelming 81.4% supported the proposal of a permanent home on the Civic Center Campus in the June 2014 election.

The permanent farmers market and educational center will be a highly visible landmark dedicated to farms, families and food, centrally located along Highway 101 in San Rafael.  It will make healthy, locally grown food more accessible to people of all ages, abilities and economic capacities; educate eaters and farmers about sustainable food and farming; promote healthy eating; and incubate small businesses.

“The Campaign for the Market Hall and Canopy” was launched in Fall 2014, with the goal of raising $24 Million through individual and institutional donations, as well as private financing. The project is currently in its pre-development phase.

To learn more about the project or to become a member of the Founders’ Circle Membership Club, please contact Vicki Buder at or 415-472-6100 x104.