Growing a Successful Farmers' Market in Campbell

The Sunday Campbell Farmers' Market has been in the downtown for 14 years, growing its following and helping put Campbell on the South Bay map.

If the crowds are any indicator, the Sunday Campbell Farmers' Market is going strong.

This week, Campbell Patch began looking at the surrounding the Campbell Farmers' Market on Sundays and the .

Before we get into the arguments for and against, a little history on the market, from market operator Ron Pardini.

The market opened its first season in the downtown in 1998 after Urban Village Farmers' Market Association was approached by the Campbell Redevelopment Department, said Urban Village Farmers' Market Association Director Ron Pardini in an email.

"Redevelopment's objective was to promote Downtown Campbell, support the local merchants, and revitalize the downtown area," Pardini said in an email. "However, another objective was to provide a venue for locals and friends to interact as a community, and enjoy one of the best farmers’ markets in the Bay Area."

The first season of the Campbell Farmers' Market on Sundays opened that year with 30 farmers, seven food vendors and one artisan, Pardini said.

"The first two seasons were moderately successful, and the market was barely sustainable, but showed some promise to help light up some empty storefronts on the street," he said.  

The second season proved to be better than the first, with the help of the closure of the nearby Town & Country Farmers' Market in San Jose, where the current Santana Row now stands.

It was around this time that Urban Village saw an opportunity to beef up the growing farmers' market by making it year round, rather than seasonal and began the new schedule in 2000.

With the addition of calendar dates, the market added another city block and an additional 30 vendors to the market.

"The market struggled the first couple of winter seasons, but farmers' market vendors hung in as UVFM continued advertising and promotional efforts," Pardini said. "After five years, the season of 2003 turned out wildly popular, and that year began the long streak (8 of past 9?) of "Best Farmers' Market in the South Bay" by the San Jose Mercury News. It is now widely know throughout the Bay Area as one of the best."

Follow the development of this story on Campbell Patch and read about each of the involved parties' arguments for/against the change and the Bay Area community that successfully changed their market's configuration.

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