A City of Madison committee released the results of a public opinion survey that found positive community support for the plan to open a year-round public market in the city.
The survey was distributed to gauge interest from Madison community members and vendors and conducted by the Madison Local Food Committee, Peggy Yessa, a representative from the City of Madison Office of Business Resources, said.
The surveys were distributed to potential vendors for the public market during a press conference held late last year, Yessa said, adding the surveys were available online and in print.
“The survey was conducted to see if people were interested in the idea and what they would be selling [at the public market],” Yessa said.
The survey showed 65 percent of those surveyed were very interested in the idea of opening a public market in Madison, with 96 percent reporting they had experience in running a business, the report said.
The results of the survey were very positive, Yessa said, both from the point of view of community members and vendors.
The results of the survey found the majority of people were interested in having crafts and art sold at the market, followed by fruits and vegetables. In addition, respondents indicated an interest in seeing meat, fish, flowers and baked goods, as well as other various foods and items sold at the market.
According to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, the public market would provide a place for people to buy fresh produce and other locally produced food all year-round.
There are many public markets throughout the country and now hopefully Madison will be another place where this is possible, he added.
The report said one of the goals of opening a public market is to give local businesses an opportunity to expand and create larger consumer bases, ultimately creating a second market for businesses to sell their products.
In terms of location, the public expressed the most interest for the public market to be on west side, such as near University Avenue, followed by the east side, such as around East Washington Avenue.
Yessa said the idea of opening a public market has been talked about for many years in various formats and added opening a public market will allow there to be more local food options and would help to better distribute the food to Madison residents.
Resnick also emphasized the importance opening a public market could have on Madison.
“There’s a notion that being able to get fresh food and fresh produce…in Madison has always been a problem,” Resnick said.
As of now there is no set date for when the public market is expected to open, Yessa said. She estimated the market would not likely open until 2015 because a site has not yet been selected.