Planning commissioners approved a permit for a new farmers’ market near the corner of Garland Avenue and Sycamore Street in Fayetteville on Wednesday.
Don Bennett, founder of Tri Cycle Farms, requested the permit (PDF) along with Trinity United Methodist Church.
The new market, called Crossroads Market, will be located in the gravel parking lot to the east of the church at 1021 W. Sycamore St.
The permit allows the market to operate up to three days per week, but the plan is to start slow, Bennett said. The market will likely operate once per week on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. beginning in October.
Farmers will set up tables and tents outside the church, but Bennett said the market could be moved indoors to the church’s fellowship hall in the winter months or during bad weather.
Bennett said he expects the market to begin with about three vendors, including food grown at Tri Cycle Farms, which operates on two acres across the street at 1705 N. Garland Ave.
City planners said they’re in full support of the idea.
“We think it’s a good use of the property,” said Jesse Fulcher, senior city planner.
Outside of service times, he said, churches don’t always see a lot of activity.
“We also think it’s a great opportunity to share local produce with the surrounding neighborhoods,” he said.
Bennett said the idea for the market was based on a recent update to the city’s urban agriculture laws which makes it easier for backyard gardeners to sell produce from their homes.
Homeowners in Fayetteville are allowed to raise up to 20 chickens or ducks, three goats and four beehives depending on property size.
Most lot sizes around town only allow about four chickens, but the owner of a 25,000-square-foot lot could raise the maximum of 20 birds. The law includes specific regulations on coop size and the distance a coop must be from a house next door.
“This isn’t intended, at least at this point, to be a regional market like the square market has become,” said Fulcher, “but really a neighborhood farmers’ market.”
Bennett said longterm goals include building a neighborhood garden with raised beds in the middle aisle of the church’s gravel parking lot, and creating southern access to the market from Hickory Street through an undeveloped lot owned by the church.
Bennett is using an $8,300 Energize NWA grant from the Endeavor Foundation to help fund the project.