November 10, 2011 — More than 5,000 people attend the Charlottesville City Market each week. Two-thirds of them drive to the market, and 35 percent consider food grown within 100 miles to be "local" food.
Those are just a few of the findings of a survey about who shops at the market, what its strengths are and what can be improved, conducted this summer by a student research team from the University of Virginia's Jefferson Public Citizens program, in collaboration with Market Central, a nonprofit made up of vendors and patrons of the city market.
"In the 38-year history of the City Market, this is the first rigorous survey research about the market and its shoppers, thanks to the U.Va. collaboration with Market Central," said Kathy Kildea, a leader of Market Central.
The findings will be presented at CitySpace, 100 5th Street NE, on the Downtown Mall, on Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m., and again on Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Great Room of the Jefferson Area Board of Aging, 674 Hillsdale Drive. Refreshments will be served at both events.
These "community listening sessions" will begin with a short presentation of the survey results, followed by facilitated discussion about issues related to the market's future, said Carla Jones, a graduate student in the U.Va. School of Architecture who led the research team.
The survey was conducted over seven weeks this summer. More than 400 people answered the survey, including 261 randomized responses, Jones said. It is part of the "Have a Stake in the Market!" project, committed to encouraging community involvement in deciding the future of the Charlottesville City Market.
"The listening session is designed to collect ideas, not resolve issues," said research team member Natalie Roper, a third-year government major in U.Va.'s College of Arts and Sciences. "Everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to be heard, and all input will be recorded. If you have suggestions, concerns, questions or comments about the City Market, please come and contribute your voice to the conversation."
Jefferson Public Citizens is a comprehensive academic public service program that integrates students' service and research experiences throughout their time at the University.