Tommy Introduces Eastern Market Preservation & Development Proposal

October 4, 2011

This morning, Councilmember Tommy Wells introduced the "Eastern Market Preservation and Development Amendment Act of 2011."

You can download a copy of the introduced bill by clicking here: 2011-10-04, Eastern Market Preservation and Development.pdf. You can download a summary of the proposal by clicking here (updated to correct typos in initial version): 2011-10-04, Summary of Eastern Market legislation.pdf.

If you're interested in a copy of the current legislation that governs Eastern Market, you can download it here: 1997 Eastern Market Law.pdf

Thumbnail image for Eastern Market TF1.bmpThis is comprehensive reformation of the management and operations of the Historic Eastern Market that comes after nearly a year's worth of research, meetings and recommendations by the Eastern Market Task Force. It's a needed step to create a lasting and sustainable structure to protect and grow the treasure that is the city's Eastern Market.

In short, the legislation unifies the market under a sole management entity with local control, and removes the District as the market manager -- a function that frankly, the city has stated it is not best suited for.

As you may know, there is a current Eastern Market Community Advisory Council. Despite its best intentions, EMCAC lacks authority and decision-making powers. They play an advisory role and make recommendations that may or may not be followed. Added with the additional layer of the city trying to play the role of running and operating a fresh food and arts market, it's led to difficulty to create clear lines of authority and accountability.

Following a review of successful historic food markets in many other cities in America, as well as an exhaustive review and report issued by the Eastern Market Task Force, this legislation seeks to create the Eastern Market Preservation and Development Trust - a private, non-profit corporation that will allow for local control of the Market. It will include a board structure that includes representation from the Council, the Mayor, the multiple stakeholders of Eastern Market that have special expertise in areas of running a historic fresh food market.

Another important component of the Trust will be to unify the disparate areas that make up Eastern Market into one management entity that can both exercise clear decision making, and be easily held accountable by all parties.

Finally, after the initial appointments and terms, the Board would become self-sufficient and choose its own members and Chair.

I'm very glad to introduce this bill today, culminating the work of many hands and many months. I will be hosting a previously announced community meeting on Wednesday, October 5th, at 6:00 pm to outline and review the proposal and seek additional feedback from the community and stakeholders.

I look forward to working to have this bill moved quickly, and appreciate your comments and feedback. If you have concerns, comments or feedback, please feel free to share them below in the comments section. I look forward to keeping the conversation going.


Eastern Markets focus should continue to be on food items which are locally caught, raised, grown and harvested. Please ensure this is the case in the governing documents for the future market.

Already, we have a lot of encroachment of craft goods taking too many of the stalls on Saturday and Sunday. There are too many of the Saturday/Sunday food vendors who just buy boxes of whatever produce they can sell at a profit (I'm pretty sure oranges are not locally grown), no matter the origin. The indoor vendors also have some sourcing issues, but I consider them as part of a grocery store, so as long as its primarily fresh items, I'm OK with their discretion on product selection.

Perhaps setting a 400 mile radius for where the food comes (except in the event of weather related farm losses) from would be sufficient to encompass the bounty of the region while excluding more industrially produced items.

Well I guess I don't have to spend the weeeknd figuring this one out!

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