The term "farmers market" immediately conjures images of wooden crates full of Gravensteins, verdant greens brimming over the edge of foldable tables and conversations with the people who grew them. It is also the name of the next big-box grocery store trying to call Santa Rosa home. Sprouts Farmers Market is a chain of natural food stores based out of Phoenix, Ariz. It has submitted a request to amend the city's general plan to allow for a 30,000-square-foot store at the corner of Mendocino Avenue and Bicentennial Way. Santa Rosa Community Market needs your help to show the planning commission that the corporate interests of these out-of-towners does not merit a change in the general plan.
A memorandum dated May 3, 2011, states that "the project proponents indicate that the proposed general plan amendment will allow a specialty grocery store not currently found in the surrounding market." However, there are currently seven grocery stores within two miles of the proposed site: Safeway, Pacific Market, Community Market, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Lucky's and Traverso's. Three of these stores are locally owned, and two are technically natural-food stores. Organic produce and other natural products can be purchased at all of them. Despite these facts, the memorandum states, "Of particular note is the high demand for fruits and vegetables in this geographic area."
A Sprouts store at this location would only deprive other parts of the city access to healthy food and shift market share from existing businesses to itself, instantly negating the argument for increasing sales tax. For a detailed description of other issues please visit www.srcommunitymarket.com. There is a petition to sign and a sample letter we ask you to send to our city council representatives. We hope you will join us in our efforts to show the planning commission that there are no community needs being meet in this proposal. Please join us June 9 at 4pm to fill the seats of the Santa Rosa City Council chamber and ensure that our message is heard.
Nica Poznanovich is the outreach coordinator for the Santa Rosa Community Market.