The city of Atlanta has developed a zoning ordinance to regulate the operations of farmers markets within the city. The ordinance was created through a cooperative effort of the city’s director of sustainability and market managers.

Peachtree Road Farmers Market manager Lauren Carey, who participated in a year-long process of drafting the ordinance, told Neighborhood Planning Unit B board members Jan. 4 she supports it, which for the first time defines farmers markets and sets standards for their operation. Carey appeared before NPU-B with Mandy Mahoney, director of sustainability for the city of Atlanta, who was in charge of developing the ordinance.

The Peachtree Road Farmers Market, which operates almost nine months out the year in the parking lot of the Cathedral of St. Philip in the 2700 block of Peachtree Road, is one of the largest and most successful of those operated in the city. It is located in NPU-B and is the only “farmers market” physically located in Buckhead.

The NPU-B board will vote at its February meeting on whether or not it supports the new ordinance. The ordinance was also on the Jan. 4 agendas for NPU-C and NPU-A in Buckhead, but neither took any action on it that night.

The ordinance defines a farmers’ market as “an outdoor market open to the public selling farm products or value-added farm products.”

“You know what you’re getting, you know what you’re buying,” Carey said.

“When you’re buying squash, you know that the squash was not shipped in from Chile two days ago.”

The measure requires farmers to sell produce they have grown and products they have made or to notify customers—in 2-inch-tall type—if the produce or products came from another source.

The ordinance also would regulate the sales of products such as jams, jellies, salsa, soups and sausage, which fall under the definition of “value-added farm products.”

“We’ve had farmers’ markets for years;” new NPU-B chair Sally Silver said. “Perhaps it is time that we make them legitimate.

This is an assurance to those following the rules that everybody’s following the rules.”

John Schaffner was founding editor of Reporter Newspapers.