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Washington state money to fund first phase of new Spokane farmers' market

This is the aerial view of a renovated Scale House Market and Kitchen on the grounds of the Spokane Conservation District.
Courtesy of Spokane Conservation District
This is the aerial view of a renovated Scale House Market and Kitchen on the grounds of the Spokane Conservation District.

The appropriation will allow the Spokane Conservation District to create a market, kitchen and freezer unit at its east Spokane compound.

The Spokane Conservation District is moving ahead with a new farmer’s market and commercial kitchen, thanks to a new appropriation from the Washington legislature.

Lawmakers put money in the capital budget for the first phase of the Scale House Market and Kitchen. It will be located in a renovated building on the conservation district's 50-acre campus in an old rock quarry at Eighth and Havana. The district has its office there as well as a variety of other buildings, including one for which director Vicki Carter has been trying to find a use.

“It’s a really odd-shaped building. It’s 18 feet wide and 160 feet long, but it’s so well constructed. I just didn’t have the heart to tear it down," she said.

Carter and her team studied whether it might be a suitable place for farmers to sell and process what they grow.

“Just conceptually, we looked at how we could take that building and retrofit it into having this commercial kitchen and this walk-in cooler and freezer space available and it really just all came together," she said.

The district put together a proposal for what it calls its “Scale House Market and Kitchen” and enlisted local legislators to find money for it. Lawmakers from both parties secured $750,000 to begin the design and initial construction. Carter says the district will look for another million-and-a-half to finish the project, likely through private fundraising.

Farmers markets, especially larger ones, have had mixed success in Spokane. But Carter says the district's feasibility study determined this is the right time to take another shot at a community-scale facility.

“People are hungry for learning. They want to know more about their food. They want to know how to grow it, how to prepare it, how to preserve it. I just think that the timing is finally right for Spokane," she said.

She says the new facility will provide not only space for farmers and other vendors, but also for education programs.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.