Between Judah and Irving Street
In the parking lot between 8th and 9th Avenue
San Francisco, California
Sundays: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Full Story
By Andrea Jadwin, Inner Sunset Park Neighbors & Market Volunteer
In late winter 2009, a small group of neighbors began meeting at Al Minvielle’s home in the Inner Sunset to talk about the possibility of bringing a farmers’ market to our neighborhood. We were not very organized, had no funding, no experience with markets or farmers and few connections to City Hall.
But we had lots of enthusiasm and an intuitive feeling that our neighborhood would embrace a farmers’ market and support it with little effort on our part (once it got going). Al had grown up in this neighborhood, raised his children here and had a strong sense that the Inner Sunset was lacking a common gathering place for community events. We don’t have a rec center or a neighborhood park but the commercial area at 9th Avenue and Irving serves as a natural gathering place for neighbors to meet.
It wasn’t complicated to figure out what we needed to start the market:
A place to hold it!
An organization to contract with the farmers, provide insurance, etc.
A neighborhood sponsor to promote the market and provide volunteers.
A Place To Hold It
Finding a space was the hardest part – 9 out of 10 places we contacted (local schools, GG Park) said no. But with a little help from our District 5 Supervisors’ office, we were able to convince SFMTA to allow us to use the parking lot on 9th Avenue and Irving for our market. For free. Which was good because we didn’t have any money.
An Organization To Operate It
We interviewed three non-profit market operators and eventually decided on Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, mostly because they had experience doing markets in San Francisco and knew the permit and legal processes. Some neighborhoods like Noe Valley run their market themselves but we didn’t have the funding or infrastructure to use that model.
A Neighborhood Sponsor
It was important to us that the Inner Sunset Farmers’ Market be more than just a cookie cutter version of other commercial markets. We wanted a neighborhood ‘look and feel’ and struggled with how to do that. Inner Sunset Park Neighbors became the ‘sponsor’ of the market and provided us with the infrastructure to run programs like [email protected] Market, to encourage local merchants like Underdog to get a stall at the market, and to create events like kitchen and book swaps and activities for families and children. Kids love the music at the market!
Going Year Round
In late 2009, ISPN and PCFMA made the decision to hold the market year ‘round. This was a big decision for us – most smaller markets in San Francisco are seasonal and don’t operate in the winter. It was tremendously helpful to have the 300+ members of ISPN strongly supporting the market in its early days. We’ve been able to keep the market going and the farmers happy because of a dedicated group of shoppers who show up rain or shine, every Sunday.
[email protected] Market
IMG_0024.JPGOur [email protected] Market program has provided many neighborhood organizations with the opportunity to share their story and services with the neighborhood. Here are just a few of the people and organizations who have participated in the program
- NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team)
- Friends of the Urban Forest
- Everybody Bikes! (local bike shop offers free bike fix it services) American
- Red Cross (earthquake relief for Haiti)
- SF Department of the Environment (recycling education)
- Rocket Dog Rescue
- UCSF Dental School (with info on kids’ dental programs)
- Lincoln Elementary School PTA
If you represent an organization and would like to get the word out to your friends and neighbors, please contact me, Andrea Jadwin, at [email protected] This program is meant to help community organizations that are making a difference in our neighborhood – no goods/services can be sold and political causes are not allowed.
The Future of the Inner Sunset Farmers’ Market
We are always looking for volunteers to help with parking lot clean ups, to run book or kitchen tool swaps, to help plan kids’ activities and to solicit participation in our [email protected] Market program. And we love feedback on what you’d like to see in terms of vendors and farmers at the market. Please join a great group of people and keep our market going strong!