Starting a neighborhood farmers' market in San Francisco is no simple feat. More than three years after Richmond SF first reported on a group of neighbors petitioning to have a few produce stands in a parking lot, the Richmond District is finally getting its own farmers' market -- starting this Sunday.
After much finagling among neighbors, SFMTA, and local businesses, the year-round market will open along Clement between Second and Fourth Avenues between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. It will feature an array of local products and entertainment, but don't plan on taking a romp through the promised bounce house, as it has been nixed due to noise concerns (laughing children?), according to Supervisor Eric Mar's aide Peter Lauterborn.
The market took so much back-and-forth for nearly the length of a high school career due to a variety of issues including supposed opposition from the merchant's association. According to an initial organizer Danielle Wood, in a Richmond SF post from 2011: "It was also challenging to work with the Clement Street Merchants Association who was actively involved in discussions." Yet, the association's president, Cynthia Huie, says she's unaware of any opposition to the market at any point. "The neighborhood has really been pushing for it for many years now and we are happy to support them in their efforts to enhance the community," she says. So we're not sure what happened there, but apparently everyone's on board now.
Then there was the need to secure street closure permits with the SFMTA, which were only approved as of June 13, according to a tweet from a Richmond District business Foggy Notion, thus pushing back the market's initial opening date set for earlier this month. (Apparently not everyone got the memo of the new date, as we observed a few farmers' market fans wandering the streets aimlessly with their empty reusable bags on June ninth.)
The market, run by the Agricultural Institute of Marin, will start on a six-week trial; Lauterborn notes "the City will want to make sure that there are not major traffic or neighborhood problems caused by the street closure or major disruptions related to the rerouting of the 2 Clement."
It's a quiet neighborhood on a Sunday morning (minus the brunch line at Eats), and this market has been a long time coming, with farmers' market posters lining the storefronts for months, so we think it's here to stay. And it's worth a visit to support local agriculture and check out the finished product of work by neighbors and store owners that dedicated themselves to starting this market. Our empty bags are by the door.