Inner Sunset Farmers’ Market

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Project Basics
Goal: To make healthy and locally/sustainably grown food available within walking/biking distance. To create a gathering place for neighbors, shoppers, farmers, and families to share food, music, and fellowship on Sunday mornings year ’round.
Years active: Since 2009
What We’ve Learned

  1. Don’t be afraid to take on a large project, people will help if they understand and believe in your mission.
  2. Find partners (like Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association and our District Supervisor) who support the larger goal of community building.
Website: http://pcfma.com/innersunset
Project team: Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (market operator) and Inner Sunset Park Neighbors (sponsor).
Contact: Community: ajadwin@pacbell.net (Andrea Jadwin)
Market Operation: nolanadams@pcfma.com (Nolan Adams) 925-825-9090
ISPN involvement: ISPN contracts with the market operator to bring the market to the neighborhood.
Get involved: Community organizations and merchants can participate in our Community@The Market program. Volunteers encouraged to help with special events like kitchen swaps, art projects, parking lot clean ups.

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 ItIMG_5222

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 Community@The 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.

Community@The Market

IMG_0024.JPGOur Community@The 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 ajadwin@pacbell.net. 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 Community@The 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!