Block Party Bodes Well For Community Market on Bartlett Street

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Bartlett Street photo by Jeremy Shaw

Bartlett Street in San Francisco's Mission district can feel underutilized and desolate, especially the block between 21st and 22nd streets where the west side holds a parking garage and the east side has only a few apartment buildings and a graffiti filled facade. This contrasts with the populous, perpendicular block of 22nd street, which is chock full of cafes, bars, hair salons, and boutiques. Jeremy Shaw, a planner who lives in the neighborhood hopes to enliven Bartlett Street with a weekly, evening farmers market. On June 19th, hundreds of people stopped by a block party on 22nd and Bartlett Streets in San Francisco's Mission district to help support what Shaw hopes will become the Mission Community Market.The Mission Community Market is slated to be more than your average farmers market. The founders' aim is for it to be an outdoor market that celebrates the Mission district by promoting organic, affordable, and homemade foods, supporting emerging businesses, and providing a platform for community programs. It is meant to be a public space, where kids can play after school. The market would also offer a space for local emerging vendors to sell their goods. Saturday's block party was a way to fund raise and test the viability of the idea of the market.

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Block Party Photo By Susan Poliwka

Although there are places in the Mission district that sell cheap produce and organic food or hold after school educational and arts programs, I do not know of any organizations that do all of these in one venue. In this way the market would be a unique addition to the neighborhood. The market could activate an under-used street and make it an inviting safe corridor street. It should also increase the walkability of the neighborhood. The current plan is to direct proceeds of the market towards public space improvement including future murals and green streetscapes.

The idea for a market was a recommendation of residents who attended public meetings on San Francisco Planning Department's Mission Streetscape Plan. Residents overwhelmingly asked for streetscape improvements, pedestrian safety, and a "community market" that was more than a farmers market. The SF Department of City Planning and Ilaria Salvadori, the Project Manager for the Mission Streetscape plan, convened community members and helped form the MCMC. The collaborative will offer economic development for the community via partnerships with Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and Mission Small Business Association (MiSBA), which run bilingual business-training programs for local, emerging businesses as well as La Cocina, a local non-profit that assists street food vendors with an industrial kitchen space and classes, and specializes in women-owned food businesses. Through these organizations, the collaborative also plans to act as an umbrella under which businesses can easily obtain permits.

Last week Shaw and other collaborative organizers received the street closure permits for the market for two months of weekly street closures every Thursday, from 4-8 pm, starting July 15th. On Saturday, proceeds from the raffle and all food bought at Lolo, Cafe Revolution and Escape from NY Pizza and street desert carts: Kika's Treats, Dora's Jugos, Sweet Constructions went to the market for start-up costs and remaining permits. 10% of Boogaloos Saturday brunch profits also were donated to the market. Party attendees snacked on their food purchases while listening to bike pedal powered music and watching capoeira and children's activities. If Saturday's well attended block party is any indication of success, the market will have the traction it needs.

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