Mission Community Market Hopes to Revitalize Dormant Street

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Organizers of the nascent Mission Community Market hope to transform an underutilized block of Bartlett Street in the Mission into a thriving weekly market, where vendors sell their goods and kids play in the street after school. As an initial test, the Mission Community Market Collaborative (MCMC) is throwing a block party and fundraiser on Saturday, June 19th, at Bartlett and 22nd Street, both as a way to advertise the idea and to raise money for its implementation.

Jeremy Shaw, who has been organizing the market with the MCMC, hoped the kickoff event would bring enough people out to help the market gain traction. The project is meant to provide a community space and promote economic development.

"The point is to create choice for healthy foods," said Shaw, and "use it as an economic development engine where we create booths and stalls for Mission-based and local emerging businesses."

In addition to partnering with the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), the MCM will work with La Cocina, a non-profit in the Mission that helps street food vendors by offering an industrial kitchen and classes for enrichment. Other partners include Arriba Juntos, Mission Beacon after-school programs, Mission Small Business Association, Mission Merchants Association, Revolution Cafe, Rainbow Grocery, Bi-Rite Market and the San Francisco Great Streets Project, among others.

"The food part is the anchor," said Shaw. "People come to buy food, and that's how we support these other community programs."

Shaw and other market supporters got a boost yesterday when the Board of Supervisors waived the fees for closing the street for the June 19th fundraiser. Organizers  go before ISCOTT, San Francisco's street closure permitting body, tomorrow to get approval for two months of weekly streets closures every Thursday, from 4-8 pm. Shaw is hopeful the permits will come through and has been working with the agencies responsible for street closures to improve those chances.

Jeremy_shaw_MCM.jpgMission Community Market organizer Jeremy Shaw surveys the block of Bartlett where the proposed market would operate every Thursday. Photo: Matthew Roth.

The idea for the market came from community meetings in conjunction with the San Francisco Planning Department's Mission Streetscape Plan, where numerous community members voiced support for developing a market in conjunction with streetscape improvements.

"I think this project can show how a food component and the physical space can go together, said Ilaria Salvadori, a community planner who developed the Mission Streetscape Plan for the Planning Department. Salvadori and Shaw hoped the market would be the first step toward improving the streetscape on the block, which has relatively few curb cuts for a San Francisco block.

"The ultimate goal is to regenerate the area of Bartlett, which is underutilized right now," said Salvadori.

One of the first improvements will be made during the block party fundraiser, said Shaw, when participants will be encouraged to paint a mural designed by the Sirron Norris Gallery on Valencia Street.

"The mural is about providing the opportunity for anyone to come participate," Shaw said. "It's meant to be an emblem for the possibility for that part of Bartlett."

Shaw has also been working with the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, the Mission Beacon Center and Horace Mann Middle School to develop after-school programs and play streets during the market. Because the block is particularly long and wide, Shaw believes it's ideal for basketball, soccer or other games in the area not utilized for booths.

The market will also be modeled on the Noe Valley Farmers' Market, according to Shaw, one of the only markets in San Francisco that is run by the community and not part of a farmer's market organization. Rather than hold the market on a weekend day, organizers believe the 4-8 pm time slot on Thursdays will help the market stand out and will serve more needs for the Mission community.

The Block Party kick-off for Mission Community Market will be at Bartlett and 22nd Street, Saturday, June 19th, from 10 am - 3 pm.