As the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market is set to be displaced to the next block over this weekend, two supervisors are proposing legislation to relitigate that decision, and maybe move the proposed skate park instead.
Five days before the twice-weekly U.N. Plaza Heart of the City Farmer’s Market gets moved over by a block to make way for some sort of skateboard and ping-pong park is an odd time for the SF Board of Supervisors to push back against the plan. After all, the farmers’ market is getting moved this Sunday and that seemed to be written in stone, plus the Board of Supervisors is on their summer recess, so they can’t even take up the matter until next week after the move has already happened.
But at a Wednesday rally to keep the farmers’ market in its current location, the Examiner reports that both Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Supervisor Dean Preston vowed they would introduce legislation to reexamine that decision, legislation whose end result, theoretically, could keep the farmers’ market in its traditional U.N. Plaza location.
“I'm scratching my head as to why we would want to create a food desert in the middle of San Francisco that has been so remarkable and flourished for 42 years,” Peskin told the crowd at the rally. “We all know that [UN Plaza] has its challenges, but this is akin to bombing the village to save it.”
We’re going to dissect the language being used in the Examiner’s report to figure out what’s really at play here. The Examiner’s report says “San Francisco Board President Aaron Peskin and Supervisor Dean Preston announced on Wednesday they will introduce a resolution addressing the market’s move from its home for the last 42 years to Fulton Plaza across the street.”
Okay, so two supervisors — and that is nowhere near a majority, mind you — will “introduce a resolution addressing the market’s move.” That does not explicitly say they want to undo the move, or perhaps, put the skate park in the farmers’ market’s new location between the Asian Art Museum and the SF Public Library, and let the farmer;’s market stay in its traditional location.
But it’s difficult to imagine what the heck else that could mean. Preston and Peskin are clearly meaning to apply some pressure to SF Rec and Parks, whom they (rightfully) say did not engage in much if any community outreach before declaring that the farmers’ market is getting moved and that's just how it’s going to be. Rec and Parks can do this because they have jurisdiction over U.N. Plaza.
“We can, by ordinance, take it back and we can assign it to a different department,” Preston told the Examiner in a separate interview. “My hope is that it doesn't blow up to that extent.”
But is that his hope? Or is blowing it up “to that extent” the whole intention of this soon-to-be-proposed legislation?
Either way, you certainly have to feel for the established, long-standing Heart of the City Farmer’s Market, who in June were hit with the false rumor that they were going to shut down, a demonstrable falsehood promoted by the “That’s Fentalyfe” campaign for clicks or attention or whatever. And then they get booted from their 42-year home with little notice or input.
And that move begins Sunday, though we'll see what else happens in the near-term future.
Image: Vincent L. via Yelp