Bayview ‘Growers Market’ provides healthy food options grown by and for the neighborhood

Farmers from seven community gardens in the Bayview District have joined forces to bring the first “Growers Market” into the neighborhood, in an effort to address food insecurity and promote healthy eating among its residents.

Unlike most traditional farmers’ markets, all fresh produce and fruit for sale at the Bayview Grower’s market, which was launched at the Florence Fang Community Garden earlier this year, is hyper-locally sourced — grown in the Bayview to feed the neighborhood’s residents.

“This is about urban agriculture and food security — on four by four pallet you literally can grow enough food go feed a family of four at least a couple of times a month,” said Hannah Loyd, garden coordinator with the community organization Hunters Point Family, the growers market’s sponsor.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at community garden Saturday, community and city leaders celebrated a years-long effort to connect local farmers, as well as the neighborhoods’ African American and Asian American communities, around healthy eating.

With the highest obesity rates in San Francisco, the Bayview Hunters Point has been rated an “urban food desert” by the USDA, meaning it has has the lowest access to healthy food, with fresh produce making up less than 5 percent of food sold there.

“We do have more liquor stores than grocery stores and that is an issue,” Loyd said. “This is about being able to get kids to eat something fresh that isn’t out of a box or can, with one or two of ingredients and not like a bag of Cheetos with a paragraph that is unpronounceable.”

Every Saturday through the end of November, the Grower’s market will operate on a piece of land adjacent to the Florence Fang Community Garden — the first and largest Asian garden in San Francisco.

With the help of Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen, who oversees Bayview Hunters Point, the Florence Fang Garden opened to the community in 2014 on Caltrain-owned land.

“This piece of land reminds me how, on the outside, something looks like it has no value — the dirt had no nutrients, there was no water on this site — but when you work together and roll up your sleeves and build community, what once seemed to be dead is actually alive and vibrant,” said Cohen, adding that the garden’s property’s transformation was “symbolic” of the Bayview.

“Often people want to dismiss the Bayview community, but what we have here is a strong, vibrant community that links us together,” she said.

Malia Cohen, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and community leaders cut the ribbon at the Bayview Growers Market Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Florence Fang Asian Community Garden on Saturday, August. 29, 2018. (DavÌd RodrÌguez/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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