DIY Urbanism: Market Creates Sense of Community While Bringing Healthy Food Choices to the Mission

BY ELIZABETH HOLDEN
August 16, 2010

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[Photo Credit: Colleen McHugh]

Through an interactive market system of live music, produce booths and youth art projects, the Mission Community Market (MCM) activates an underutilized block at the intersection of 22nd and Bartlett Streets. It also brings diverse walks of life together on one block every Thursday from 4 to 7p.m. Chance encounters with fellow pedestrians carrying sunflowers or succulent produce are the only signs of the Market on Thursdays, making it a delicious find.

San Francisco artist Chris Treggiari of Root Division led a mural project on the first Thursday market. Looking around the space, he commented that it had "a lot of potential." "Look at that empty wall over there - it could be a great place to have a mural for a youth arts class. I am excited for what this market can be." The mural Chris helped facilitate that first Thursday addressed urban themes and provided an opportunity for all community members to participate in a common art project.

Organizers of the Mission Community Market have transformed an underutilized block of Bartlett Street into a thriving weekly market, where vendors sell their goods while kids play in the street after school. Jeremy Shaw, chief organizer of the market, hoped that the first market would attract enough people for it to gain traction. "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." This market will provide a community space and promote local buying by stationing itself on a central block in the Mission District.

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. Entrepreneurs from La Cocina sell their prepared foods at the events alongside non-food crafts from local businesses working with the Mission Small Business Association (MiSBA). "The food part is the anchor," said Shaw. "People come to buy food, and that's how we support these other community programs."

Potential was what this first farmers market was all about.

In preparation for our upcoming exhibit, DIY Urbanism: Testing grounds for social change, (opening Tuesday, September 7), the SPUR Blog will feature local and international urban projects that embody the "DIY" mentality. Check back for more DIY Urbanism features in the coming weeks.