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Some Farmers Markets In San Diego Reopen With New Strict Guidance

Rules limit the number of people that can enter the market, and how people interact with the vendors

New strict guidelines are in place at Little Italy Farmers Market on Saturday...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: New strict guidelines are in place at Little Italy Farmers Market on Saturday, April 18.

At the farmers market in Little Italy, a worker stands at the entry to the farmers market holding a six foot pole. He’s there to explain the rules to everyone — maintain six feet of distance. Point to the fruit or vegetables you want, don’t touch them. Try not to use cash if you can. And if you’re done shopping, don’t linger. As always, no pets. But seriously this time, no pets.

Farmers markets in San Diego are beginning to open back up, but with new rules limiting the number of people that can enter the market, and how people interact with the vendors.

“We have really, really strict guidelines that we’re implementing,” said Justine Marzoni, who helps organize San Diego’s farmers markets. “For example, we’re asking that if people do have to pay in cash, they pay with exact change. There’s additional hand-washing stations on each block, and a cap of how many people can be in the market at a time.”

Right now, that limit is 80 people for the two blocks of the market. It’s a far cry from the hundreds of people that flock to the market regularly, but for farmers, it’s a much-needed lifeline during the pandemic.

Maria Williams works for north county’s Rodney Kawano farms. She says the farmers market helps farms stay in business.

“We’re not like a grocery store. We have farmers that we have to pay. We’ve got to pay for our farms -- that’s our way of living. We have to support ourselves,” Williams told KPBS.

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

The Little Italy Farmers Market on Saturday, April 18 is under new restrictions to limit interactions between farmers and shoppers.

The farmers market in Little Italy has been open for three weeks now, and other farmers markets are following suit -- on Sunday the farmers market in Hillcrest will reopen with similar rules.

Other markets have transitioned to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where customers can buy produce directly from farmers. City Heights Community Development is currently taking orders until the City Heights farmer’s market reopens.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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