City Heights Farmers' Market Reopens, Providing Fresh Life To Farmers And Community
When the pandemic first forced their shutdown in March, some farmers' markets were able to reopen and recover sooner than others. But for the City Heights Farmers' Market, it was a longer journey back to the farm stands.
For months, the San Diego Farm Bureau, which runs the market, looked for the funding to safely reopen.
“Due to the city mandate, we actually had to increase our staffing,” said Brandon Janiss, the manager of the Farmers' Market. As capacity at the market was lowered to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19, the number of staff had to be increased, to ensure safety and proper spacing.
With less money coming in and costs going up, a grant from the City Heights Development Corporation was needed for the market to safely reopen this November.
During that time, Janiss said the local farmers struggled.
“Well I know for them, with this market closed, I don’t think they do many other markets in the area,” he said. “So for them, that’s a complete revenue loss. I know the refugee farmers didn’t even farm their plots for a while until we gave them notice that we were going to be opening again and they started planting things again in expectation of being back here.”
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Bernardino Loera is one of the farmers who’s been with the market since its opening a decade ago.
“This is what we live from. If we don’t do the markets, we’re a little bit short,” he said.
Loera is glad that so far, farmers' markets haven’t been impacted by the latest round of shutdowns. A few of the other markets he sells at still haven’t reopened.
“We hope they don’t close. It’s very important for us because we have bills to pay, and if we don’t do this market, it’s one of our best markets,” he said.
The Farm Bureau expects the grant will help them stay open for the next couple of months, at least.
The City Heights Farmers' Market is open, for now, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, on the corner of Wightman Street and Fairmont Avenue in City Heights.