Bird Rock group negotiating to have farmers market
By Dave Schwab
Negotiations are in the works for a new farmers market serving Bird Rock that would be held Friday evenings starting this spring if all of the details, including the necessary community approvals, are resolved.
Some Bird Rock Elementary School parents reportedly are forming a new nonprofit group to bring a farmers market to the community to raise money for their their elementary school.
“We’re negotiating right now and we’ve pretty much settled on a site, Mira Monte just off La Jolla Boulevard in front of La Jolla Methodist Church,” said Catt Fields White, operator of SD Weekly Markets, which has three existing San Diego farmers markets in Normal Heights, North Park and Little Italy.
Fields White said she wants to contract with the new Bird Rock nonprofit group to set up, market and manage their market.
School representatives and Joe Parker, who heads the Bird Rock Community Council, would not comment, saying any response is premature.
The proposal would have to go through community review before the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T) Board and La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA).
“We are thinking of starting in April,” she added. “But we haven’t been through the permit process yet. That would be our intent if all goes well.”
Some have expressed concerns that a new farmers market in Bird Rock might conflict with the La Jolla Open Aire Market, held Sundays on the grounds at La Jolla Elementary School at 1111 Marine St. That market, which benefits La Jolla Elementary School, has grown from a handful of vendors to more than 150 in 12 years.
Fields Miller said she doesn’t see a conflict arising between the two.
“There wouldn’t be any competition between a Sunday market in La Jolla and a Friday market in Bird Rock,” she said. “I have markets near one another on Adams Avenue and in North Park — they’re very different communities — and they both do well.”
Sherry Berman Ahern, who spearheaded establishment of the Open Aire Market, said, “Our market brings in thousands of people to our village, benefiting local businesses, while 100 percent of the proceeds fund needed programs for children. Everyone wants to help find new and innovative ways to assist the La Jolla schools.”
Berman Ahern said that was the idea behind her founding the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival two years ago.
“It began in this fashion and now generates funds for our local public elementary schools, thanks to community members and parents from all schools working together,” she said.
Berman Ahern said she encourages La Jolla schools, parents and community members “to look for additional revenue-generating possibilities that are feasible, sustainable, cost-effective and do not negatively impact existing activities in the area.”
Fields White said she was originally approached by Bird Rock residents a couple of years ago about establishing a new farmers market in their area, but a suitable location could not be found at that time. She added it’s not a simple task.
“There are a lot of regulatory agencies involved and a lot of self-employed entrepreneurs with a lot of different personalities in one block when you set up a farmers market,” she said. “There’s a lot of moving pieces there.”
Fields White said the goal of all her markets is to “create a healthy local offering of food.”
Concerning Bird Rock, Fields White added, “We have high hopes it can be a nice addition to Bird Rock. Hopefully, it works out.”
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