The Grand Lake Farmers Market Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) last met on November 7, a meeting at which the following was discussed:
- City Administrators have returned a revised draft of the proposed new agreement between the City and AIM, for the long term operational rights for the market, to Abel Guillén’s office for a second round of review. Pamela Erickson, Abel’s Community Liaison, stated that AIM has committed to accepting key elements outlined by CAC and those were included in Abel’s team’s review of the first draft. Pamela added that the draft will be shared once Abel and his staff have concluded a review of the latest draft. The expectation is that the document will be distributed prior to the next committee meeting and be available as the meeting’s focus. The overall process and timing aren’t certain since the agreement will need to be reviewed by a city council committee before being sent to the full council for approval. Given the upcoming holiday, this will probably carry over into early 2019.
- Andy Naja-Reis, the new CEO of AIM, provided an overview of AIM’s operations and aspirations including specific programs – some that are already operational in Oakland and others that will be rolled out in the coming year including:
- A Food Recovery Program that will encourage vendor donations of surplus produce to local non-profits for distribution to low-income communities. Punks With Lunch, The Village, and The East Oakland Collective have already been enlisted to participate on a rotating basis.
- A Chef’s Corner at the Saturday market featuring chef demos presented by local restaurants.
- Harvest Talks on a regular basis beginning next Spring.
- Educational programs dubbed “Digging at the Market,” “Digging on the Farm,” and “Digging in the School.”
- The “Digging on the Farm” component entails bussing students to Chetwyn Farm in Hayward or Happy Acre in Sunol. Feral Heart Farm in Sunol is also in the process of being approved as a destination. Edna Brewer Middle School and Grass Valley Elementary are already signed up to participate. Fee is $15 per student, but scholarships are available.
- Andy also noted that AIM is in the process of establishing individual brands for each of its seven markets. Logos for AIM and the Grand Lake Market, key elements in the branding process, were unveiled at the meeting. With regard specifically to the Grand Lake logo, it’s golden like the State of California – with a nod to the Warriors as well. Beets are hearty root vegetables that represent the grit, resilience, and the deep history of Oakland and its residents, while the seven leaves represent the seven farmers markets that AIM manages. New merchandise with the Grand Lake logo will be available early next year.
- Jonathon Ruiz, the Grand Lake Market Manager, indicated that AIM was preparing for the annual Christmas Tree Lot installation and market reconfiguration. After being complimented for scheduling so many highly talented local musicians, Jon advised that AIM is in the process of scheduling entertainment for 2019, and he encouraged local groups that would like to perform at the market to file an application as soon as possible. He and Andy also noted that they are hoping to recruit additional volunteers to help facilitate the new programming scheduled to debut next year.
- The possibility of relocating some vendors onto the eastbound lane of Lake Park Avenue (between the park and the street median) was raised. This could potentially help both reduce congestion in the park and possibly accommodate some additional vendors.
- Lucy and Randy Glover, representing the homeowner’s association of the condo building on Walker next to the City parking lot, shared a rendering of a mural they would like painted on the wall facing the lot. The mural is of the farmers market, and the Glovers hope that AIM will contribute to the cost of the mural, for which the HOA may be able to obtain a grant that will match contributions.
- It was noted that Nikki Fortunato Bas was elected as the new City Council District 2 representative replacing Abel Guillén. Jerry Barclay will be reaching out to Nikki as an introduction and will seek guidance on how/when she or her staff will engage with the CAC.
The next Citizens Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 10, beginning at 7 pm in Barnett Hall, which is adjacent to Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. All concerned stakeholders are welcome to attend.