by Ken Katz
In last month’s News, we announced that the Farmers Market management and the City of Oakland were both talking sh_t due to concerns over hazardous wastes – an issue that had become a major sticking point in their negotiations over a long-term lease agreement. According to AIM CEO Andy Naja-Riese, they had a meeting yesterday morning with the City’s property management office during which they were informed that the City lacked the resources to remove hazardous wastes very early on Saturday mornings. In response, AIM noted that they were already renting an additional port-a-pottie for unsheltered individuals to use during the week and would also be willing to contract directly for clean-up services with the expectation that the City would agree to a reduction in rent. From what we’re hearing, Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas’s office is optimistic about an agreement being reached on this issue.
On a related matter, as part of the initial Sheltering in Place order, the market has been operating without any hot food vendors but AIM is hopeful that the Alameda County Health Department and Oakland’s Fire Marshall will sign off on their return within the next couple of weeks. Once they do return, it will be purely takeout as foods have to be consumed offsite.
Last month, we congratulated the market for having the will and finding the way to donate fifty Bounty Boxes each week to local profits serving families in need. Andy just informed us that they’ve expanded the program here in Oakland and to date, have donated “301 boxes to the Covid-19 Eritreans Taskforce of Oakland; 220 boxes to Trybe; and 25 boxes to Harbor House Ministries. That’s 5,460 pounds of farmers market produce to vulnerable populations since mid-June.”
AIM has a fun fundraiser coming up in celebration of National Farmers Market Week. It’ a “Market to Kitchen, Virtual Cooking Experience” taught by Chef Tony Adams. Participants will all be making a delicious meal in support of local small and mid-sized farmers, fishers, and ranchers – strengthening our regional food system while they eat. The deadline to register is August 13.
AIM’s Volunteer Coordinator, Will Finnie, who is also in charge of implementing their Bounty Box program reached out to us earlier this week saying they were looking for three or four additional volunteers specifically to help with the produce box distribution but, according to the poster below, assistance is needed in various other capacities.