Friday, November 21, 2003

Big developments on the Real Food front. The great news for the neighborhood is that there will be a Farmer's Market kicking off on December 6th and running every Saturday morning.

New Farmer’s Market in Noe Valley
Beginning December 6th then Every Saturday 8am-12pm

November 21, 2003, San Francisco, CA—A Festive kick-off for the new Noe
Valley Farmer’s Market will be held from 8am-12pm Saturday, December 6th in
the new parking lot on 24th Street between Sanchez and Vicksburg.

Purchase healthy, organic food. Support small, local farmers. Build a
community based economy. Get to know your neighbors.

Farmers and vendors will be selling organic vegetables and fruit
(greens, winter root vegetables, squash, herbs, apples, kiwi, and tomatoes
and honey, nuts.

Bluegrass music by local musicians. Stilt-walker, clown, and face painting for kids. 10 AM blessing and ribbon cutting by Reverend Keenan from the Noe Valley Ministry.

About Friends of Noe Valley Farmer’s Market:

Friends of the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market grew from a series of community
meetings in response to the abrupt closing of the Real Food Store on 24th
street. The Real Food store, owned by Fresh Organics a subsidiary of Nutracuetical a Utah based corporation, was ostensibly closed for remodeling. The owners didn’t communicate their plans to the workers, who were fired suddenly the Friday before Labor Day, nor did they notify the neighborhood. At the time of closing, the company had not applied for permits in order to do any interior work, and acknowledged at a Board of Supervisors hearing on 9/24/03 that no interior improvements had started. Merchandise continued arriving at the store several days after the store was closed. Suspicions about the company's actual motivations for closing the store were further aroused because the Real Food workers are organizing a union. Two of the key union organizers had already been fired prior to the store's closure, under circumstances which made little sense to their coworkers. Also, one of the fired employees had already filed a claim with the NLRB well in advance of the store's closure.

The sudden closure left a large and loyal group of customers without a local
alternative for organic produce and healthy food products. Over 2,000 Noe
Valley residents and supporters have signed a petition asking Fresh
Organics to take legally binding steps to correct and improve the current situation and to rectify all violations of law that may have occurred.

Community activist Peter Gabel, who led the successful effort to save Cover
to Cover Booksellers, sees this as a first, positive step: "We are a
community of people who care about the integrity of the neighborhood. We are
not merely disconnected consumers that will support a business regardless of
how it treats its workers and the community."

Everyone’s invited. Vote with your feet and your dollars to support an
alternative, local economy!

For More Information Contact:
Leslie Crawford: Friends of the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market
(415) 282-2474

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Another neighborhood resident tracking from of the Real Food developments:

the atkinson ledger: "NOE VALLEY SHOWDOWN
Another boring Saturday night for me.
The culture wars are alive and kickin' in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, where I live. The saga began with the sudden closing of the local Real Foods store on the main 24th Street drag. The ostensible reason for the closing was an urgent need for sudden renovation; the real reason, according to many, was the push for unionization by Real Foods workers, who were let go the night before Labor Day weekend with no advance notice. (The workers apparently have a blog now, if you're interested.)

Hijinx ensued. Posters and photocopies of news clippings began to decorate the windows of the shop. Over the next couple of weeks, the storefront began to serve as a de facto community billboard for Noe Valleyans: next to critical articles from the Chron and the weeklies appeared ads for massages and flats for rent.

Local conservatives were apparently unhappy at this spontaneous outpouring of anti-corporate opinion. Recently a series of very amusing flyers have appeared on the Real Foods storefront. All of the flyers criticize 'liberalism' in some way: opposing the resumption of relations with Cuba, deriding the liberal quest for socialism, etc.

To the credit of the community, it seems that these flyers have not generally been ripped down in anger, even though they are quite ridiculous. (Really? Liberals coddle Castro? Like, um, the liberals in Congress? You want serious coddling of dictators? Check out Bush's relationship with Uzbekistan -- yikes.)

I'll do my best in the future to get the text of these flyers for your continuing amusement."

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