SF St. Ignatius responds to farmers market amid dispute

The dispute between St. Ignatius College Preparatory and the Sunset Mercantile Farmers Markets has taken many turns Y laps recently, but it all started in the fall 2020.

Sunset Mercantile is a local organization that hosts family events throughout San Francisco. Started by Angie Petitt and Laura Peschke-Zingler in 2014, the group is responsible for the Inner Sunset Flea Market, Secondhand Saturdays, ArtScape, the upcoming return of Cole Valley Fair, and the Outer Sunset Farmers Market, which is located on 37th Avenue between Calles Ortega and Pacheco.

During the height of the pandemic, the Outer Sunset Farmers Market grew to become one of the city’s largest and most successful outdoor events for budding local entrepreneurs. From food and music pop-ups to arts and crafts fairs, there are now up to 100 stalls every Sunday for artisans to share their craft with the public.

Locals shop at the farmers markets at Sunset Mercantile, Sunday, August 14, 2022.

Locals shop at the farmers markets at Sunset Mercantile, Sunday, August 14, 2022.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

In the fall of 2020, amid the market’s growing popularity, Sunset Mercantile reached out to St. Ignatius, whose main entrance is in the 2000 block of 37th Avenue, to see if they could expand to create more distance between vendors. This was at a time before COVID-19 vaccinations, and high school students were attending classes remotely and not on campus.

Sunset Mercantile, which had been held between Ortega and Pacheco streets at 37th avenue, received the school’s blessing to widen one block, between Ortega and Quintara.

In a statement to SFGATE, Tom Murphy, a spokesman for St. Ignatius, said that St. Ignatius was happy to accept the request specifically because Sunset Mercantile “indicated that they would return to their original footprint in the 1900 block of 37th Ave. COVID-19 distancing regulations ended and school is back in person.”

The success of the farmers’ market has created a feud between the two parties that has spilled over into the local media. Sunset Mercantile wants to remain in the 2000 block of 37th Avenue because it has become a tradition that provides vendors with a consistency of business not often seen in pop-ups, and a place where San Franciscans can count to buy groceries and build a community.

Still, St. Ignatius wants to reduce the farmers market to the 1900 block of 37th Avenue on certain Sundays so it doesn’t block the school’s entrance for large campus-related events and Sunday Mass. Specifically, the high school has “asked for your understanding and flexibility in not pulling people out of religious services and evicting them all at once,” Murphy said.

In recent months, with the help of District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar, the two sides negotiated a deal that would appease both sides. At the beginning of August, the Richmond Reviewas well as SFGATE, informed that an agreement had been reachedbut only verbally. San Ignacio requested that a memorandum of understanding be signed between the two groups to make it official.

Angie Petitt is the founder of Sunset Mercantile, which hosts a farmers market across from St. Ignatius High School.

Angie Petitt is the founder of Sunset Mercantile, which hosts a farmers market across from St. Ignatius High School.

Emily Trinh

Last week, SFGATE reported that the high school he had retracted his agreement. In an email to SFGATE, Petitt said: “SI has stated that they cannot honor their original agreement, changing their original requests and adding new ones, because they say they did not involve the right people from SI in our meetings.”

In response to that report, Murphy, on behalf of St. Ignatius, said, “We find it disheartening that [Sunset Mercantile] He has accused us of going back on our word because this whole conflict arose because the market leaders went back on their word.”

SFGATE reached out to Petitt for comment on St. Ignatius’ claim that Sunset Mercantile went back on his word but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Both Sunset Mercantile and St. Ignatius have told SFGATE that they remain optimistic that a written resolution can be reached. For now, Petitt previously told SFGATE that Sunset Mercantile will continue to abide by the verbal agreement that was originally worked out between the two parties, which is to operate one block during certain Sundays, to allow access to the school’s main entrance for events. like the church. services. The Sundays in question were not disclosed to SFGATE by either party.

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