detox-vegetables.jpgEvery Wednesday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., stands stacked with seasonal produce pop up in San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza near Civic Center, and today that farmers’ market is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The Heart of the City Farmers’ Market is an independent non-profit market that organizers say brings high-quality and reasonably priced produce from small local farms to the urban community.

The farmers’ market plays a crucial role in providing fresh produce to a neighborhood that is otherwise considered a “food desert,” or a community that lacks grocery stores, market organizers said. Liquor stores and corner stores operate in their stead, offering a supply of processed foods lacking in nutrients.

More than 75 percent of food stamps used at San Francisco farmers’ markets are used at the Heart of the City market, according to the organization.

Stall fees are kept low because “the market operates on a shoestring budget,” according to its organizers, and this helps keep prices affordable for the low-income community.

To celebrate its 30 years of service to the community, the market is inviting the community to join in its 30th Anniversary Festival, which began at 9 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. Attractions include free giveaways, special discounts and free face painting, balloon animals and hula hooping, and live music throughout the day.

Mayor Ed Lee is expected to join the celebration at 1 p.m. to reflect on the market’s history and its role in the revitalization of the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes UN Plaza, is also expected to make remarks at the 1 p.m. event.

UN Plaza is located along Market Street between Seventh and Eighth streets above the Civic Center BART station.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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