Farmers Market Pride: LGBTQ+ Owned Farms and Food Businesses to Support
June 26, 2020
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride, which will look very different with celebrations moving into the virtual space. While there is still much work to do in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality and liberation, particularly for farmers in rural communities and people who are transgender, there are also many victories to celebrate, like the Supreme Court’s recent historic decision affirming equal rights in the workplace, a victory won through the hard work of gay and transgender activists for decades.
In honor of Pride, we’re celebrating LGBTQ+ farmers and makers at our farmers markets, each one creating a more just, sustainable, and nourishing world. They care for the people, animals, and the land through their activism and craft, and we care for them. We’ll have Pride flags at the Info Booth tomorrow in celebration. Come pick one up! Together, we can make farmers markets inclusive, uplifting, and joyful spaces for everyone.
As a fourth-generation farmer, Rudy Jimenez has known farming since birth. Growing up in Salinas, Rudy was confronted with a choice by his father, who had been working on a conventional farm for 30 years: either go to school, or you are going to end up in the fields. Rudy made a decision to stay in agriculture, but to do it his own way.
Together with Juan Carlos Gonzalez, he now runs Green Thumb Organics, a four-acre certified organic farm in San Juan Bautista, while offering health education programs for children of farmworkers in the area. They also founded the nonprofit Urban Arts Collaborative to create a safe space for artistic expression as a catalyst for healing, leadership development, and social justice. Their intersectional approach includes giving focus to youth equity, the arts, land stewardship, food justice, and LGBT rights.
“We believe food is what connects us all, and during this Pride month, we want to extend our gratitude to the LGBTQ community for embracing us and to continue buying our produce as we move toward a more sustainable and equitable future for our communities, uniting art, activism, and Mother Nature in service to all,” say Juan Carlos and Rudy.
Where to support them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays and Tuesdays and online
Gaining experience on farms from New Zealand to Hawaii, Dede Boies eventually found her passion raising livestock. In 2014, she decided to start her own humane and sustainable operation to do her part in combating the negative impacts of industrial animal agriculture. Today, Root Down Farm is a diverse, pasture-based farm located in the beautiful coastal town of Pescadero, California that raises heritage chickens, turkeys, ducks, and pigs. Dede’s mission is to humanely raise the healthiest animals possible while working within the ecosystem to responsibly steward the land.
Dede runs the farm with her wife, Melissa, their daughter, Eddy, one full-time farm employee, and a few part-time staff. “Everything we do is about the health of the animal, the health of the land, and the sustainability of the people,” says Dede. “My philosophy is to hold those things as best as we can together.”
Where to support them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays and online
With the goal of sourcing all of their plants locally, Lauren Anderson and Finn Oakes started Steadfast Herbs as an herbal CSA, a seasonal box of herbal remedies based on the equinoxes and solstices. They started growing herbs at Root Down Farm in Pescadero. Today, they grow over 50 varieties on half of an acre. Steadfast Herbs uses organic farming practices to tend the soil, and they plant primarily perennial herbs, which require less water and other inputs than annual crops. Steadfast Herbs supports people in taking care of themselves and each other through handmade tinctures, teas, and salves. To give back to the community, Steadfast Herbs donates a portion of the products to organizations working for economic and racial justice in the Bay Area.
“We are able to celebrate Pride today because of the love and labor of Black and Latinx trans women, like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and so many other incredible activists,” says Finn and Lauren. “So the best way to honor Pride this year is by supporting the leadership and vision of BIPOC trans women by sending funds to the TJI Justice Project , El/la Trans Latinas, and the Trans Lifeline.”
Where to support them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on alternating Saturdays and online
Owned and operated by Jeremy Horton and Michael Schirmer, Pet Wants SF was launched in 2018 at the San Francisco Pride Festival. They are now at the Mission Community on Thursdays handing out samples of their all-natural, fresh, and slow-cooked kibble formulas for dogs and cats, as well as homemade treats, topical products, toys, and supplies for sale. You can sign up for a subscription to have their food delivered free to you anywhere in the Bay Area.
Jeremy is originally from Alabama and has lived in San Francisco since 2009. He served in the National Guard with the 109th Unit of the Evac. Hospital where he was activated for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He has been a nurse for the last 21 years, including three years as a travel nurse. He has a Shih Tzu named Gracie. Michael has been running his own dog walking business since 2008. He’s originally from Indianapolis, where he was a competitive swimmer throughout high school. His family moved to San Diego to continue his swimming career which over the years has morphed into running marathons and more recently completing two 565-mile AIDS Life Cycles. Michael has a Cattle Dog named Harper.
Where to support them: Mission Community Market on Thursdays and online
Root Down Farm photo by Anne Hamersky.