Can Small Food Businesses Spark San Francisco’s Revitalization?

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

As San Francisco, especially the downtown Financial District, struggles to fully recover from the pandemic, pop-ups and other innovative projects have sprung up to breathe life into vacancies and provide opportunities for new entrepreneurs. Food businesses are essential to this revitalization, contributing to San Francisco’s diversity, creativity, and vibrancy. But are we putting an undue burden on these small businesses to solve systemic problems? What do Bay Area business owners truly need to thrive in a challenging post-pandemic landscape? Join Foodwise for a conversation with local leaders about collaborative efforts to support small food businesses, and what we can all do to shape our city’s future together.

This conversation is the first of a three-part series of Foodwise Talks on food and placemaking in the Bay Area and beyond. Stay tuned for future dates.

RSVP required. Tickets are non-refundable. The price of your ticket helps underwrite the costs of producing this event, including speaker honoraria and staffing. No one will be turned away from the panel for lack of funds. Please email and share why you are interested in a scholarship for this event.



SHACK15 is located on the 2nd floor of San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Please use the elevator to come to the 2nd floor in the Ferry Building’s “Office Lobby” – located underneath the giant clock tower, on the left side of the main market entrance.

Run of Show

  • 5:30 pm: arrival and networking
  • 6:00 pm: panel discussion
  • 7:00 pm: reception

This event is 21+Please review SHACK15’s House Rules and Guest Code of Conduct.

Photo of Nafy Flatley courtesy of SF New Deal / Emily Anderson.

Pia Harris is a founding member of the Fillmore Merchants and Neighborhood Collaborative, and the Fillmore and Japantown for Justice Coalition. Ms. Harris has served small businesses in her community for over a decade, both as a subcontractor with the City and County of San Francisco, and on a pro bono basis. Ms. Harris is currently contracted as the Corridor Manager by OEWD for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Ms. Harris has supported merchants along the corridor like Bruno’s Pizzeria, Sheba Piano Lounge, Miyako Old Fashion Ice Cream Shop, and Jazz’z Salon with marketing, loan and grant applications, one-on-one business consultations, credit card and POS set up, and advocacy.  She joined SFHDC’s team as Director of Economic Development in July 2021 and quickly built that program to create the Minding My Black Owned Business entrepreneurship program, a culinary incubations program, and SFHDC’s In the Black retail store.  In addition, she has played a leading role in the City’s Juneteenth festival and parade, as well as co-founded and co-produced the Western Addition Music Festival.  She was appointed Interim Chief Operating Officer in July 2023. Ms. Harris was previously contracted by OEWD to create and implement qualitative and quantitative surveys for Lower Fillmore merchants for the previous Merchants Association over 10 years ago. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pia launched the Heritage Market, an online delivery platform to support Fillmore merchants with sales during this difficult time, and the Fillmore Marketplace, a bi-weekly market on O’Farrell and Fillmore Streets. The Fillmore Marketplace provided a location and sales opportunities for eight (8) Fillmore businesses.

Emiliana Puyana, (she/her) has always been in love with food and cooking. Early experiences in her family’s kitchen in Venezuela taught her that food has the extraordinary ability to bring and keep people together. She landed her first restaurant job at the age of fifteen in Caracas and has continued cooking ever since. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 2002 she decided to make the move from New York to San Francisco. Her time in the Bay Area has seen her hold most positions in food industry from prep cook to chef de cuisine. She’s gained her battle scars behind the stoves of places like La Folie, Salt House and Marla Bakery. In 2011 she joined La Cocina’s incubator program and started her own pickling business, Jarred SF Brine. After three years of running her own food business she made the tough decision to pack it in and move on to the next food adventure. She now finds herself back at La Cocina but at the other side of the table. She couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to give back to an organization and community that has given so much to her. She loves that a walk through La Cocina is like a mini UN general assembly where the only language spoken is food.

Chef Nafy Flatley, a native of Senegal, moved to California to attend school at the University of San Francisco. She earned her degree in international business, advertising, and marketing, and worked in the Silicon Valley for start-up companies as a marketing director. In 2016, she founded Teranga, a food and beverage company, whose mission is to create nourishing, wholesome, and accessible food, drinks, snacks, and grab n go meals handcrafted in small batches using unique organic and wild ingredients like Baobab Fruit Pulp, Moringa, Hibiscus, Millet, Fonio, tamarind, ginger and other ingredients from Africa and around the world. Chef Nafy Flatley draws inspiration from traditional recipes of her homeland – Senegal and the African diaspora, and spins up unique twists using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. 

Christine Farren is the Executive Director of Foodwise, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Founded in 1994, Foodwise operates the world-renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Mission Community Market, and education programs to connect eaters of all ages with fresh food and local farms. Christine feels that shopping at a farmers market is one of the most life affirming and community building activities possible, and enjoys interfacing with numerous members of the food community here in San Francisco. She holds a BA in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.