The foodie crackdown - Page 3

Regulators shut down Underground Market, triggering debate over permits and food safety

From homemade Kombucha to gourmet pizza, the Underground Market was a foodie's playground before it was shut down

"They just want to make it another farmers market," Rabins said. "I'm not interested in running another farmers market. There are plenty of farmers markets around and people who have been doing them for years and know how to do them."

He also isn't interested in conforming to the pre-set expectations and sees the motivation behind the market taking it to new heights. In addition to reopening, he says that ForageSF has secured a kitchen space for helping entrepreneurs launch their small businesses and host public classes.

"We are going to hopefully have a rooftop garden with a movie screen, a retail space in front that sells products being made in the kitchen by vendors, and possibly a small-scale brewery in back," Rabins said.

He is also reaching out to other similar market organizers, such as some in Los Angeles, to brainstorm ways to make this business model more acceptable across the country. He says they are in the initial phases of creating a model that is reproducible for others who want to start their own markets.

Once again, in the place where the organic food movement first bloomed, people are coming together to create new interactions between producers, consumers, and their food.


Look at what happened in LA yesterday when Rawesome, a private, member-supported co-op, was raided for selling unpasteurized milk. The food regulators need to develop new and innovative ways of dealing with the growth of non-traditional markets and micro-enterprises seeking new ways of introducing fresh, local and organic food to people. Their current approach is very top-down and that should change.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Aug. 05, 2011 @ 8:28 am

Yes, mz snaps, here's a good recent article in the economist about the insane hoops instituted in the early 70s that California small batch producers must go through: -- funny how normal enormous food recalls have become, yet small-batchers get the crackdown ...

Posted by marke on Aug. 05, 2011 @ 9:02 am

I am all for encouraging an "innovative food scene." However, we have public health laws for a reason, which is to prevent food contamination and the spread of disease.

So-called "small batch" producers are not exempt from the laws of nature, and "small batch," "locally grown," and "organic" food can cause illness just as easily as food produced by big industrial producers if basic safety and sanitary procedures are not followed. The individuals serving food at the event should have known better than to serve food without washing their hands, even most ordinary folks making food at home for themselves and their families understand the importance of following basic sanitary procedures, such as hand washing.

Mr. Rabins either needs to get the basic permits and follow the standard food safety and sanitary procedures, or he needs to keep his cooking parties limited to his own kitchen, though I must say neither I nor other like-minded people concerned about our health would be very much interested in coming over for dinner, unless he and his friends learn to wash their hands.

Posted by Chris on Aug. 07, 2011 @ 5:53 am

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