My husband and I live in a suburb of San Francisco, CA. To me, when I think what makes our area vibrant, one of the first things that comes to mind is our local food community.
My husband Dan is starting a sandwich business, and as a new startup, it's not always easy for him to find opportunities to sell his sandwiches. One place that has been crucial to his business's development has been the
New Taste Marketplace.
The New Taste Marketplace bills itself as a "food market for the community" – but it's so much more than that. For vendors like Dan, it's a chance to get some exposure, test out new recipes, and identify new customers in a very low risk way (since he doesn't have to have the same permits and licenses for this market that he'll need when he eventually strikes out on his own). And for the community, this market is a chance for neighbors to come together and support local food producers and the local food pantry, all in a beautiful space (St. Gregory's Church in San Francisco).
To me, this market is the epitome of community vibrancy because it connects people together to share a positive, meaningful experience. It also helps support fledgling businesses during a crucial time in their growth and development.
And even beyond the New Taste Marketplace, I believe that one reason the San Francisco Bay Area is such a vibrant place to live is its bustling food scene. People here definitely value good food, but even more than that they love a good food story. This kind of emphasis placed on where your food comes from, who makes it, and what makes it special means that people are encouraged to be creative and innovative around food – both in terms of what you eat and in terms of what someone like Dan chooses to sell.
Food isn't the only thing that makes San Francisco vibrant, but it's definitely in my top 5!