Ode to Oakland 2 | Grand Lake Farmer's Market
The Saturday Grand Lake Farmer's Market, at the top of Lake Merritt, has to be one of the best-known un-secrets of Oakland. It has everything: bouncy houses (even shark slides), the Oaklandish bus, fruits, vegetables, poulet roti on wheels, music, amazing prepared food, kettle corn, nice ceramics from Sonoma County, cheap spectacular fresh cut flowers, and great plants/seedlings grown organically from outside Sebastapol. I love all the "stuff" you can get there [especially the Afghani food].
Yet even better is the experience of the market, for it has to be one of the major life-centers of Oakland today. You spend some time there and you experience the people, energy, ethos and excitement of Oakland. Market pilgrims come from all over the diverse city. It's a - or maybe the - way to "get" Oakland in a matter of an hour - even the challenge of urban parking. As a pastor-person I continue to think (someone else's idea) that studying the market as a microcosm of Oakland is key for any faith communities [or any other societally involved organization] seeking to grow through addressing the needs, concerns and culture of Oakland. From the modern East Bay family paradigms hanging around the bounce houses and balloon animals to the protesting pro-Israel and pro-Palestine opposing voices both affirming gay rights each week outside the Grand Lake Theatre, to the organic foodie shoppers in uniforms ranging from tattoo covered bodies to the latest Banana Republic urban ensemble: participation in this market experience is quintessentially Oakland.