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‘This is the first one’: Completely free grocery store set to open in the Bayview

In a grocery store, colorful produce like tomatoes and mangoes are neatly displayed on a shelf, with people and a small child visible in the blurry background.
Tomatoes and mangoes fill the shelves of the District 10 Community Market in the Bayview neighborhood on Tuesday. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

A new free grocery store held an opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon in the Bayview neighborhood, where low-income residents can soon fill their pantries without spending a penny.

The market officially opens its doors to serve the community on Wednesday, a press release from the Mayor’s Office said.

The store, dubbed the District 10 Community Market, is the first of its kind in San Francisco. Free grocery centers, like food banks, usually only offer food in pre-bagged kits or a farmers market-style setting. 

A person with short, braided hair and large, round glasses is speaking into a microphone. They are wearing a dark button-up shirt, possibly a uniform, in a brightly lit indoor space.
Geoffrea Morris, who founded the market with Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, says her goal is to serve 6,000 residents every month eventually at the new market. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

Here, shoppers can choose what they put in their carts as they peruse long aisles stocked with the same groceries as any other market. The only difference is that they don’t pay for their haul.

“This is the first one,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who spearheaded the legislation behind the market. “We’re going to continue to do more across San Francisco.”

Around 150 people packed into the store for the ceremony: neighborhood residents, city officials, nonprofit staffers, store workers, and contractors who built the market for free or reduced fees.

The market features four aisles stocked with groceries you’d find at any other store: milk, eggs, fresh produce, tortilla chips, and canned beans.

A grocery store produce section with neatly stacked vegetables, including carrots, turnips, radishes, and greens, on shelves under bright lighting.
The market, located at 5030 Third St., features four aisles stocked with groceries you’d find at any other store: milk, eggs, fresh produce, tortilla chips and canned beans. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

The market will serve community members who are low-income and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of 94124, 94107, or 94134 ZIP codes
  • Receive public assistance, including programs such as CalFresh, Medi-Cal, CalWORKs; or earn less than 300% of the federal poverty level —$45,180 for a single adult, or $93,600 for a four-person family
  • Have children in the household or have a diet-related illness
  • Be referred by a community organization in the market’s referral network

Shoppers must obtain a grocery card—similar to a Costco card—from one of the market’s partnering nonprofits. Geoffrea Morris, who founded the market with Safaí, said the store is still nailing down its logistics but will likely be open on Wednesdays and Fridays for now. Shoppers will be able to visit every two weeks.

The city’s Human Services Agency sets the food weight in pounds each shopper can take. The market’s aisles are stocked exclusively with food—no baby formula, medicine, household supplies, or alcohol are available. The Bayview Senior Services nonprofit will oversee the market operation.

A woman in a blue suit speaks into a microphone in front of a grocery store shelf while people in the foreground watch and record her with a smartphone.
Mayor London Breed speaks about her personal connection to food insecurity at the opening of the opening of District 10 Community Market in the Bayview. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

The market has been billed as a much-needed addition to the Bayview neighborhood, which the federal government classifies as a food desert—meaning most residents don’t have easy access to fresh food.

“This is not a leisure market,” Morris said, who added that the market will have both Spanish- and Cantonese-speaking staff members.

It’s also the latest effort in a recent push to bring more groceries to the neighborhood. In April, the owners of the Mi Rancho Supermarket chain said they plan to open an outpost in the neighborhood. And in 2022, Lucky Bayview opened to much fanfare.

Currently, the new market has 400 registered customers, though Morris says she expects that number to skyrocket in the coming weeks. She said her goal is to serve 6,000 residents every month eventually.

A woman and child are sitting in a store, clapping and smiling. The background shows shelves stocked with various products, including boxes and cans.
Nancy Gonzalez Pineda and her child listen to speakers during a news conference for the opening of the Bayview market. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

Morris said it was important to stock the market with healthy foods, given the surrounding community’s high rate of diabetes and other diet-related illnesses.

“We have some of the sickest people here because of poor-quality food,” she said. “Fast choice, fast food options. So we’re being very intentional about the health and welfare of our residents.”

The store will stock most of its staples from donations from stores like Lucky Bayview but purchase its fresh food directly.

“Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you don’t have class—that you don’t like presentation,” Morris said.