Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Los Angeles Farmers Markets In Peril

I hope you dont mind, but today I thought I would use my blog for good.

I got this email from Nathalie, the director of the West LA Farmers Market. It seems that a city ordinance is being passed that will charge Los Angeles area farmers markets a permit fee for street closures. The cost of this will be so much that the markets themselves may not survive. If you have any questions, please email me and I will send along the full text of the email. Thanks everybody!


If you live in Los Angeles please call your city council person today or write them a letter and fax it to them before next Tuesday April 19. Tell them to exempt the farmers' markets from street closure fees and include that in the special events ordinance!


Farmers' markets are currently granted street closure permits including a waiver of all fees through council motions. Under the new ordinance, council motions would be eliminated and all certified farmers' markets that take place on L.A. City streets and parking lots would be required to pay a weekly permit fee of $528. Markets operated by nonprofit organizations can apply to have fees waived for only two weeks out of the entire year. This would still total over $26,000 in fees per year per market and would result in the closure of a majority of the affected markets. It would subsequently have a detrimental effect on food assistance programs based at farmers' markets such as the Food Stamp Program and Women, Infants & Children (WIC) and Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs. This new policy would also have regional ramifications, setting a precedent for all neighboring cities.

We are asking the City Council to recognize the importance of farmers' markets in our communities and to include additional language in the ordinance waiving all weekly permit fees for farmers’ markets.

We are asking you to help L.A. farmers' markets by writing a letter of support of farmers' markets to your local City Council person and/or all City Council members. The Council will most likely vote on this ordinance NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 19TH. Please contact your council person by MONDAY. We may also be looking for supporters to testify at the City Council Meeting next Tuesday. We will send out more details about this as they become available.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Pompea Smith
Executive Director

Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles
Operator of Hollywood Farmers' Market, Hollywood-Sears Farmers' Market, Central Avenue Farmers' Market


The USDA estimates that more than one million customers visit farmers' markets each week.

On a sunny Saturday in summer or fall, New York City's Union Square Greenmarket draws more than 100,000 customers.

In 1977 California had 4 farmers' markets. Today it has over 300.

In 1974, there were fewer than 100 farmers' markets in the nation. Now the USDA lists 2,863 farmers' markets in its most recent (2000) directory - up 68% from the 1994 directory.

The USDA farmers' market directory lists farmers' markets in every state, including 22 in Hawaii, and 10 in Nevada.

More than 20,000 farmers use farmers' markets to sell to consumers.

The average supermarket carrot travels 2,000 miles from field to table.

USDA surveys indicate that most farmers' market produce travels less than 50 miles to market

(Information from Harbor Area Farmers Markets.)

I hope this resolves! I still have yet to get myself into Farmers Market - I just don't get out of the house that early with two little ones, but I know how valuable they are to the community and I love having the OPTION of going if I want to. Around here I've heard we have nearly one in some part of the city every day.
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