Los Angeles

Action Alert: L.A. Farmers Markets in Jeopardy

Pompea Smith, Executive Director of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (the operator of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, Hollywood-Sears Farmers’ Market, and Central Avenue Farmers’ Market) has alerted us to this troubling development. THE MARKETS NEED OUR HELP: Please continue reading and contact your City Council representative this week. Also, please circulate this notice.

Thank you for your support on the L.A. City Special Events Ordinance last June where we successfully appealed to the Budget & Finance Committee of the City Council to recommend a waiver of all fees and charges for certified farmers’ markets. Unfortunately, this issue still has not been completely resolved. The Ordinance was recently returned to the Budget & Finance Committee from the City Attorney’s Office and has been passed on to the full Council without the recommended changes.

Farmers’ markets are currently granted street closure permits including a waiver of all fees through council motions. Under this 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 Councilmembers.  Attached is a sample letter for your use as well as contact information for all Council Districts.  [Please click on the links to download Word documents.]

The Council will most likely vote on this ordinance NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 19TH. Please contact your council person by MONDAY (April 18). 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.