Friday, December 19, 2008

Original Farmers

I came upon this article just now on the LAT website that mentions the Los Angeles Farmers Market's recent efforts to increase the number of farmers who sell produce at this beloved FM. For those of your who don't know, the LA Farmer's Market, like most everything else that goes on around here, is kind of a farmers market in name only. It's first and foremost a place to get lunch, secondly, a stepping stone between the parking lot and The Grove shopping center, thirdly, a place to get Pinkberry and last, but not least, a place to buy groceries and specialty foods.Maybe that indictment of the LAFM is a bit too scathing, but, to quote the LAT article,

"It’s been about eight years since a farmer sold his produce at Farmers Market, a spokeswoman said."

That's kind of a startling fact. While I appreciate the ability of the LAFM to be a legitimate place for social and community interaction, the fact that it is not first and foremost an actual farmers market is really disheartening, especially in a city like Los Angeles that is not only within extreme proximity to good food, but has the population levels to sustain widespread participation in innovative and healthy systems of food growth and distribution. This city, with its endless square miles of underutilized suburban roofs and freeway medians/on ramps has the capacity, ability, and even, willingness to grow much if not all of the food it consumes. Not only that, but with that same vastness comes an opportunity to create a multitude of localized, community-organized and opperated gardens and farmers markets.
Not only that, but it's a situation that can be repeated all across this country. Cities used to have these sorts of farmers markets and corner grocers all over the place, no? What changed was that the prime farmland that was once used to grow all the food sold in the city has now been plowed over by the wheels and gears of the suburbs. Well, maybe it's time to reclaim those farmlands and reap the suburbs for what they're worth.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

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