Westwood Farmer’s Market Buys the Farm

(Via LA Observed) After having over five years notice to find a new location, the last Westwood Village Farmer’s Market will be held today due to impending construction on the site at Glendon and Weyburn Ave.

The UCLA Daily Bruin reports:

The Los Angeles Fire Department determined the area to be unsafe for public use due to nearby construction in the coming weeks for the Palazzo Westwood, a mixed-use complex with apartments and retail spaces…

In actuality, developments in the area have been ongoing for close to ten years, resulting in the closure of the Mann Plaza theatre, the Moustache Cafe, among other businesses and even a Glendon apartment complex who’s residents were forced to vacate years ago. It would seem that the Farmer’s Market has had ample time to relocate somewhere else in the Village… however, resistance from area businesses may be partly to blame.

When the Market first appeared in Westwood local business owners were assured it would only be selling privately grown produce from local farmers. In short, the Market was intended to supplement, not compete with, existing Westwood businesses. This promise was broken soon thereafter when the Market managers changed hands, and food, flower and crafts vendors moved in.

For the florists, this was a detriment. The flower vendors at the market were purchasing their product from the same wholesalers as the businesses bought from, but could sell them at close to cost without any worry of overhead. After the market moved in, more than three local flower shops closed their doors, including Bel Air Florist which had been around since 1934. My former employer, Westwood Flower Garden ended up moving over to Gayley – even three blocks away their walk in business in notably less on market Thursdays.

Instead of bringing additional revenue to existing businesses within Westwood Village, the Market has generated weekly gridlock due to the road closures and increased traffic, plus limited parking for other businesses in the area.

One option, to relocate the market to Broxton Avenue (which I had once understood was designed expressly to be a home for the market) was curtailed in part by resistance from craft stores and restaurants already there, but even more so by the protests of Mann Village Theatre at the North end of Broxton, as most of the movie premieres hosted there also occur on Thursdays.

Unfortunately, in spite of the problems the Westwood Farmers Market has become part of the character of Westwood Village. For the students of UCLA, local residents, and (ironically) the local business employees that shop there, it will be sorely missed.

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One Reply to “Westwood Farmer’s Market Buys the Farm”

  1. David:

    Thanks for the thoughtful and insight filled post, and for linking to both LA Observed and The Daily Bruin.

    While some regretfully scoff at campus papers, the Bruin’s staff offered a well-balanced article with relevant historical and community perspective.

    …and lest someone think otherwise, please know that the men and women of the Fire Department enjoy farmer’s markets – *almost* as much as we obsess over the safety of those we proudly serve.

    In fact, I’ve ended my LAFD work shift and am on my way to a roadside produce stand for a flat of fresh Oxnard strawberries. Mmmmmmm.

    Stay Safe and Be Well,

    Brian

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