Tag Archives: hollywood farmers market

Hollywood Farmers Market Fate Remains a Question Mark

The fate of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market at Selma and Ivar is still one big question mark, as aptly symbolized by the market’s homepage.  As you recall, the market is in a turf war with the LA Film School: the school specifically wants the market off of the Ivar section between Selma and Sunset so it can access one of its three disconnected parking structures on Sundays; the market says doing so will unacceptably chop off one of its vital arms.  Until now, the market was operating on a week-to-week basis, but, after something akin to a summit between all interested parties on Thursday, the city “verbally committed” to giving SEE-LA (the non-profit arm that operates the market) a 90-day extension on its street closure permit.  Accordingly, the market can continue to operate as-is for the next three months.  During this reprieve, both sides will do their homework: SEE-LA will “work with the Department of Transportation to research alternative market layouts on adjacent streets, […] and could present the opportunity for the market to expand” while the film school “will consider construction options to connect its parking structures and provide access to their facilities 24/7.”

As it turns out, there are others outside the film school interested in seeing the market move from its current location at Selma and Ivar.  During a KCRW discussion on the dispute, Hollywood Property Owners Alliance president Kerry Morrison pointed out that the farmers’ market moved into Hollywood some 20 years ago when there was not a whole lot going on in the area.  Now, the “renaissance of Hollywood has breathed life into different pockets” of the area, including the market’s current location.  “How long can this market continue to survive in a economically vital area?”  she asked.  She then suggested that the market move to, uh, help? bring about a renaissance in other parts of Hollywood:  “[T]here are pockets of Hollywood that would benefit, and could really thrive, with the revitalization of having vendors and pedestrians and just life on a Sunday morning.”  This brings up the question of what, exactly, is the role of a farmers’ market in our community, and whether we all should invest in the idea of a nomadic market, one that moves every few years once its function as an ad hoc gentrifier is completed.

After talking about the market’s role in revitalizing the Hollywood area, she noted (as the film school has, in other outlets) that the school invested some $65 million in Hollywood.  This is something I suppose we to feel very grateful for, so let’s all thank the film school.  Now, if this post were a script, that statement would be followed by a bracketed direction right about here:

[A BEAT, THEN AN EYEROLL]

Other interesting tidbits from the discussion: the Jack-in-the Box at Ivar and Sunset also is against the market’s permit renewal.  Unless it really does work something reasonable out, then, the city is in a tricky position of restricting fast food restaurants in South LA with the intent to force feed residents market fresh food on one hand, and having to accomodate a fast food restaurant’s demands to shut down a source of market fresh food on the other.

After all this fear and protest about the market as we know it being shut down or truncated, wouldn’t it be a little ironic if this whole situation actually gave the market a chance to expand, with the inclusion of more vendors and the ability to accommodate more people, as Morrison suggested, and as SEE-LA referenced in its announcement?   Market supporters were close to throwing heirloom tomatoes at the film school for its terrible performance in handling this situation; nonetheless, if we do end up with a bigger, better market, well, it will be school that we’ll have to credit.  Better hold on to those tomatoes, for now.

Update on the Hollywood Farmers’ Market Closure

More on the fast-approaching closure of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, or at least part of it: per KTLA, the issue really is a turf war.  Which is horrible: I would like to think that if a major farmers’ market like the Hollywood one were to shut down, it would be for a better reason than parking.  C’mon, parking, really?  The LA Film School wants access to its parking lot on Ivar (between Sunset and Selma – a huge chunk of the market), which is blocked every Sunday for 9 hours by the market.  Accordingly, it asked the city to deny the markets’ permit renewal to operate on the street.  The market as we know it has been operating at Selma and Ivar for 20 years; according to SEE-LA, the non-profit that runs the market, up to 10,000 people shop at the market every week.

Apparently, very few decisionmakers at the film school shop at the market and realize what a gem it is.  Or, they don’t really care either way.  According to a school official who spoke to LA Weekly: ​”The school has seen incredible growth,” Ibrahim says. “And the weekends are big. Students don’t have class on those days, but they use those labs for their projects … and you’ve got to include visitors on those days.”

…right.  According to SEE-LA, “If the City follows through, most of the Sunday market vendors on Ivar Avenue between Selma Ave. and Sunset Blvd. – about 1/2 of the farmers – could be denied space to operate, or may be shifted to a new, not-yet-determined location less convenient or less safe than their current placement.”  Both SEE-LA and KTLA note a domino effect for other markets in the area if the Hollywood one is forced to shut down.  Many of the vendors make the most income at Hollywood; “with the loss of that income, 7 other smaller farmers’ markets in low income areas like Watts, Crenshaw, South Central, Echo Park, East Hollywood and Atwater Village that are supported by the Hollywood Farmers’ Market could also be forced to close.”  The repercussions, then, reach far beyond just Hollywood.

The LA Film School started in 1999, and one can make a reasonable argument that the school is an important part of the community as well.  That’s just to be fair.  After all, as the official in the LA Weekly story pointed out, the school has a student enrollment of some 1,500 — a fraction of whom, I’ll add, would like to have parking access on Sundays.  Starting at 8am.  So, given the balance of justice here, you’d think there would be some sort of utilitarian argument in favor of allowing the market to operate as it does, once a week, on Sundays. Or, you’d think there would be something about how possession-is-nine-tenths-of-the-law working in the market’s favor, because they were there before the film school.  Alas, I guess they don’t teach the tenets of John Stuart Mill in film school.

On Sunday, market volunteers gathered over 3,400 signatures to object to the closure (this would be over two times the number of students enrolled at the film school), and another petition drive will circulate if necessary.  Councilman Eric Garcetti also is intent on keeping on the market alive as is; as he tweeted this evening, “We love HFM and have worked way too hard to support it financially and with city help. Working hard to resolve legal issues. Thx!”  For now, the market will operate as it does for the next month as the permit issues are ironed out.  Ideally, during this month, more and more people will knock some reason into the film school’s classrooms.

To stay updated on the fate of the market, email your contact information to info [at]  farmernet [dot] com.  And, you can like, really, really like a Facebook page that popped up overnight to support the market here.  I can almost guarantee you that will be a billion times more effective than changing your profile picture to somehow raise child abuse awareness.

“Souper Mix” photo by Lucyrk in LA via the Blogging LA Flickr pool.