What Do We Really Know About Farmers Markets?

Task force to examine LA's food policy

Concord Clean up Michael Page 1
Michael Page

Give the people what they want, and what they want is locally grown fresh produce, said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday.

The mayor has big ambitions for the city. He wants LA to become "the farmers' market capital of the world."

So to earn the title, the mayor is building a food policy task force.

To be fair, we don't really need to earn the title. Technically, we're defending it. The city and county of Los Angeles already have the most weekly farmers' markets in the country -- 120 -- serving about 250,000 people, officials said.

The task force consists of 12 members and will be paid for with federal stimulus dollars, Villaraigosa said.

The group will spend 6 months researching and developing policy on:

  • Food retail and marketing issues
  • Urban agriculture and community gardens
  • Emergency food networks
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Water use and pesticide use
  • Food waste
  • School feeding and nutrition education programs.

Villaraigosa said that for every dollar spent at a farmers' market, 45 cents is redirected to the local economy.

"When the first lady of the United States is planting vegetables in the White House backyard, and when the president of the United States is calling for a farmers' market on the front lawn, you know that the demand for locally grown fresh produce has hit the highest levels," he said.

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