Hollywood Farmers Market: Update, Fundraiser + Possible Relocation

The disputed half of the Hollywood Farmers Market, south of Selma on Ivar.
The disputed half of the Hollywood Farmers Market, south of Selma on Ivar.
Felicia Friesema

On Monday, Councilmember Eric Garcetti and SEE-LA Chairman Michael Woo announced that the Hollywood Farmers Market would get another extension on their street closure permit to nail down exactly what's going to be done. To quote their statement:

"We believe that, after three months of discussion, we have made progress toward a long-term resolution of the issues that have been raised about the location of the Hollywood Farmers' Market. We are pleased that the Los Angeles Board of Public Works has agreed to extend the Hollywood Farmers' Market street closure permit until May 17 to give us additional time to find the solution that best meets the market's needs. We remain committed to keeping the Hollywood Farmers' Market thriving in Hollywood with the market's anchor at the Selma/Ivar intersection and without any new financial burden on the market."

A joint statement between Woo and Garcetti isn't new. They did it back when the first extension was granted. What is new is the consideration of "financial burden" on the market. This whole process has cost SEE-LA some money (legal consultation, architectural work), and if they have to move or change the market's footprint (a likely outcome given the above statement), that will be, yes, more money. So chef Paul Osher of Bean & Thyme and chef Jessica Koslow of SQIRL are holding a special fundraising dinner Friday, April 29th at Farmer's Kitchen to benefit the Market Preservation Fund.

Osher is planning a small plates menu featuring -- of course -- farmers market-driven cuisine. Preliminary dishes include house-made beef cheek pastrami and chicken wing confit. Koslow, who recently launched her new preserves empire, SQIRL, will be in charge of desserts. The Farmer's Kitchen, headed by chef Ernest Miller, will provide appetizers and seasonal mocktails. And what non-profit fundraiser is complete without a silent auction? The cost is $75 at the door but you need to register online.

Where is the Los Angeles Film School (LAFS) in all of this? It was their initial rejection of the street permit for the Hollywood Farmers Market that spurred Eric Garcetti's involvement in the first place.

It turns out they weren't invited to the closed door meeting on Monday. "We were just asked not to be there," said Albert Villalta, LAFS's Vice President of Marketing. But he added that the school wasn't bothered by this and is happy that the process is moving forward.

"We are optimistic and excited that there is progress being made," said Villalta. "It looks like we're finally getting the market adjusted to adjacent streets. That's what the proposal on the table is. It's a win-win for everyone. The market gets a bigger footprint, and easier and safer access for everybody."

And the school gets Sunday access to their rooftop parking lot, which has been their singular goal all along. It's presumed that the next month will be peppered with discussions and logistical planning to help reposition the market. In the meantime, the school is looking to the future. When asked if LAFS would consider partnering with SEE-LA on future projects down the road, a sustainable food film fest perhaps, Villalta sounded hopeful.

"Hopefully there will be some sort of partnership in the future. We'd love to see a long term side by side partnership with them. It only makes sense for everyone involved."

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