Farmers market organizers may have an easier time setting up shop in residential and commercial areas if a new ordinance is passed by L.A.'s City Council.
If the plan is approved, markets could be set up in any area of a residential neighborhood, and approval for commercial-area markets would no longer go through public hearings. Current regulations only allow organizers to set up residential farmers markets in parking lots belonging to a school, church or “philanthropic entity.”
Passing the ordinance will hopefully give residents more exposure and access to locally-grown, healthy goods. Los Angeles County currently charges $408 per year for a market with at least 15 vendors. But with the new regulations in the works, who knows, we might see homeowners selling goods right out of their front yards, especially since a recent law already allows homeowners to grow crops on their property (via NBC Los Angeles).
The move toward this change in permit systems came when the city fined a residential farmers market in Mid City for setting up in a parking lot — a church parking lot. City Councilman Herb Wesson took note and began advocating for a protocol update.
Some community members have expressed concern over possible changes, though. “While we recognize the benefit of providing more outlets for fresh food in under-served communities, we are very concerned about weakening long-standing protections for residential neighborhoods city-wide,” the Pacific Palisades Community Council wrote to the city's Land Use Committee.
No word yet on when City Council will vote on the ordinance.