It’s been a long time coming. There have been fits and starts for years, but this time the Inglewood Certified Farmers’ Market is a reality.
Mark your calendar and get your re-usable shopping bags ready. The Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) will be operating a Farmer's Market for 4 days, through an ordinance in the City of Inglewood, according to Mayor James Butts.
The first ever Farmers’ Market will launch on Thursday, September 17, 3 to 7pm, on Market Street between Manchester and Nutwood. Future markets will be held every third Thursday of the month. The remaining dates for this year are October 15, November 19 and December 17.
“We welcome and embrace what should be a plus for the City and downtown. The permanent assignment of a weekly or monthly Farmers’ Market will go out to RFP within 6 months. We expect a very robust competition. SJLI has the opportunity to show what they can bring to the table,” Mayor Butts said.
Market Street was selected as the area for the Inglewood Certified Farmers’ Market to support the latest revitalization efforts of the Inglewood Business Expansion Club in support of downtown Inglewood businesses.
“The Farmers’ Market, and events like it, bring more consumers to our area so we can serve them as they learn who we are and what we do. Many of our businesses are a part of the Inglewood identity, and we are excited to re-introduce ourselves to our fellow residents,” shared Laverne Smith, owner of Little Belize Restaurant and an Inglewood Business Expansion Club member.
There will be 12 certified produce vendors, artisanal food vendors, hot and prepared foods as well as cooking demonstrations and nutrition information. WIC and EBT will be accepted and CalFresh doubled up to $10 with Market Match. Adding to the festivities, you will be able to view and purchase the work of local artists and crafters and enjoy live music.
Until now, the closest Farmers’ Markets to Inglewood have been at least 2-3 miles away in any direction. This market will bring our city another healthy option for food.
A survey done in 2013 compared Inglewood to Santa Monica with regard to unhealthy and healthy food options. Here’s the breakdown:
Inglewood had 130 fast food restaurants and 126 liquor and other corner stores compared to Santa Monica with 31 and 48 respectively. Dismal to be sure, but the numbers aren’t any better for the healthy food options. Inglewood has only 8 grocery stores and no Farmers’ Markets while Santa Monica has 40+ grocery stores and 4 Farmers’ Markets.
To really put this survey into perspective, the Inglewood population at the time of the 2013 survey was 111,542 and Santa Monica had 92,472 residents. That’s about 19,000 fewer residents and more than 32 more grocery stores from which to choose.
Another relevant statistic is the 2007 survey by Community Action on Food Environments: Only 2% of food-related businesses (of approximately 1,400) in Central and South Los Angeles are full–service grocery stores. There are no stats on Inglewood specifically, but we are inundated with fast food restaurants and convenience stores, so surely we must be on par.
Couple this with the staggering statistic from Let’s Move.org: Nearly 1 in 3 children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. It’s hard to find healthy and nutritious food for the family when there are few grocery stores close by and fast food is practically just outside the front door. It’s easier to choose the fast food option, but we – adults and children – are paying the price with our health. Heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure all have a direct relation to diet.
First Lady Michelle Obama said it best:
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation is at stake . . . but with everyone working together, it can be solved. So, let’s move.”
Come support this long awaited Farmers’ Market on the third Thursday of each month. I’m already looking forward to finding wonderful vegetables for Thanksgiving at the November Market.
Parking is available in the Locust Street structure (just north of Manchester), in the lot on Nutwood between Market and Locust Streets, on Market north of Manchester and south of Nutwood, as well as on adjacent streets.
The Farmers’ Market is sponsored by Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI), Kaiser Permanente, Market Match, Champions for Change, Inglewood Business Expansion Club (IBEC), and SoCal Gas.
The Social Justice Learning Institute is dedicated to improving the education, health, and well being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training and community mobilization. Founded in 2008, SJLI has grown to serve more than 12,500 residents through LA County and envisions communities where individuals use their agency to improve each other’s lives.