Farmers Market or Food Hub?

The journey continues with further research into specific food hubs. The Food hub I focused on is the Santa Monica Farmers Markets.

The farmers markets were established in 1981 after a legislative act was passed that allowed California farmers to sell their own produce directly to consumers at locations designated by the Department of Agriculture. This was a giant step towards improving food quality, education, and consumer knowledge. It shortened the length of transportation necessary to distribute produce, which in turn kept the produce fresh. It also increased the public’s knowledge of where their food was coming from, how it was grown, and how they can improve their nutrition while simultaneously supporting local farmers.

The first farmers market in Santa Monica was established with the goals to provide reasonably priced, high quality produce to the city's population while bringing more foot traffic into Santa Monica's downtown area and increase its livelihood. This farmers market began to be known as the Wednesday Farmers Market and was wildly successful, so successful in fact, it inspired other areas in Santa Monica to create their own farmers markets.

There are four farmers markets in total and they were all established for different reasons and focus on different goals. The next farmers market established after the Wednesday Farmers Market was the Pico Farmers Market. This farmers market started in 1982 by local churches and neighborhood groups looking to strengthen their community. This market offers unique programs like free cooking classes, a non-profit center for community and family services, a kitchen located nearby, and it's a pick-up site for Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Salad Bar program. This farmers market is has helped and is continuing to help improve the nutritional education of the community and more importantly, the children of the community. These educational programs will help them lead create healthy habits that continue into adulthood and inspire their parents and adults around them to do the same.

The next farmers market established was the Saturday Downtown Market, also known as the Organic Market. This market was begun in 1991 after the passage of California’s Organic Food Act of 1990. This market focuses mostly on the nutritional aspects of food and is populated by healthy eaters. People that attend this farmers market are eager for fresh produce and determined to lead healthy, organic lives.

The most recent farmers market to be established is the Sunday Market. This market was developed in 1995 in collaboration with the local business district. This market was formed on the basis of community support and local business interest. It offers unique programs like food booths, retail businesses from the local district, live music, arts and crafts, and children’s activities. This farmers market revitalized the local business scene and brings consumers of all types into the heart of retail and community interaction.

All four of the Santa Monica Farmers Markets are hugely successful and founded on the main ideas of a food hub. They bring people into local areas, promote local farms and production, educate the community on nutrition and food quality, and sell high quality food at an affordable price. Each market has a different focus and reason for being but they all work towards those common goals. 

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