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Farmers' markets are healthy for economy

September 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first farmers' market on Thursday. During its celebration, the mayor announced that shopping at local produce markets was not only a healthy choice, but an economic one as well. "We may have moved to the city but we still want to eat like we live on the farm," said Evan Kleiman, Owner of Angeli Caffe.

With today's popularity of farmers' markets, it's hard to believe that thirty years ago there was only one. Yet today in L.A., you'll find 120 markets each week. That's more than any other city or county in America.

"Instead of shipping their harvest off to distant markets around the globe or selling their farms to big companies, local farmers support themselves by growing produce organically with sustainable practices," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The mayor along with farmers and restaurant owners celebrated the 30th anniversary of the farmers' markets at a rally held at City Hall.

The mayor announced a new initiative to help even the poorest areas in L.A. to get access to farmers' market fresh food, which not only helps consumers, but the local economy as well.

"For every dollar spent at the farmers' market, 45 cents is redirected the local economy," said Mayor Villaraigsoa.

A task force partnering Occidental College and LA Conservation Corp will lead the six month effort to ensure all residents have access to fresh local produce, along with the Good Food Movement spear headed by restaurant owners.

"By signing this pledge, all of us declare our commitment to the growing Good Food Movement and we will continue to buy and serve locally grown food in our restaurants and pledge to increase it as much as possible," said Kleiman.

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