Permit issue threatens H'wood farmers market

HOLLYWOOD Thousands of people spend their Sundays picking up fresh produce at the Hollywood farmers market. It's been a weekly routine for some shoppers for 19 years.

They come for the locally grown food and the atmosphere that you can't find under fluorescent lights.

But now a permitting issue may prevent more than half of the 150 vendors from setting up shop on Ivar next week.

Shoppers are signing petitions to keep the market on Selma and Ivar. But Sustainable Economic Enterprises of L.A. (SEE-LA), the non-profit group that runs the Hollywood farmers market, needs the support of at least half the businesses and residents in the neighborhood. SEE-LA says the L.A. Film School on the corner of Ivar and Sunset is opposed.

The school's second parking ramp is blocked on Sundays for nine hours.

"They feel very strongly that they have the right to access their property any time," said Pompea Smith, manager of the Hollywood farmers market.

"This is a great resource and it would be a deep shame to have it cut in half over an issue like this," said Hollywood resident Rodney Charters.

Many of the farmers at the Hollywood location sell at other smaller markets during the week. But Sundays in Hollywood, they make the most money.

Adam Smith of Beylick Farms makes between $1,000 and $2,500 on Sundays. If he can't sell vegetables in Hollywood, he'll lose income and longtime customers.

"To think about losing all these people, not to mention the individual personal relationships that you've built with families that have been coming here for years," said Smith.

For now, shoppers and the farmers they support hope their solidarity prevails and Ivar Ave. will be lined with tents for many more Sundays to come.

Eyewitness News calls to the L.A. Film School were not returned Sunday.

The farmers market is set to meet with city officials Monday.

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