connect / 2014

Farmers Market- Public Space Usage Plan

Farmers Market- Public Space Usage Plan

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Fox Hills Ladera Healthy Family Association Inc.

Returning to its roots, our project involves using farmers markets (Open marketplaces) as public spaces for civic and social engagement.


Please describe yourself.

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

Returning to its roots, our project involves using farmers markets (Open marketplaces) as public spaces for civic and social engagement.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

Angelenos have long standing reputation of being disconnected from each other, (not knowing your nextdoor neighbor) our project involves taking farmers markets to their roots; once known as Agoras in Ancient Greece, and present throughout the globe and in every culture. Today, these public spaces have largely lost the cultural and social significant role they played in developing society, cultivating community and establish social norms especially in major cities such as Los Angeles at a time when technology is increasingly replacing real human interaction. Our project will host open public philosophical inquiry to collectively help educate and develop critical thinking skills of angelenos of all ages, races, and cultural backrounds.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

Our model is using Farmers Markets as public spaces to socially engage Angelenos at a time when real human interaction is becoming more and more rare, the need for public spaces to promote healthy lifestyles, preserve and cultivate humanity, nurture community and teach consideration of others; we believe is paramount.

Personal connections; we believe is the most powerful force in humanity, it can be as simple as a smile, making a new friend on the first day of school, a great conversation or an instant shared in the company of strangers, moments that pass in seconds but stay with us forever, and help us to feel that we are not alone. For youth as well as adults these are the building blocks to the rest of their lives, providing a sense of security, and a since of value, and an identity that we all can connect with and feel a part of. This is what community should be, FHL helps cultivate community by developing farmers market public spaces from unused and underused public and private lands and repurposes them to create market spaces that operate around the concept of healthy eating, active living, and social engagement.

For social engagement, we incorporate the concept of using dialectical discourse to coordinate facilitated thoughtful discussions with the aim of harnessing the collective wisdom and knowledge of everyday people to confront important questions and issues facing society, and seek a collective resolve or create a better understanding of the problem.

We will implement pilot programs in challenged market areas, markets facing largely minority low to middle income communities in Service Plan Areas 6 & 8 (SPA 6 & SPA8).

We will enlist the help of local and national scholars to assist in facilitating discussions in the method of Dialectic Discourse.

We will also enlist the support of local government officials, the business community, artist and professionals to generate a collaborative effort to harness social capital.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CONNECT today? In 2050?

Our project will make los Angeles a more open, connected and understanding city that grows through its wealth of diversity when more people are given a voice and their knowledge and experiences are shared. The process of dialogue and the space of human interaction are good for us as individuals and essential for us as a society. For youth who will be the adults, professionals, and policy makers in 2050 it will inspire curiosity and wonder, nurture self-discovery, openness, empathy.

Whom will your project benefit?

Our project will benefits Angelenos of all ages, races, cultures and backgrounds.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Christopher Phillips- Scholar, Author Educator, founder of Socrates Cafe. (Confirmed)

We will seek support for local government officials, local businesses, artist and other local stakeholders to create a collaborative effort.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Connect” metrics?

  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Number of public transit riders
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at public/open street gatherings (Dream Metric)
  • Residential segregation (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

Social engagement has been proven to contribute to community health and sense of personal value and purpose. Public spaces with value added benefits such as social engagement will promote participation, volunteerism, public transportation usage to access venues as well as civic engagement and volunteerism.

Successful social engagement will create a more integrated community.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Our project will be evaluated through monitoring increased attendance at markets.

Participation in public discourse.

Surveys and polling.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

By hosting farmers Markets over the past 3 years we have learned that they provide a valuable space for other forms of outreach. We have also learned that social interaction and engagement is the second biggest draw to farmers markets behind access to produce.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We have conducted extensive research on this project for over the past three years and determined that it is entirely feasible to be conducted as a pilot in the course of a market season.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

Major barriers to success include attaining the level of community buy-in to be successful to deliver the desired community benefit.

The second major barrier is being underfunded.

Grants and special programs such as the LA2050 go far in allowing us the financial resources to implement the necessary marketing, developing infrastructure, and coordinating the logistics of hosting an event at the desired scale and to achieve buy-in in communities that lack a culture of civic and social engagement.

We will utilize funding to infuse value added benefits to encourage patronage and begin discussions on fun and softer topics until the public becomes familiar with the concept before going on to more challenging topics.

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach