play / 2015

Palms Sustainable Farmers Market and Urban Garden Network

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Motor Avenue Improvement Association

The Farmers Market and Urban Garden Network in Palms, one of the densest areas in L.A. instills environmental stewardship in our youth and the final bit of funding will ensure a successful completion of our network of school and community gardens. This initiative is action-oriented, builds public involvement, focuses on a root cause of our environmental/health crises, and partner’s school gardens with our farmers market and community gardens to address the lack of stable school garden programs


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Westside
  • LAUSD
  • The Urban Garden Network has six interconnected urban open space gardens: two parklets, a community garden on Motor Ave. and three local school gardens at Palms Elementary, Palms Middle School, and Overland Elementary.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Advocate with policymakers and leaders
  • In an effort to combat this serious issue that affects many marginalized communities, the Farmers’ Market provide residents with more affordable access to healthy food. The benefits of urban gardening is key in creating change and promoting healthier food

How will your proposal improve the following “Play” metrics?

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
  • Percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods
  • Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to play.

One of the proudest achievements of MAIA has been the opening of a Sunday’s Farmers Market at the corner of Motor Ave. and National Boulevard. This public outdoor neighborhood space provides our community with access to fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, crafts, nutrition edu- cation, yoga, children’s activities, live music and more.

MAIA is located in the middle of a food desert, meaning that residents have little to no access to affordable, organically grown healthy fruits and vegetables. In an effort to combat this serious issue that affects many marginalized communities, the Farmers’ Market provide residents with more affordable access to healthy food. The benefits of urban gardening is key in creating change and promoting healthier and equitable food choices, which is why the Urban Garden Network was developed as a perfect compliment to the Farmer’s Market.

Urban Garden Network: Expanding on our interest in health education, recreational open space, and community building, MAIA developed the Urban Garden Network. This expansion allows us to not only give community members access to organic and healthy produce, but also educate our participants about the benefits and joys of growing their own produce through the use of urban gardens. By having students participate in these gardens, we have the opportunity to show them that learning does not exclusively happen in the classroom and, if they engage themselves, they can learn outdoors in nature.

The Urban Garden Network has six interconnected urban open space gardens: two parklets, a community garden on Motor Ave. and three local school gardens at Palms Elementary, Palms Middle School, and Overland Elementary. With the support of local officials, corporations, foundations and dedicated community members, our gardens are bringing joy and education to Palms residents. We are also equipping the gardens with new fruit and vegetable seeds and seedlings, planter boxes, tools, decomposed granite paths, shaded teaching areas, additional seating, a secure storage sheds, designated compost areas, and expanded drip irrigation.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

In analyzing the success of our program, we will conduct pre and post tests with students on curriculum using the open space community gardens as an instructive tool as well as testing students on garden knowledge. Our intention in teaching multiple subjects via gardening is to increase the engagement and enthusiasm for knowledge that aids in data retention. Analysis will include comparing exam scores with those of previous years before the gardens were implemented. Objectives are also measured in terms of numbers and ages of participants, both at schools and at community garden plots. And lastly, we measure the production levels and quality of produce, just like any other farm.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)