For Immediate Release: 5/3/2022
LA River Farmers’ Market to Launch at LA State Historic Park
New weekly market to provide fresh locally sourced foods and community programming
California State Parks, The Los Angeles River State Park Partners, and Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) today announced the launch of the new LA River Farmers’ Market at Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP), which opens on May 26, 2022, at 3 p.m. and takes place weekly on Thursdays 3:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The LA River Farmers’ Market will be a gathering place for the diverse communities of Northeast DTLA to enjoy the products of local farmers and artisans, access social services, and celebrate the cultural heritage of the region.
Adjacent to the L.A. River, and sandwiched between Chinatown, Solano Canyon, Lincoln Heights, and Mission Junction, the park has a rich and diverse history. Local residents and all Angelenos are welcome to come together to enjoy the park and its spectacular views of downtown L.A. while supporting local and regional businesses participating in the LA River Farmers’ Market.
This Certified Farmers’ Market will be located at the South entrance to the park, near the intersection of Spring St. and College St. in the Chinatown neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, and is directly adjacent to L.A. Metro’s Chinatown Gold Line Station. The market will be accessible to neighbors and visitors by foot, bicycle, light rail, bus, and car.
“A farmers’ market was always part of the original community-led vision for this park, to bring a new source of fresh whole foods to the neighborhoods surrounding LASHP,” said Kathleen Johnson of the Los Angeles River State Park Partners. “So we hope that the new LA River Farmers’ Market will serve as a vibrant hub that can support both economic opportunity and community wellness more broadly.”
Opening day community participants and programs include:
- Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM): Calfresh Outreach: APIFM, a food and environmental nonprofit organization, will provide Calfresh and public benefits outreach in English and Chinese, connecting residents to local organizations that offer benefits enrollment.
- California State Parks / Los Angeles River State Park Partners (LARSPP): Butterfly Workshop: participants are invited to explore the vibrant and colorful world of butterflies and their vital role in our local ecosystems. Each week at the market, California State Parks will offer interpretive programming and crafts.
- Chinese American Museum (CAM): Chinese Lantern Workshop: this workshop will be an opportunity to learn about Chinese culture, history, and the meanings behind Chinese Lantern design.
- Chinatown Service Center (CSC): Social Services & Tea Ceremony: Chinatown Service Center, a multi-service organization, will host a mobile clinic that provides free community health screenings, covid vaccines, and at-home test kits, along with SNAP/CalFresh on-site enrollment and other community resources. CSC will also present a tea ceremony to celebrate the market’s grand opening.
- LA Compost: Food Scrap Collection: LA Compost will collect food scraps from community members every week to compost at nearby compost hubs. Bring your food scraps from home, support healthy soils, and join the community composting revolution.
- LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes: LA Troka: Sembrando Cultura y Nutrición (LA Truck: Sowing Culture and Nutrition) explores the interconnections between the foods we eat and their historical and cultural significance, while also teaching about the nutritional components of ancestral foods.
- Metabolic Studio: Team members from Metabolic Studio, an artistic and scientific practice adjacent to the park, will share visual materials from their work exploring self-sustaining and regenerative natural systems. Their outdoor Anabolic studio site will also be open during farmers' market hours for a walking tour.
- Now Serving: Cookbook Sale: Now Serving, a cookbook and culinary shop in Chinatown, will be selling previously owned cookbooks; proceeds will be donated back to the L.A. River Farmers’ Market’s community benefits and programs.
- Plant Paper: Toilet Paper Give-Away: PlantPaper — a tree-free, toxin-free toilet paper company — will be sharing information about their toilet paper and their mission, handing out free rolls to everyone at the LA River Farmers’ Market, and offering great discounts for first time subscribers.
- Pompea Smith Good Cooking / Buena Cocina Nutrition Education Program: Peak of Season Festival: SEE-LA’s Nutrition Education team will be celebrating berry season with delicious berry recipes and samples.
- Universal Waste Systems: Waste Separation: Zero Waste specialists from Universal Waste Systems (recycLA hauler for NELA,) will oversee source separation of recycling, compost & trash waste at the LA River Farmers Market, in compliance with SB 1383, vastly reducing the amount of material headed to landfills each week. They will also have a booth to share zero waste info with shoppers & vendors alike!
The LA River Farmers’ Market will also host entertainment such as: Lion Dancers, Plaza de la Raza’s Youth Mariachi, and a Chinese Tea Ceremony.
Vendors will include: Balkanska Magic Co., Cardenas Farms, Coldwater Canyon Provisions, Delmy’s Pupusas, El Machete, Gogoma Bakes, Gu Grocery, Kathy’s Kitchen, Fungi Valley Specialty Mushrooms, Luis Suarez Farms, Microgreen Mama, Sunrise Organic Farms, and more. To see a full list of participating vendors, please visit lariverfarmersmarket.org.
Originally Tongva land, the area around the LASHP has been home to many immigrant families, primarily from China, Vietnam, and Mexico in recent generations. Within its 32 acres of open space directly adjacent to Chinatown, park visitors can wander pathways, explore native habitats, and enjoy views of the Downtown skyline, Elysian Park and the North Broadway Viaduct.
“The LA River Farmers’ Market is a wonderful way for people to experience the park and local flavors of the community, and also enjoy our ongoing events and activities that explore the rich natural and cultural heritage of the land,” said Stephanie Campbell of California State Parks.
SEE-LA, the market operator, has 30 years experience running Certified Farmers’ Markets in Los Angeles. Their markets include: Atwater Village, Central Avenue, Crenshaw, Echo Park, and Hollywood. All of their markets, including the LA River Farmers’ Market, accept nutrition assistance programs, SNAP/CalFresh and WIC, and participate in the Market Match program that matches SNAP dollars up to $10 for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. “A community survey revealed overwhelming support for the market. We are looking forward to operating a market that reflects the local communities and maintains their support and enthusiasm,” says Dinah Madera, SEE-LA’s Manager, Farmers’ Market Operations. Other organizations such as the Chinatown Service Center will also use the market as a hub to help connect residents to social services such as Calfresh enrollment and health screenings.
The LA River Farmers’ Market is spearheaded by the LA River State Park Partners, a nonprofit support organization for the three California State Parks along the L.A. River. It is supported by a local advisory group ensuring that the new farmers’ market meets the needs of the neighborhoods it serves. Major support for the new market from the State of California was secured by Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo. Founding sponsorship has been provided by Parks California. Additional generous support has been provided by Cathay Bank Foundation, American Business Bank, and individual donors.
Los Angeles River State Park Partners is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the California State Parks adjacent to the Los Angeles River: Los Angeles State Historic Park, Rio de Los Angeles State Park, and the Bowtie Parcel. Our aim is to preserve, protect, and enhance the community, cultural, natural, and historic resources of the Parks. We do this by enriching the interpretation and education programs, supporting habitat and infrastructure improvements, and advocating on behalf of the Parks.
California State Parks and the recreational programs supported by its divisions of Boating and Waterways, Historic Preservation and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provide the opportunity for families, friends, and communities to connect. Off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating activities, horseback riding, cycling, hiking, camping, rock climbing, tours, hikes, school group enrichment, and special events are just some of the activities enjoyed in 279 park units organized into 21 field districts throughout the state.
SEE-LA is a nonprofit organization connecting people to California grown produce, promoting economic development, and building sustainable food systems. We operate the largest network of mission-driven farmers’ markets in Los Angeles as well as programs that provide nutrition education, food access, and opportunities for small regional farms and local food businesses to thrive.
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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.