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Santa Monica Farmers Market turns 30; giant party planned

August 8, 2011 | 12:31 pm


The Santa Monica Farmers Market is a giant among its peers, with its huge assortment of vendors and its reputation as the place to spot interesting produce and famous chefs. It should not be a surprise that it intends to celebrate its 30th birthday in a giant way, with a five-day festival and conference on Sept. 14-18.

The idea is to show off the food and its growers, and to talk about regional and national food and farming issues in a series of panels and speeches. There will be a street fair too. The market has four sites, two on Saturday, one on Sunday and the largest one, on Wednesdays.

The Good Food Festival & Conference is organized by FamilyFarmed.org, a Chicago-based organization that works to expand the production and distribution of locally grown food and raise issues related to it.

The event will include workshops and panels on food policy, school food, hunger, the environment, farming and organic food. There will be demonstrations on growing a butterfly garden, food perservation, beekeeping and composting. Speakers include the farmers who sell the produce at the markets; chefs who cook their food; and others, including the chief executive of Chipotle, Steve Ells; food activist and grower Will Allen; and L.A.'s senior advisor on food policy, Paula Daniels.

There's so much going on, it's not contained in the Good Food Festival & Conference. On Aug. 27 at Santa Monica Place,  chefs will make jams, pastries and other foods. And on Sept. 8, the director of "Food, Inc.," Robert Kenner, and Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farms will lead a conversation at Food Restaurant, near Rancho Park. There's also a film series.

An art exhibit of farm scenes from the L.A. area will be on display at Santa Monica High School. The art was created in the 1930s, as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. For more info, go to www.goodfoodfestivals.com.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo of Santa Monica Farmers Market by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times