DOWNTOWN — Organized and managed by the city of Santa Monica, the four Farmer’s Markets provide fresh agricultural products direct from small farms to urban customers, promoting healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.

Since their founding, they have provided a livelihood for three generations of farmers, giving them an opportunity to stay on their land.

Serving 900,000 customers each year, they have become a beloved city fixture, helping develop a sense of community among the regulars who come from near and far.

The markets are particularly popular with Los Angeles-area chefs and caterers who rely on its fresh produce as inspiration for their seasonal menus. They meet and catch up with other chefs, exchanging news, tips and ideas. Repeatedly, they cite hanging out at the market as their major and sometimes only form of socialization in their busy schedules.

Established in 1981, the Farmer’s Market turns 30 this year and is celebrating this landmark anniversary with a series of food-focused events.

The kick-off event is a huge birthday bash featuring a pig roast, beer and bluegrass this Sunday, July 31, at 2 p.m. at Craft Restaurant, 10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles. Chef de cuisine John Keenan and pastry chef Shannon Swindle will roast whole pigs along with sides and desserts and serve them family style with local beers and wines to wash it all down.

There will be live bluegrass, as well as an auction led by Peter Fetterman of Peter Fetterman Gallery in Bergamot Station. All proceeds go to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and its partner,, the nonprofit committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. there is a talk, “Robert Kenner Speaks Out, Food on Pico,” where the writer/director of the documentary “Food, Inc.” will talk about the current state of American agriculture. The $85 ticket includes a cocktail reception.

And for those who want to learn how the markets have evolved over the last 30 years, there will be a discussion with farmers, customers and friends on Aug. 11 at the Main Library, Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd. The discussion starts at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., there is a family breakfast at Santa Monica Place where guests can learn to create pastries and chorizo for Labor Day breakfast in bed. Tickets are $35 per person, and free for children under 12.

The Good Food Film Festival & Conference at the Aero Theatre offers films and conversation about food issues: how it is grown, who grows it, and how people can make the system better and more fair for producers, consumers, and the environment. Each screening includes a panel discussion with local perspectives, and the schedule is as follows:

• Wednesday, Aug. 10: Screening of “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” and a panel discussion about local bee-friendly practices including urban beekeeping, bee rescue, permaculture and biodynamic farming.

• Wednesday, Sept. 14: Screening of “The Harvest/La Cosecha,” a new documentary that provides an unvarnished view of child and migrant labor in the United States’ food system. The film will be followed by a conversation about the labor issues that are invisible to most consumers’ eyes but are critically important to any conversation about making our food system more fair and safer.

For more information on the market or to get a calendar of events, go to, or call (310) 458-8712.

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