Making things happen is nothing new for Ionescu, a native of Romania who came to UCLA as an undergrad. She was active throughout her undergrad studies in things like "Food Not Bombs," fair-trade coffee and sweatshop-free clothing initiative. Drawing on those experiences along with lessons she’s learning in urban planning, she has faced many a hurdle in creating the farmer’s market. For instance, early on they were shoehorned into a private parking lot, then had to move when parking requirements were added. She has worked with city officials to arrange street closures each Sunday, with the county on obtaining health permits and with public transportation officials to slight redirect bus routes.
The market has attracted a good amount of traffic despite its infancy. "It’s been well received and has given the local businesses along the street more customers," she said. "It’s a cute little stretch of National – fun shops, restaurants."
Her challenge now is to keep the market flourishing despite competition from farmer’s markets in nearby areas like Mar Vista and Culver City. And also despite the overhead.
"Each week it costs over $1,000," Ionescu said. "We’re in debt with what we’ve spent. There are a lot of start-up costs. The idea is to make a profit and put it back into the market or the Motor Avenue Improvement Association. We’re looking at setting up sponsorships."
Already the market has drawn support from the offices of City Councilmember Paul Koretz, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and several local businesses.
Support from customers is coming the market’s way too.
"I really enjoy going to the Farmers Market!" enthused a customer on the market’s Facebook page
. "I walk down the alley and there it is! Can't get any better than that!"