4/17 “Food, Social Enterprise & Policy Change” Resources + Event Highlights

Want to get familiar with current and pending food policy in the City of LA? Check out a briefer below for an overview of the local food policy landscape as well as local food enterprise resources. Check out a recap of our April Network event at the Hub LA.

AprilNetwork_FoodSocialEnterprisev3Food Policy & Innovation Resources

Recently Adopted State & Local Policies with Entrepreneurship Potential

  • Good Food Purchasing Policy: In 2012, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District adopted the LA Food Policy Council’s Good Food Procurement Policy to dedicate a percentage of food purchases to sustainable, local, fair, humane and healthy food. The policy directs millions of dollars on food purchases toward Los Angeles’s food producers and distributors. The policy creates favorable market conditions for a Food Hub enterprise.
  • California Cottage Food Act: Allows certified operators to produce certain food from their home kitchens and sell it to the public.
  • Food & Flowers Freedom Act
  • Are there others?

Pending Policies with Entrepreneurship Potential (and status)

  • Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones (AB-551): Local adoption of AB 551 “Urban Ag Incentive Zones” – would give property tax breaks for urban agriculture (early policy development stage).
  • Discounted Water Rate for Food Growing:  Asks the Department of Water and Power to report on the feasibility of expanding the discounted water rate for local food growing (motion introduced, policy development phase).
  • Rooftop Gardens: Would provide incentives to developers to include rooftop gardens (motion introduced, policy development phase).
  • Beekeeping : Would allow residents to keep bees in R1 residential zones (motion adopted, awaiting report back).
  • Community Gardens on Public Lands: Inventory & assessment of underutilized public lands for food growing (passed, implementation phase).
  • Street Food Vending : would create business license for street food vendors (motion introduced, policy development stage).
  • Community Market Conversion Program: Began in 2011 at the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of L.A., this program brings financial and technical assistance to small markets in low-income neighborhoods to help them grow as healthy food businesses. A motion introduced last year investigates alternative ways to fund this program. To continue the work, the LA Food Policy Council coordinates a resource network called the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, which offers business and leadership trainings to neighborhood markets across L.A. County.
  • Food Waste and Composting: City of LA is currently updating their waste plan for the next twenty years. They recently passed an ordinance that would eventually require all commercial and multifamily residences to have a green bin for organics recycling.

Food Innovation Resources – A non-exhaustive list of resources available to support social entrepreneurship in the food sector

  • Los Angeles Food Policy Council
    • Healthy Neighborhood Market Network: builds the capacity of small and mid-size neighborhood markets to operate as healthy food retailers in communities of need. Offers quarterly business and leadership development trainings in Spanish and Korean, and connections to resource providers. Contact Esther Park at epark[at]goodfoodla[dot]org
    • Healthy Food Retail Working Group: utilizes policy, economic development and community organizing tools to ensure that every community enjoys nutritious, affordable, safe, culturally meaningful, and delicious food. Contact Esther Park at epark[at]goodfoodla[dot]org
  • LA County Department of Public Health – Environmental Health Division
  • California Freshworks Fund: A $270 million dollar state-wide loan fund to expand food retail operations in under-served communities. Initiated by the California Endowment in partnership with numerous large lenders and managed by NCB Capital Impact and Emerging Markets, this fund offers flexible financing to standard and innovative food operators who are willing to open shop and provide healthy food in low-income neighborhoods.
  • LURN (Leadership for Urban Renewal Network): A community development non-profit that recently launched The (Re)store Fund, an equity fund to support micro-entrepreneurs in low-income communities.
  • KivaZip: provides 0% crowdfunded loans to microentrepreneurs through community “trustees,” including the LA Food Policy Council.

 Spotlight on a Few LA-based Social Enterprise Leaders in the Food Sector.

  • L.A. Kitchen: Based off the multi-million dollar social enterprise DC Kitchen, LA Kitchen is a new social enterprise that will collect surplus produce from regional farmers, prepare wholesome meals for marginalized population with a focus on seniors, and train and hire people with barriers to employment.
  • Manifesto Café (Hub LA Member): a social enterprise market and café located in Hermon, a city in Northeastern Los Angeles that serves healthy products. Seeking to expand to other areas, including Skid Row.
  • Beanfields Snacks (Hub LA Member): a social enterprise that produces Non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, vegan and food-allergy friendly bean-based snack products.
  • L.A. Compost: a social enterprise that trains youth to be environmental leaders in their community by collecting green waste from neighborhoods and producing high-quality hyper-local compost for sale.