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LA2050 Connect: Top 5 Reasons to vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network

 

The Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, a project of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, has entered a bid for $100,000 in the LA2050 Grant Challenge, a voting-based competition hosted by the Goldhirsh Foundation to spur creative thinking and seed new projects in LA. We’re competing in the “CONNECT” category, because the HNMN creates a place where food businesses can connect with each other across languages and find new partners in business, leadership development, community outreach, and government/public policy—all in the name of becoming healthier! The LA2050 grant will help us grow this network from 200 trained stores to 400 (!), and fund us to continue supporting  food enterprises in low-income neighborhoods that strengthen the food equity movement.

Here’s a link to our page on the grant contest website –
http://myla2050connect.maker.good.is/projects/goodfoodla

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Here are the “Top 5 Reasons to vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network,” an article co-written by storeowners, community leaders and policy advocates about what your vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network in the LA2050 CONNECT category will do for food entrepreneurs in LA.

1. Grow Good Food Business. HNMN builds the capacity of small businesses in low-income communities to do good and thrive. 

IMG_2235Family-owned neighborhood markets are such important resources in so many LA communities (there are over 3,000 in LA County!), but there aren’t many resources and support networks designed just for these small business entrepreneurs in their own languages.

What we do –

  • HNMN offers a multi-language, cutting-edge business training curriculum
  • connects HNMN members to the LA Food Policy Council network of 500 food system stakeholders, food industry professionals, community finance, government reps, advocates and policy thinkers
  • empowers neighborhood market owners to grow their business as community-serving healthy food retailers!

“Many small corner store owners are first generation immigrants, simply trying to make a living, just like us. And with so much competition, it’s important to carve out a niche in this area of food business. My family went to one of the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network storeowner trainings last year and met so many different people who had great advice and were willing to work with us. We want to sell more healthy food in our community, and now we know where to start. “
— Henry and Irma Rivas, Store Owners, Ensenada Meat Market

2. Connect Good Food Neighbors. HNMN strengthens the social fabric by connecting small markets and local neighborhood groups.

instragram groupCorner stores already act as pocket community hubs in many neighborhoods, so when they bring in healthy food to meet customers’ needs, they’re building on an existing bond.

What we do —

  • HNMN partners connect with local community groups
  • Schools, clinics, libraries, churches and neighborhood councils become “Good Food Neighbors” to their local store, promising to spread the word about the good eats now available there.
  • Store owners provide a trusted site for cooking demos, health consultations, and mentorship for youth entrepreneurs.

“Alba Snacks and Services Market is located a few blocks away from my high school. The store owner, Mr. Nelson Garcia, started to sell healthier snacks this year, but before he did that, he asked my high school to do a survey and see if the community was interested in buying healthy snacks at his store. So, a small team of us created a survey and collected 199 responses. People around the neighborhood were happy to know that somebody was doing something to bring us healthier food. Personally, I am already more of an outspoken person, and being in the market research team helped me learn that I want to do something for the greater good, that impacts people at a large scale.”
— Natasha Guandique, Junior, Augustus F. Hawkins High School

3. Build Good Food Communities. 

I13552614973_637d364558_on some low-income neighborhoods, neighborhood markets make up 90% of the food retail environment.

What we do —

  • HNMN invests in the existing food retail landscape, supporting local ownership and keeps the dollar within the community.
  • We support neighborhood revitalization AND stabilization.

“You can’t underestimate the role of neighborhood markets as a way to achieve health equity, community development and economic revitalization. In South Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, where there are high concentrations of low-income residents, and very poor access to healthy food options, significant challenges to the economic vitality of the neighborhood result. Folks are doing what they can, but there’s not a lot of public or private investment in the commercial corridors. In these circumstances, land use and retail use that will generate other constructive land uses and economic uses are needed. And a grocery store or food store is a really good choice to accomplish that.”
— Mary Lee, PolicyLink / LA Food Policy Council Leadership Board Member

4. Create a Good Food System. As a sector-wide initiative, HNMN seeks scaled impact, transforming ‘food desert’ neighborhoods by training hundreds of small stores at a time.

IMG_2031This project recognizes the neighborhood market as a critical stakeholder in the movement to make healthy food available to all Angelenos.

What we do —

  • HNMN provides ongoing business and technical assistance training to support stores as healthy food retailers,
  • We work to find systems solutions to the distribution, permitting and regulatory issues that make selling healthy food challenging for small businesses.

“Organizing neighborhood market owners makes it possible to learn together, grow together, and in the future, maybe even buy fruits and vegetables together to make healthy food more affordable for all their customers. The HNMN invests in the small businesses and leaders that already exist in our communities, so that they can tackle day-to-day business challenges better together, but also so that they can raise their voice to shape policies in our city that will really work for good food businesses.”
— Rudy Espinoza, LURN / LA Food Policy Council Leadership Board Member

5. Raise new & needed voices in the Good Food Movement.

LAFPC Logo with lots white spaceThe LA Food Policy Council catalyzes, coordinates and connects networks for social change with our diverse partners in the public, private and non-profit arenas. We’re bringing these great connections to neighborhood markets across LA even more!

Our philosophy is that social connectedness done right will create collaborative action that brings benefit to everyone.

By 2050, we want good food to be the easiest choice in all communities in LA. The Healthy Neighborhood Market Network is making that happen by connecting good food businesses to local agriculture systems, entrepreneurship resources, and the immense environmental sustainability movement to expand access to healthy food in underserved communities.

LA2050: Support our vision for change!

Please support our vision for change. Please watch the video, read our submission, and vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network in the CONNECT category between September 2-16.