2017 LAFPC Food System Dashboard (beta)

Methods & Resources

About the Food System Dashboard


Methods and Scope

The Los Angeles Food Policy Council recognizes that there are multiple ways of knowing. Numerical data offers one view on reality, but some may understand and assess the world through stories, narratives and lived experiences. The 2017 Food System Dashboard utilizes multiple research methods– including descriptive statistics and data visualization, GIS mapping,  qualitative case studies with stories from impacted populations and expert analysis to provide a more comprehensive assessment of our progress towards ensuring Los Angeles is a Good Food region for all.

For additional information on our methodology, including a glossary of terms, frequency of data updates, and more specifics on how we calculated our data variables strong click here.


How to Read the Food System Dashboard

While the Dashboard is updated every four to five years, transformative change in our food system may take much longer to manifest. As we continue to evolve our local approaches to address the complex, global, and systemic factors that have impacted our food system for decades, it is imperative that we synergize our efforts and arm ourselves with as much information as possible to help guide our work.

We also recognize that the negative impacts of our broken food system are not equally distributed. Like many areas throughout country, Los Angeles’s low-income communities of color and low-wage food workers suffer most from the health, environmental and economic effects of injustices throughout the food supply chain. Factors such as income, occupation, race, age, education, documentation, transportation access and neighborhood all contribute to persisting inequities in peoples’ ability to access Good Food and thrive the local Good Food economy.

For these reasons, the descriptive statistics collected in the Dashboard are analyzed through two approaches: (1) The Progress Report and (2) Equity at the Center– to gauge progress over time for the entire region as well as for the most impacted populations and communities within the region.

The complete list of data derived from these analyses can be downloaded below: 


Progress Report

Every section of the Dashboard contains a Progress Report which measures change over time for each outcome and its respective indicators. Most Progress Outcomes are measured by multiple indicators. Progress for each Outcome is assessed by combining the total number of indicators that demonstrate positive change, negative change or no change at all for the respective Outcome (see figures 1 & 2). Although some indicators may be better measures of Outcomes than others, we weight all indicators the same due to a lack of empirical data available to develop uniform weighting criteria for our diverse and extensive set of  indicators (particularly those in the sustainable and fair sections).

Outcomes: short-term, mid-range and long-term goals contained within the progress report and equity analysis that can guide, measure and inform the Good Food Movement’s activities, strategies and priorities.

Worse: at least 11% of indicators measuring the outcome demonstrate more negative change than positive

Moderately Worse: between 1% – 10% of indicators demonstrate more negative change than positive

Stayed the Same: all indicators demonstrate no change/ statistically insignificant change, OR

the same number of indicators demonstrate  positive and negative change

Moderately Improving: between 1% – 10% of indicators demonstrate more positive change than negative change

Significantly Improving: at least 11% of indicators demonstrate more positive change than negative change

Short-Term Outcome: an outcome achievable in less than 5 years

Mid-Range Outcome: an outcome achievable in 5 to 10 years

Long-Term Outcome: an outcome achievable after 10+ years


Good Food Outcomes and Data Indicators

The Dashboard indicators were selected based on their ability to measure outcomes– initially identified in the 2013 baseline assessment and subsequently refined through vetting with Good Food experts and stakeholders. The outcomes include short-term, mid-range and long-term progress measures of the health, sustainability and fairness of our food system.

Most indicators selected to measure the Good Food Outcomes derive from local, state and national government databases and reports. A smaller portion of the Dashboard indicators stem from research conducted by Los Angeles Food Policy Council staff and partner organizations. Data limitations include: infrequent data updates, statistical unreliability at disaggregated geographic and demographic levels and inconsistent methodologies across data sources. Despite limitations, these indicators can still contribute helpful insights on our collective progress towards achieving a Good Food system for all.

Outcomes: short-term, mid-range and long-term goals contained within the progress report and equity analysis that can guide, measure and inform the Good Food Movement’s activities, strategies and priorities.

Indicators: describe the baseline and update statistics. Each indicator contributes towards assessing the status of its related outcome.

Baseline Statistics: numbers and percentages available for the indicator listed before 2014. Most of the baseline statistics are carried over from the 2013 Food System Snapshot.

Update Statistics: the most recent numbers and percentages available for the indicator listed. These metrics measure progress towards outcomes over time.

Source: indicate where the baseline and update statistics come from.

Change: indicates whether the update statistic increased, decreased or stayed the same as the baseline statistic (ie: there is no statistically significant difference at the 0.5 p-value)  for the particular indicator. This column also demonstrates whether the update statistic demonstrates positive, negative or neutral change.


Equity at the Center

In each section, we also measure progress towards achieving desired Equity Outcomes– by disaggregating indicator measures by neighborhood, race/ethnicity, age, and income. The final list of equity indicators were selected based on the strength of sample size, relevance to Equity Outcomes and statistical significance.

Equity is not only about minimizing disparities but also about maximizing the best outcomes across all groups. Thus, our equity goals should be for each group to achieve the greatest standards for health, sustainability, affordability and fairness. For this reason, we track progress towards our Equity Outcome by utilizing the best faring groups as our baseline– and not the average like most other disparity assessments. See figure 3 for a key on our equity assessment over time.

Equity Indicators: describe the pre and post statistics and indicate the source where the data are derived.

Sub-groups: represent the disaggregated data based on geographic community, race, age and income. The type of sub-group is included in the column header.

Pre Statistic: indicates the data from the earliest year of our assessment. The year the data was collected is included in the column header. Statistics for the baseline, or best faring group, are indicated in bold letters green. Groups that fare worse than the baseline at a statistically significant level are bolded in red. All other values are not statistically different from the baseline and thus no disparities exist. The red and green highlighted cells refer to the average of the group. Cells that are highlighted in red represent values that are also statistically worse than the average and cells highlighted in green represent values that are statistically better than the average. In this way, we can assess disparities in terms of both the overall average of the group, but also in relationship to the best faring group (the baseline).

Post Statistic: indicates the data from the latest year of our assessment. The year the data was collected is included in the column header. Statistics for the baseline, or best faring group(s), are indicated in bold letters green. Groups that fare worse than the baseline at a statistically significant level are bolded in red. All other values are not statistically different from the baseline and thus no disparities exist. Cells that are highlighted in red represent values that are also statistically worse than the average and cells highlighted in green represent values that are statistically better than the average.

Disparity: indicates whether the post statistic increased, decreased or stayed the same as the pre statistic (ie: there is no statistically significant difference at the 0.5 p-value) for the particular indicator. This column also demonstrates whether the update statistic demonstrates positive, negative or neutral change.

Baseline: indicates the best faring sub-group


Case Studies

Often times the richest, most complex information derives from qualitative data– conveying important knowledge that typically cannot be effectively reduced to numbers. For this reason, the Dashboard also includes brief case studies that reveal pertinent information on relevant food system activities through numbers and stories that have yet to be uniformly measured or scaled at city and/or county levels. The case studies highlight notable projects, strategies and initiatives taking place throughout the Good Food Movement– with perspectives of the residents and communities impacted by these interventions incorporated throughout. The cases culminate with lessons learned which can help inform future interventions and strategies.

All of the case studies can be found here


GIS Mapping

Each section of the Dashboard also contains maps so users can spatially analyze much of the data included in this analysis. The maps are interactive and allow users to select information based on their unique research needs. Additional resources for mapping local data relevant to the health, sustainability and fairness of our food system include: Food Oasis Los Angeles, The City of Los Angeles’ Health Atlas and the Los Angeles City Data Portal

Users interested in creating their own maps using Dashboard data can access all of the mapping files here


Expert Commentary

Context brings data to life. In the Dashboard, this context is provided through expert commentary contributed by food system leaders throughout the Los Angeles region. Each Dashboard section contains analyses from at least two experts on food system topic areas, leveraging both data and experiential knowledge to shed light on relevant trends and recommendations for future priorities.


Future Measurement Priorities

Despite our efforts to fill in data gaps through our own research, a number of indicators and metrics chosen for this analysis were unable to be measured due to data limitations. As a result, we have compiled a list of future metrics to guide the continued data collection efforts of relevant agencies and partner organizations towards filling in these needed gaps.


Geographic Scope

The Food System Dashboard considers different geographic scopes.. Indicators were collected for our Regional Foodshed (multi-county) down to neighborhood zip codes. Descriptions of each geographic level can be found below:

Regional Foodshed

A foodshed measures the reach of a community’s local food production. A foodshed’s size is determined by its “structures of supply,” or the regional, economic, political and transportation systems that bring food from farm to table. The Los Angeles foodshed consists of the two hundred mile radius around LA’s urban core, a ten county region spanning from Central California to the state’s southern-most border.

County

Los Angeles County is the most populated county in the United States with over 9.8 million people. The 88 cities and numerous unincorporated areas that comprise LA County amount to 4,083 square miles. According to the 2010 U.S Census, LA County’s demographic composition is: 28% Hispanic/Latino, 22% White (Non-Hispanic), 21.8% other, 13.7% Asian, 9% African-American and 1% Native-American or Pacific Islander. The median household income in LA County is $56,196 with 18.2% of the population below the poverty level and 77.3% of the adult population with a high school degree or higher (U.S American Community Survey, 2015).

Sub-County Region: Service Planning Areas (Insert SPA/LA County Map)

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) divides Los Angeles County into 8 smaller regions called Service Planning Areas to collect data on health  and target public health services to the specific needs of the smaller sub-county regions. LADPH Service Planning Areas (SPAs) include:

Antelope Valley (SPA 1) is the northernmost region of Los Angeles County and covers communities such as: Acton, Agua Dulce, Gorman, Lake Hughes, Lake Los Angeles, Lancaster, Littlerock, Palmdale, Quartz Hill, and others. Nearly 21.4% of Antelope Valley residents are below the poverty level. The racial composition primarily consists of 44.8% Latino, 34.6% White, 16.2%  African-American and 3.8% Asian.

San Fernando Valley (SPA 2)  includes the northwest portion of LA County and covers communities such as: Burbank, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Canyon Country, Encino, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, San Fernando, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, and others. 14.9% of San Fernando Valley residents live below the poverty level. The racial composition primarily consists of: 44.6% White, 40.2% Latino, 11.5% Asian and 3.5% African-American.

San Gabriel Valley (SPA 3) includes the central east portion of LA County and covers communities such as: Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Claremont, Covina, Diamond Bar, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Irwindale, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Pomona, San Dimas, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City, Walnut, West Covina, and others. Over 13% of San Gabriel Valley residents live below the poverty level. The racial composition primarily consists of: 46.3% Latino,  28.6% Asian, 21.2% White and 3.7% African-American.

Metro (SPA 4) is the metropolitan region of LA County primarily includes the central city portion of Los Angeles and covers communities such as: Boyle Heights, Central City, Downtown LA, Echo Park, El Sereno, Hollywood, Mid-City Wilshire, Monterey Hills, Mount Washington, Silverlake, West Hollywood, and Westlake. Nearly 24.3% of the population lives below the poverty level. The racial composition primarily consists of: 51.8% Latino, 24.8% White, 17.9% Asian and 5.2% African-American.

West LA (SPA 5) is the most affluent region in LA County and covers communities such as: Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Culver City, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, and Venice. The poverty rate is 11.9% and the racial composition primarily consists of: 64% White, 16% Latino, 14% Asian and 5.7% African-American.

South LA (SPA 6)  South LA covers communities such as: Athens, Compton, Crenshaw, Florence, Hyde Park, Lynwood, Paramount, and Watts. The poverty rate is the highest in LA County at 33.6% and the racial composition primarily consists of: 68.2% Latino, 27.4% African-American, 2.4% White and 1.7% Asian.

East LA (SPA 7) East LA includes the southeast portion of LA County and covers communities such as: Artesia, Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, City of Commerce, City Terrace, Cudahy, Downey, East Los Angeles, Hawaiian Gardens, Huntington Park, La Habra Heights, Lakewood, La Mirada, Los Nietos, Maywood, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, Signal Hill, South Gate, Vernon, Walnut Park, Whittier, and others. The poverty rate is 17.3%. The racial composition primarily consists of 73.5% Latino, 14% White, 9% Asian and 3% African-American.

South Bay (SPA 8) The South Bay is the southernmost border of LA County and covers communities such as: Athens, Avalon, Carson, Catalina Island, El Segundo, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, Long Beach*, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Dominguez, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, San Pedro, Wilmington, and others. The poverty rate is 17.4%. The South Bay is the most diverse region in LA County with racial composition consisting of: 40.4% Latino, 28.4% White, 15.4% Asian and 14.8% African-American.

City of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles is the most populous city in Los Angeles County, and the second most populous city in the United States, behind New York City, with almost 3.8 million residents. The City covers approximately 469 square miles and is the metropolitan core of the Greater Los Angeles region. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the City of Los Angeles’s demographic composition consists of: 28.7% non-hispanic white, 48.5% hispanic/latino, 11.3% Asian and 9.6% African-American. The median household income in the City of Los Angeles $50,205, 75.5% of adults have at least a high school degree and 22.1% of residents live below the poverty line.

Neighborhood Level

Selected Dashboard indicators focus on specific neighborhood regions within the City of Los Angeles and/or neighboring regions. We utilize an aggregation of zip codes as proxies for the geographic boundaries of neighborhoods, which do not perfectly overlap and are limited in accuracy. These neighborhoods include:

South LA (City) includes Baldwin Hills/Leimert Park, South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles community plan areas. The neighborhood comprises of the following zip codes: 90001, 90002, 90003, 90007, 90008, 90011, 90016, 90018, 90037, 90043, 90044, 90047, 90059, 90061 & 90062.

East LA (City) includes Boyle Heights and City Terrace. The area is defined by the following zip codes: 90022, 90023 & 90063.

West LA (City) is the most affluent portion of the City of Los Angeles and is defined by the following zip codes: 90024, 90025, 90034, 90035, 90045, 90049, 90056, 90064, 90066, 90067 &  90077.

Additional Resources

  • Link to GIS Downloads
  • Glossary (same as 2013)
  • Data Variables (same as 2013)
  • Frequency of Updates (updated from 2013)

Click here to return to the Food System Dashboard.