Public Matters Starts A New Market Makeover Project in East L.A.
Recently we started working on a new Market Makeovers project in East Los Angeles. East L.A. is a classic food desert. The prevalence of childhood obesity in East L.A. is 32.2%, among the highest in L.A. County. According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, it has the County’s highest diabetes rates. In East L.A., the common venue for food purchasing is the corner store.
Working with our community partner LA CAUSA YouthBuild, the Office of L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, and market makeover expert Nathan Cheng, we aim to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in East L.A. by increasing the availability and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in this under-served area. Market makeovers are a practical, homegrown solution to healthy food access in communities like East L.A. with few existing sources of fresh foods and fewer prospects for comprehensive grocery store development. Building on existing business infrastructure, customers, and community resources, this intervention strategy transforms local markets from chronic public health nuisance into neighborhood asset.
Two markets will be transformed in the Maravilla area of historic East L.A. Public Matters will lead education and social marketing efforts, training LA CAUSA youth as community health advocates.
We will implement a comprehensive strategy that includes:
- interior and exterior store renovation;
- storeowner training;
- business development;
- social marketing;
- education around healthy food behaviors;
- green jobs development and the use of energy efficiencies in market makeovers;
- workshops to train LA CAUSA youth in social marketing, health, nutrition, leadership and market makeover practices.
The market makeovers will serve as role models for profitable and thereby sustainable, healthy food retail in East L.A.