Putting an end to hunger in LA

Various religious groups across the city have come together to put an end to hunger in Los Angeles.  A food drive took place at Hollywood Forever this month, school children are choosing this campaign as their class project, entertainment people are joining in and volunteering at the various community food programs is being encouraged.   The organizers point out that food banks and collections are mere band-aids on the situation.   They have three major ways to end hunger in LA (check out their website at  Fed Up With Hunger –below is one of the methods and the results of an assessment made on our side of town.

A community food assessment by Project CAFÉ that mapped 1273 food establishments in three low income neighborhoods in South and Central Los Angeles found that 29.6% were fast food restaurants, 21.6% were convenience/liquor stores and less than 2% were full service food markets. In Boyle Heights, there is one supermarket for the 90,000 residents of the neighborhood. Tragically, families in these neighborhoods have the highest rates of obesity, overweight and other diet related health problems; cheap foods may ease hunger pangs, but these foods also lead to chronic malnutrition, an emerging health crisis that impacts us all.

The Action: Ask your City Council member to make grocery stores, farmer’s markets and community gardens a high priority in all land-use planning, especially in central and east Los Angeles. Visit the City of Los Angeles’ website and find your Council member in the “My Neighborhood” box.

3 thoughts on “Putting an end to hunger in LA

  1. I wonder if a Taco Truck which sells greasy carne asdada tacos is parked next to a fruit cart who would sell more?

    There has to be a connection between supply and demand when it comes to any business including grocery stores.

  2. Food banks don’t have the most healthy food. It’s mostly cans.

    I eat the canned food last. That’s like desperation food. The fresh vegetables get eaten first, then the frozen foods, then the dried stuff you have to reconstitute or boil, and then the canned.

    Boyle Heights needs more grocery stores per person, but, they have pretty healthy food in there compared to many places. The vegetables are pretty fresh compared to the typical supermarket.

    I read this story about Chinese grocery stores (see the link on my name), and found out how the operate. They buy food that’s ripe or nearly ripe, and won’t last more than a few days. The customers buy the food and use it immediately, without ever really using the fridge. They shop every other day or so.

    Consequently, their diet is largely fresh vegetables, and they pay 1/3 the price for them.

    I assume this is similar to what the Mexican fruit vendors do. Their fruit tastes a lot better than the stuff I get at the market. It’s sweeter and jucier. Perhaps they buy fruit that is ripe, so it’ll go bad in a day or two. That’s when it tastes the best — and if they picked it late, then it’ll taste even better.

    The food that’s riper costs less, because it has a short shelf life.

    Also, the idea that only unhealthy foods will make you fat is total hogwash. You can get really overweight on a diet of largely healthy food, if you eat enough of it. There are also marginally healthy foods that you can overdo, like cheese.

    I think the reason why poor people are overweight is the same reason I’m overweight: food is tasty, and it’s a cheap form of entertainment. If you have to cook for yourself, you usually become a decent cook, and, well, there you go – if your own cooking is great, you’re going to probably eat more.

    There’s also a flipside to this: if you’re cooking is so-so, or you can’t get great ingredients, then, you’re going to use a lot of shortcuts to make food tasty: fats, salt, sugar, and meats. You try to mask the flavors of the ingredients instead of enhance them.

  3. Victoria, thanks for the shoutout about Fed Up With Hunger! We’re trying to build momentum within the community and local bloggers are so important to making that happen. (I’m the social media manager for the project btw).

    Ray – we have a “Blueprint to End Hunger in LA” coming out on 11/23 and one of the recommendations is to have a farmer’s market truck that cruises neighborhoods like a taco truck, but sells veggies/fruits.

    Alienation – one of the solutions we outline in the Blueprint is to connect the interest of local farmers and consumers. A city in Brazil ended hunger by doing this. Check it: http://www.endpoverty2015.org/end-hunger/news/local-governments-and-citizens-belo-horizonte-brazil-unite-end-hunger-and-bring-real-change-poorest/06/apr/09

    Again, thanks!

    Conchita – You’re absolutely right! The biggest challenge we face is convincing people that hunger exists here in the US. And that obesity can be a related to a lack of healthy foods. Check our post on food deserts: http://blog.givelifemeaning.org/2009/09/wandering-food-desert/

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