A Call for Action as Grocery Stores Leave Hard-Hit Neighborhoods
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
SOUTH LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Groups that fight hunger want local government to step in and make sure all Californians have access to fresh produce at neighborhood grocery stores and farmer's markets - and they point to South Los Angeles as a good place to start.
The Crenshaw area lost one grocery store a decade ago; another is closing for renovations - and now, Kroger is closing the local Ralph's, saying it can't afford the pandemic "hero pay" required by the city.
Frank Tamborello, executive director of Hunger Action Los Angeles, would like the city and county to tap pandemic relief funds and step in.
"We can make sure that stores that are currently planning to close don't close, and that funds are used to keep the employees working there," he said. "We can make sure that new supermarkets and neighborhood stores with fresh produce are established in these areas."
The lack of fresh produce, particularly in communities of color, is referred to as "food injustice," "food apartheid" or "food deserts" - and the groups working to fight it say the issue has only gotten worse during the pandemic.
Jennifer Laurent, an organizer with the African Marketplace and Drum Circle Farmers Market in Leimert Park, said big grocery chains should continue to invest in local neighborhoods.
"We need large retail grocers - who've been in our community that we've been committed to shopping at for 20 and 30 years - we need them to be committed to us, and to pay the 'hero pay,' and to keep the markets open," she said.
She complained that the African Market Place has had a hard time securing an annual permit from the city. City Councilmember Mark Ridley Thomas' office said it wants to work with organizers to put on a clean, safe weekly event. Tamborello said he hopes the city makes it happen.
"People in many neighborhoods cannot go to the store and get adequate fruits and vegetables," he said, "and we should have farmer's markets on every corner in Los Angeles, because we are so close to so many good sources of fresh produce."
The advocacy groups also would like the county to better fund programs such as Market Match, which gives SNAP recipients extra dollars to spend at farmer's markets.
Disclosure: Hunger Action Los Angeles contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Advocates for people with disabilities in New York are pushing for the federal budget resolution to include $400 billion in Medicaid …
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Freshwater mussels are key to keeping the Chesapeake Bay watershed clean, and with more than half of all species now facing …
BUFFALO, Wyo. -- The doors of five historic community halls across Johnson and Sheridan counties were opened this past weekend for 15 people curious …
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Massive wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada have triggered poor air quality in North Carolina over the past few weeks, and …
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Farmworkers are in Olympia today, calling for stronger protections from extreme heat. The farmworkers union Familias Unidas por la …
BOISE, Idaho -- Rallies are taking place across the Northwest to support salmon, which face dire conditions in the Columbia River Basin. Saturday…
IXONIA, Wis. -- The public comment period has ended, but opponents of proposed natural gas storage facilities in southeastern Wisconsin still hope to …
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvanians are growing worried about the environmental consequences of natural-gas drilling in the state, according to a new …