L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

(left to right) Christina Alcarez, Pedro Alcarez, and Pedro Alcarez Jr.
EWDD provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC), which spearheads the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN).

The program improves the healthy food offerings of corner stores in Los Angeles by transforming corner markets and liquor stores into a convenient and healthy food retail option for residents in food deserts.

One such establishment is Mimi Market, which has been operating as a family-owned business in the San Fernando Valley for the past eleven years. Store owner Pedro Alcarez raised his family in the predominantly Latino area. Since the opening of the market, Pedro has worked alongside his two sons, including Pedro Alcarez Jr.

In 2018, he brought his daughter Christina Alcarez in to manage the business. Store regulars expressed an interest in purchasing fresh produce at the market. The family hopes to offer culturally appropriate and relevant produce and grocery items for the community, which is located in a food desert.

A food desert is defined as an area with a 20% or higher poverty rate and in which one-third of the population lives more than one mile away from a supermarket. These areas pose a significant risk to the health and well-being of citizens as underserved communities are more likely to depend on highly processed and nutritionally inadequate food. Also called food swamps, food deserts are also typically 'swamped' by unhealthy fast food chains. 1

“This neighborhood has few resources for fresh produce and groceries, and not too long ago we also saw the loss of the only major grocery store in the neighborhood,” Christina said. "It’s important to us that Mimi Market can provide healthy and affordable food to a population that wants and needs these resources.”

EWDD administers and provides financial support to several incubator and accelerator programs in the City of Los Angeles. These programs contribute to the City's innovation landscape by supporting the creation and growth of start-ups. Learn more about the various programs on our Incubators and Accelerators page.

1. Food Equity and Access, Los Angeles Food Policy Council

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of September 26, 2022. Read this issue and more.

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