UEPI is partnering with Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and The Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles on a project to examine the connection between transportation, land use and food access in South Los Angeles and identify best practices to get good food to people and people to good food.
As we prepare to survey mobile vendors and stores in the project area, the northern part of which is shown in the map below, we’ve been driving the area to verify if maps of stores gathered from commercial and business license databases (thanks to the CRA) are capturing all the store locations. We’ve found that there are numerous smaller stores, mini marts and liquor stores and bakeries etc in the community that don’t show up on the official lists.
As my colleague Mindy drove and I navigated, mapped, we also looked out for mobile food vendors. today we found about 20 ‘missing’ stores and also ran across 7 mobile vendors: most of them taco trucks parked near workplaces in a food warehousing and garment manufacturing district near the Alameda coorridor. We also saw a cut fruit cart, a man selling a wide variety of fruit spread out on a tarp protected by a portable awning, and a guy walking out into traffic stopped at a red light to hawk coconuts.
Mobile and street food is one of the obvious areas that we’ll be trying to work on in this project. We’ll post more on this topic.
Mindy and I also went into a wholesale food store, kind of a big box store frequented by restaurant, mini-market, and food cart operators. They had a mix of junk food, ethnic specialties, a few healthier items, all part of the ecosystem of food distribution and retail in south and central los angeles.