Legalizing Street Food Vending

Street food culture in the Los Angeles area reflects the diversity, vibrancy, and cultural pride of the region.  It presents opportunities for food access, entrepreneurship, and lively street life.  However, its current illegal status in many cities hinders potential community benefits and penalizes vendors who are trying to support their families and are eager to enter the legal economy.

Picture Credit Rudy Espinoza

Picture Credit Rudy Espinoza

Since most sidewalk vendors currently operate outside of the law, cities do not have tools to influence where, what and how they sell food.  There is scattered enforcement of vending bans and health codes, but since vendors operate in a gray market, vending springs up again after police or health department sweeps.  Legalization and regulation of sidewalk vending in cities in Los Angeles County would create benefits for vendors, for the public, and for municipalities by bringing vending “out of the shadows” so it can play an important role as a source of food, economic opportunity and vibrant city life. Legal sidewalk vending can:

  • Promote walkability and street life
  • Provide entrepreneurship in high-unemployment areas
  • Allow regulation of what food is sold
  • Create health and safety regulations for street food
  • Provide incentives for vending of healthy food
  • Increase access to fresh produce in currently produce-deprived areas
  • Promote cultural diversity and social connections

Sidewalk vending is already an integral part of the patchwork of Los Angeles County.  Legalizing sidewalk vending would benefit communities and cities by increasing economic opportunities, expanding access to healthy and affordable food  and maintaining vibrant public places.

Legalizing Street Food Vending in the News

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Legalizing Street Food Vending Publications

Transportation and Food Access Idea 2 by Mark Vallianatos August 6th, 2013, LA Streets Blog (pdf)

Legalizing Street Food Vending Blog Posts

For more information, please visit:

Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign:

Sign the petition to legalize street food vending here.