LA2050 Connect: Top 5 Reasons to vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network

la2050collageThe Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, a project of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, builds the capacity of small ‘mom n’ pop’ store owners in ‘food desert’ communities to thrive as good food businesses and civic leaders through ongoing, multi-lingual business and leadership development trainings, mentorship and consulting.

To support the growing Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, we’ve entered a bid for $100,000 in a voting-based grant challenge called #LA2050. The LA2050 Grant Challenge is a competition hosted by the Goldhirsh Foundation to spur creative thinking and seed new projects in LA that will make our city a better place to “CREATE,” “LEARN,” “CONNECT,” “PLAY” or be the “Healthiest Place to LIVE” by the year 2050.

Here’s a link to our page on the grant contest website -

We’re competing in the “CONNECT” category, because the HNMN creates a place where food businesses can connect with each other across languages and find new partners in business, leadership development, community outreach, and government/public policy—all in the name of becoming healthier! The LA2050 grant will help us grow this network from 200 trained stores to 400 (!), and fund us to continue supporting  food enterprises in low-income neighborhoods that strengthen the food equity movement.

There are many worthwhile projects submitted in each category, including many by our partners and friends (link to list). The voting period runs for two weeks from September 2 – 16, 2014. Each person gets ONE vote in EACH category.

Here’s what your vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network in the LA2050 CONNECT category will do:

1. Grow Good Food Business. HNMN builds the capacity of small businesses in low-income communities to do good and thrive. 

IMG_2235Family-owned neighborhood markets are such important resources in so many LA communities (there are over 3,000 in LA County!), but there aren’t many resources and support networks designed just for these small business entrepreneurs in their own languages.

What we do -

  • HNMN offers a multi-language, cutting-edge business training curriculum
  • connects HNMN members to the LA Food Policy Council network of 500 food system stakeholders, food industry professionals, community finance, government reps, advocates and policy thinkers
  • empowers neighborhood market owners to grow their business as community-serving healthy food retailers!

“Many small corner store owners are first generation immigrants, simply trying to make a living, just like us. And with so much competition, it’s important to carve out a niche in this area of food business. My family went to one of the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network storeowner trainings last year and met so many different people who had great advice and were willing to work with us. We want to sell more healthy food in our community, and now we know where to start. “
— Henry and Irma Rivas, Store Owners, Ensenada Meat Market

2. Connect Good Food Neighbors. HNMN strengthens the social fabric by connecting small markets and local neighborhood groups.

instragram groupCorner stores already act as pocket community hubs in many neighborhoods, so when they bring in healthy food to meet customers’ needs, they’re building on an existing bond.

What we do –

  • HNMN partners connect with local community groups
  • Schools, clinics, libraries, churches and neighborhood councils become “Good Food Neighbors” to their local store, promising to spread the word about the good eats now available there.
  • Store owners provide a trusted site for cooking demos, health consultations, and mentorship for youth entrepreneurs.

“Alba Snacks and Services Market is located a few blocks away from my high school. The store owner, Mr. Nelson Garcia, started to sell healthier snacks this year, but before he did that, he asked my high school to do a survey and see if the community was interested in buying healthy snacks at his store. So, a small team of us created a survey and collected 199 responses. People around the neighborhood were happy to know that somebody was doing something to bring us healthier food. Personally, I am already more of an outspoken person, and being in the market research team helped me learn that I want to do something for the greater good, that impacts people at a large scale.”
— Natasha Guandique, Junior, Augustus F. Hawkins High School

3. Build Good Food Communities. 

I13552614973_637d364558_on some low-income neighborhoods, neighborhood markets make up 90% of the food retail environment.

What we do –

  • HNMN invests in the existing food retail landscape, supporting local ownership and keeps the dollar within the community.
  • We support neighborhood revitalization AND stabilization.

“You can’t underestimate the role of neighborhood markets as a way to achieve health equity, community development and economic revitalization. In South Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, where there are high concentrations of low-income residents, and very poor access to healthy food options, significant challenges to the economic vitality of the neighborhood result. Folks are doing what they can, but there’s not a lot of public or private investment in the commercial corridors. In these circumstances, land use and retail use that will generate other constructive land uses and economic uses are needed. And a grocery store or food store is a really good choice to accomplish that.”
– Mary Lee, PolicyLink / LA Food Policy Council Leadership Board Member

4. Create a Good Food System. As a sector-wide initiative, HNMN seeks scaled impact, transforming ‘food desert’ neighborhoods by training hundreds of small stores at a time.

IMG_2031This project recognizes the neighborhood market as a critical stakeholder in the movement to make healthy food available to all Angelenos.

What we do –

  • HNMN provides ongoing business and technical assistance training to support stores as healthy food retailers,
  • We work to find systems solutions to the distribution, permitting and regulatory issues that make selling healthy food challenging for small businesses.

“Organizing neighborhood market owners makes it possible to learn together, grow together, and in the future, maybe even buy fruits and vegetables together to make healthy food more affordable for all their customers. The HNMN invests in the small businesses and leaders that already exist in our communities, so that they can tackle day-to-day business challenges better together, but also so that they can raise their voice to shape policies in our city that will really work for good food businesses.”
— Rudy Espinoza, LURN / LA Food Policy Council Leadership Board Member

5. Raise new & needed voices in the Good Food Movement.

LAFPC Logo with lots white spaceThe LA Food Policy Council catalyzes, coordinates and connects networks for social change with our diverse partners in the public, private and non-profit arenas. We’re bringing these great connections to neighborhood markets across LA even more!

Our philosophy is that social connectedness done right will create collaborative action that brings benefit to everyone.

By 2050, we want good food to be the easiest choice in all communities in LA. The Healthy Neighborhood Market Network is making that happen by connecting good food businesses to local agriculture systems, entrepreneurship resources, and the immense environmental sustainability movement to expand access to healthy food in underserved communities.

LA2050: Vote to connect good food businesses with community for social change!

Please watch the video, read our submission, and vote for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network in the CONNECT category between September 2-16. To receive an email reminder with instructions on how to vote, contact

Save the Date: Neighborhood Market Training on Thursday September 25 (9/25)

한국어 | Espanol

Are you ready to sell more healthy food, but not sure how to get started or how to make money doing it?

Join the Los Angeles Food Policy Council’s Healthy Neighborhood Market Network for its third annual business and leadership development training: “Healthy Foods, Healthy Businesses,” on Thursday, September 25, 2014 from 9:00am to 5:00 pm at 10950 S. Central Ave. South Los Angeles (Watts), CA 90011.


“Healthy Foods, Healthy Businesses” is a training and networking event for corner stores, small family businesses, neighborhood markets and food entrepreneurs who want to succeed with healthy food. This is a full day training for entrepreneurs who want to learn, grow, and make valuable connections for their business.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Industry leaders share the nuts and bolts of how to be a successful healthy food retailer.
  • Receive tips and tools that are designed for neighborhood markets.
  • Build your network! Find new partners from government, nonprofit and food industry who want to help you bring healthy food to your store.
  • Make your dreams come true! We’ll help you create a customized “action plan” to make healthy snacks, fruits and vegetables a successful part of your neighborhood market.

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flyer31Title: Healthy Foods, Healthy Businesses – A Business and Leadership Development Training for Neighborhood Markets
Date:  Thursday, September 25, 2014 (9/25/2014)
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Lunch is provided.
Location: Watts Labor Community Action Committee – Phoenix Hall
10950 S. Central Ave. Phoenix Hall, South Los Angeles (Watts), CA 90059
Language: Translation and materials available in Korean and Spanish
Cost: Free for neighborhood markets, corner stores, community leaders, and students. General public registration fee is $25.
Register to Attend:
By Phone – Esther Park 213-473-9739
By Email –
Online Registration –

Download this event flyer in Korean or Spanish, and share it with food entrepreneurs and corner store owners you know!

*For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, please contact Esther at or call 626-672-8555.


With generous support from:


Spring 2014 at a Glance: Healthy Neighborhood Market Launches, Public Recognition, Skill-Building Workshops for Store Owners

Lots of great things have been going on with the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network this spring!

Healthy Neighborhood Markets: Spring Store Launches

South Los Angeles: Alba Snacks & Services, 6001 S.Vermont Ave. 90044

13552879875_0cc815505a_zOn Saturday, March 29, Healthy Neighborhood Market Network member and South LA entrepreneur Nelson Garcia officially relaunched his corner store, $1 Dollar Warehouse as Alba Snacks & Services (6001 S. Vermont Ave. 90044), a new Healthy Neighborhood Market. For the past year, Nelson worked closely with staff at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council along with food retail and business development consultants at Shook Kelley and LURN to develop a vibrant re-design plan for Nelson’s store. Through a transformative renovation and business plan, Nelson re-branded his store “Alba Snacks and Services” and began to offer fresh and healthy food, starting with a “Healthy Snack Zone” and a “Community Zone” with computer access and wi-fi in his store. 13551836945_e5356d22cd_o

Over 200 students, families, local residents and community leaders came out to a block party community event that Saturday, celebrating the grand reopening of Alba Snacks & Services. Read about the block party community event (link), Nelson’s partnership with Augustus F. Hawkins High School (link), and see photos from the lively March 29 block party (links to Flickr here and here)!

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Historic Filipinotown: Hope’s Liquor & Market, 2104 Beverly Blvd. 90057

image_7Hope’s Liquor & Market (2104 Beverly Blvd. 90057) owner Sonia Kaur has been working with the LA Food Policy Council and the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA) Fresh HiFi project to introduce healthy, organic produce and snack options at her corner store in Historic Filipinotown.

On Wednesday, April 30, Sonia invited local neighborhood institutions to a “Neighbors Meet & Greet” at her store (link to Eventbrite), to get to know the community leaders who live and work near her store, and to share her intention of becoming a healthy food retailer. Children’s Institute, Regis House Community Center, St. Vincent Medical Center, Union Avenue Elementary School, and other local community groups dropped into the store to have a cup of coffee with Sonia, check out the new Fresh & Healthy Section inside her store, and offer input about what kind of healthy food products they want to see at Hope’s Market. Sonia is now carrying whole fruits and vegetables, yogurt, a variety of milk options, tofu and whole grain bread. In the next year, she plans to become a reliable healthy food supplier to local neighborhood institutions, expand into healthy prepared snack foods and grab-and-go meals as her healthy food customer base grows stronger.

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Boyle Heights: Salva Market, 2108 E. 1st St. 90033

30With project based consulting from the LA Food Policy Council and community engagement support from the La Causa Youthbuild PALOMA team, Salva Market (2108 E. 1st St. 90033) owner Abel brought new healthy organic fruits and vegetables into his store this spring. Produce carried in the store is grown locally by South LA food and social enterprise Community Services Unlimited, Inc.

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Healthy Neighborhood Markets: Public Recognition by Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti

newsletterphotoHealthy Neighborhood Market Network members continue to be recognized for their innovation and leadership as healthy food retailers in LA. On Wednesday, April 30, HNMN member and South LA storeowner Nelson Garcia was featured in an event called “Kiva LA Reunion,” hosted by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Economic Development to celebrate LA’s Kiva Zip entrepreneurs. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and Kiva Zip acknowledged Nelson’s leadership in the transformation of his South LA corner store as a healthy neighborhood market this spring (See above), using a 0% interest, crowd-sourced Kiva Zip loan, and in-kind technical support from experts in the HNMN resource referral network. Check out store owner Nelson Garcia’s successfully funded Kiva Zip loan profile here (link)!

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Skill-Building Workshops: May 2 Korean Language-Focused Training

IMG_8453On Friday, May 2, 2014, Korean-speaking corner store owners from across Los Angeles County gathered for a free business development and networking event, called “Our Healthy Neighborhood Market: Leaders in Business and Community,” hosted jointly by the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) and the Asian Business Association (ABA).  A networking lunch was followed by an expert panel, where experts spoke on industry trends in healthy food retail, meeting the needs of Latino consumers, SBA financing, and legal tips for neighborhood markets. The event was the fifth in a series of “Healthy Neighborhood Market Network” (HNMN) trainings coordinated by the LAFPC, aimed specifically to support small storeowners across Los Angeles County successfully promote the sale of healthy foods in under-served communities.  LAFPC has trained over 200 storeowners and other food entrepreneurs through this program over the last two years. Read more about the May 2 store owner training event here (link). The next event in the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network training series will take place this fall. The HNMN event will include healthy food retailer workshops, business and leadership development tips, resource networking, and a healthy food vendor expo. Details will be shared through the HNMN quarterly newsletter.

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To receive the HNMN quarterly newsletter, and stay up to date with resources for healthy food retailers, and volunteer opportunities in healthy food access efforts, email Esther Park, HNMN Outreach Coordinator, at healthymarkets[at]goodfoodla[dot]org.