First Korean language-focused healthy neighborhood market training held in South LA

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On Tuesday, March 19, the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network Training Series kicked off  its first storeowner training of the year at Expo Center in South Los Angeles. This workshop supported Korean American neighborhood market owners who are interested in selling healthy food.

This Korean language-focused training, “Healthy Food, Healthy Businesses” brought together food retail and business development experts, neighborhood market owners and community-based organizations to build skills and relationships needed for successful healthy market makeovers. Over 70 storeowners participated in this training, making for an intimate workshop environment that allowed for lively dialogue between industry experts and attendees.

The training was offered in two parts, an opening plenary of guest speakers, followed by food retail skills building workshop sessions. Larry Frank, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Mayor, gave a warm welcome to begin the day. Our keynote speaker was Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Microfinance and Community Development, who spoke to the significance of small businesses to the global economy. The plenary provided a cultural and historical context for the gathering of Korean store owners, beginning with Professor Kye-Young Park (UCLA) who discussed the history of Korean immigrant shop owners during and since the 1992 civil disturbance and the evolution of cross-cultural relationships in South Los Angeles. Dr. Tony Kuo from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provided an overview of health disparities across race, class and geography, which allowed store owners to further locate themselves as important stakeholders in the city and county’s public health crises. Esther Park from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council spoke to the valuable role that store owners can play in creating diverse, healthy communities through their participation in the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network and the Community Market Conversion Program or even on their own as they choose to provide healthier food products and safe spaces in their stores. Moderator Yonah Hong weaved together the many threads of discussion from her perspective as a Korean-American community development and outreach specialist.

Workshop topics ranged from merchandising and small retail market branding to fresh produce inventory management and permitting. Many of the speakers and workshop experts led their sessions entirely in Korean, with translation into English and Spanish. To make the training as language accessible as possible, all English language segments were available with translation into Korean or Spanish.

Training participants included existing members of the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, storeowners new to the Network and representatives from community-based organizations, public service offices, and community development financial institutions. A lunch of locally grown fresh greens, black eyed peas, brown rice and apple pear crumble was provided with a brief cooking demonstration by Community Services Unlimited, Inc.

Check out more photos from the event here. Copies of the program in Korean and English are downloadable here. You can also download and print the event speakers’ bios and our event flyer!

See below for a flyer that sums up the training!


“Understanding Grocery Purchasing” paper published

Anne Palmer, Program Director at Eating for the Future, recently published some fascinating research on how families make grocery shopping decisions in a low-income environment. The paper, titled “A Framework for Understanding Grocery Purchasing in a Low-Income Environment”  was published in Qualitative Health Research this February.

Here’s more about the article from Anne:

In our recently published paper, we asked low-income families about how they ate, cooked and shopped for their families, and how they thought that supermarkets could make it easier for them to make healthier food choices. From 33 in-depth interviews and three focus groups, we found that external and internal factors shape shoppers’ decisions. While our research participants consistently understood and valued healthy eating concepts, their purchases did not reflect what they valued.

Not surprisingly, people were most concerned about being able to provide sufficient quantity of food for their families and still stay within their budget. In other words, keeping hunger at bay was the Number One concern. But there were other concerns as well, such as food spoilage, the cost of travel to the stores, and food waste that results from trying new foods that are then rejected by family members. These concerns translated to strategies such as comparing sale papers, deciding if the additional travel cost is worth the price differential, using coupons, watching for sales and promotions, buying in bulk when possible, shopping at several stores but also calculating the cost of returning items in the event they spoil early, selecting non-perishables, and limiting purchases to familiar foods. All this happens before shoppers walk in the door.

Read Anne’s blog post about her research here. The paper, “A Framework for Understanding Grocery Purchasing in a Low-Income Environment,” is downloadable through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health here.