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.
See below for a flyer that sums up the training!