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South Central Food Options | Healthy foods should not be rare in low-income communities, so many residents and organizations are fighting to make healthy food options not just a treat, but a way of life.

Photo Credit: Danica Ruberti | Instead of relying on new, larger-chained grocery stores, one South Central woman gets to turn her market into her dream, where providing an abundance of healthy food for her neighborhood easy. Find out more about the local Las Palmas Market in South Central here.

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Food Options in South Central | Many fast food restaurants exist on the corners along Central Avenue. There are a few larger markets, such as Fresh & Easy and Family Farm Market, that also exist along the avenue. They make fresh produce and healthy food options more easily accessible to people who are living in a food desert- an area that is dominated by fast food restaurants. There are also many local markets that may not have the resources yet to provide enough healthy options for their people. Check out where these different businesses are in South Central.

Photo Credit: Danica Ruberti| Click here to find out how the markets that are currently in business are trying to help shape the habits of the community.

Allison Mannos, Communications Specialist for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
Mannos speaks out on the what she hopes to see in the future with the efforts of LAANE, pushing to enhace the quality of life for the South Central areas. She wants the markets that are already in the neighborhoods to push for the standards that will give their people access to healthier food.

By Danica Ruberti

The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy is an organization dedicated to working with grocery stores in the South Central areas to increase the quality of life.

LAANE works directly with grocery stores in South Central, showing them they can have better standards, food, and jobs.

“We don’t see nearly enough healthy food access in all neighborhoods,” Allison Mannos, Communications Specialist of LAANE, said.” “For us, we are really focused on how to address that through policy needs.”

LAANE doesn’t necessarily implement more markets. South Central has plenty of markets. Instead, they want to work with these stores and future established stores through policies to make sure they report to the Department of City and Planning each year. Thus, they can determine exactly what they want to do to improve healthy food access.

“A lot of times in these neighborhoods, they have markets,” Mannos said. “But they’ll be corner stores or there’ll be markets that don’t necessarily provide the healthiest food.”

Mannos said the cost of healthy food should not be the challenge in these low-income neighborhoods. There are ways to provide cheaper food through locally grown fruits and vegetables.

“There’s that assumption that there isn’t enough income to support their stores,” Mannos said.

Despite the food desert and difficult access to healthy food, many people of South Central still go out of their way to live a healthy lifestyle because they have what Mannos calls "significant buying power." South Central residents will take transit to go to the Ralphs, Trader Joes, or Vons in the more affluent cities.

“So the fact is even if it’s a low-income area,” Mannos said, “there are still a lot of people willing to make that trip to by better stuff.”

The people that keep these healthy life-styles are the ones that are educated. Many people do not come from families that were nutritionally educated, making it difficult to understand a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a food desert.  

“I think a lot of people don’t know where they can access healthy food or how to cook it,” Mannos said.