Plump avocados, rosy strawberries, spiny artichokes, and flowery broccoli; California is synonymous with its incredibly rich bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But it turns out that not everyone has access to the bounty of our state – the bread and fruit basket for the country.
Many communities in California do not have access to healthy food choices. In low-income communities in LA, especially in communities of color, the few grocery stores don’t carry a lot of fresh produce. If there is a grocery store, it is generally of B quality or lower. Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), a grant partner of the Women’s Foundation California, is working to change that. With their Health Grocery Stores project, they are working to ensure that grocery stores are developed equitably throughout LA neighborhoods.
It’s about more than fresh produce though. It’s also about healthy, well-paying jobs. LAANE’s research shows that grocery store workers on the Westside of L.A., which is higher income, predominantly White neighborhoods, earn $8,000 more per year on average compared with grocery workers in South L.A. LAANE is working closely with the United Food Commercial Workers union to develop career ladders for grocery workers, focusing on getting more women into management positions.
Check out these two videos featuring the work that LAANE is doing to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to all LA communities: