LA CAN views the key components of community health as: long-term housing stability without fear of displacement; healthy conditions within and around homes and living spaces; access to park space, grocery stores and fresh foods, health and mental health care, and other health-promoting resources; freedom from fear of police and other institutions, and strong neighborhood social ties reflected by participation in community organizing and other clubs, activities and events.
In addition to our housing work that contributes to community health, LA CAN promotes healthy food access, nutrition education, anti-hunger policy advocacy and community gardening. Our work is a holistic approach to the health problems that afflict the health of low-income and homeless residents due to a lack of sufficient access to health care, nutritious food, and quality, safe housing conditions.
As part of Hunger Action Los Angeles and the California Hunger Action Coalition, LA CAN works on the local, county and statewide levels to create, support and protect policies that alleviate hunger, including the defense of CalFresh (Food Stamps) from annual budget cut attacks and efforts to increase and streamline access to fresh, nutritious food through farmers markets and simplified benefit application processes.
However, understanding that policy change can be a slow process, LA CAN members have literally taken community health into their own hands through nutrition education and community gardening.
Our rooftop garden project provides opportunity for residents to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in a community that lacks full service grocery stores. Aided by master gardeners, we employ skills learned from our gardening classes to grow tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and much more, that we distribute to the community or incorporate into our membership meeting meals. We combine the distribution of our locally grown food to community members with nutrition education.