Navigating L.A.’s food deserts: how to ensure equal access to healthy food & fresh produce

Many of us take for granted access to fresh fruits and vegetables; we know we have choices—Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Ralphs, even our local farmers’ markets. But despite convenient access for many, “food deserts”—where the only options for miles may be a fast food restaurant or a corner market stocked with more processed food and alcohol than fresh produce and milk—remain a reality for many in South Los Angeles. The health impacts are clear: disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and high blood pressure. KPCC’s Patt Morrison spent an hour with some of the people on the front lines of the food justice issue here in Los Angeles. They explored L.A.’s food deserts and the efforts to attract more grocery stores, farmers’ markets and community gardens into these underserved, and often forgotten, communities. The evening also included an example of a unique farmers’ market where you can shop, snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, a healthy cooking demonstration, and a chance to win some fun and healthy prizes. GUESTS INCLUDED: Pompea Smith, CEO, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) Elliott Petty, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) Pete White & Becky Dennison, Los Angeles Community Action Network Antronette Yancey, M.D., Co-Director, Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, UCLA School of Public Health Nicole M. Gatto, MPH, PhD, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, UCLA Department of Epidemiology; Director, Milagro Allegro Community Garden To listen to the audio, please visit the PATT MORRISON website. Photo credit: David McNew, Getty Image

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