Access, Affordability & Education

Everyday over one million L.A. County residents are faced with limited access and options for food. Low-income communities and people of color suffer the most disadvantages, including lack of nutritional options at local food retailers, lack of transportation, higher risks of life-threatening health conditions such as obesity and diabetes, financial instability, and little understanding of healthy food.

With the population growing, density in L.A.'s low-income communities overwhelms and limits food retail options. In a 2002 study of Los Angeles grocery gaps, researchers found that each supermarket in L.A. County serves 18,649 people, while in low-income communities one supermarket serves 27,986 people. In that same study, research found that the higher the concentration of whites in a community, the greater the number of supermarkets, while high concentrations of African-Americans and Latinos tend to result in access to fewer supermarkets, illustrating colorlines within the socioeconomic structures of L.A.

Glassell Park Community Garden celebration of Good Food Day LA Click image to view larger version in new window.What's worse, is that there are communities in L.A. with no options. These neglected areas are referred to by food advocates as "Food Deserts," having no access to healthy, affordable food retailers within a one-mile walking distance for an urban area, and none within 20 miles driving distance in rural communities. In these cases, the community is typically saturated with fast food chains or convenience stores that supply food with little to no nutrition.


Left: Data referenced from Policylink and The California Endowment's report: "Why Race & Place Matters: Impacting Health Through a Focus on Race and Place."


Click the thumbnail images above for interviews with Michael Flood, President & CEO of L.A. Regional Food Bank; Peter Quezada, muralist & gang prevention counselor; and Lois Kern, teacher at Irving Middle School.

Affordability Limits Access
Michael Flood, President/CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, aligns the food security issues in Los Angeles with cost.
Generational Food Changes
Peter Quezada, a muralist and gang prevention counselor, describes the poor nutritional decisions that today's youth make.
Gearing Youth Toward Nutrition
Lois Kern, a teacher at Irvine Middle School, shares her experience gardening with students and describes the lack of nutrition in school lunch menus.
Explore the related interactive mural

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