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.
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.