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Public Matters' Market Makeovers

Public Matters' Market Makeovers green the food desert -- one corner store at a time. A Market Makeover is a comprehensive strategy for addressing the "grocery gap" in "food deserts," areas that have limited access to quality, healthy food; an overabundance of fast food; and alarmingly high rates of chronic conditions related to poor diet. The process involves the physical transformation of existing corner stores, the addition of fresh produce; business training for storeowners/operators; education and community engagement; and social marketing to change health behaviors and increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. It's not just about supply; you also have to make sure you create demand. Local youth and residents play a central role in the hands-on work of transforming markets and educating the community about the benefits of fruits and vegetables. They implement the solution, and in so doing take ownership of it.

Public Matters has been doing Market Makeovers since 2007, starting in South L.A. with the Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) Initiative. For the past three years, Public Matters has been doing Market Makeovers in East L.A. and Boyle Heights through Proyecto MercadoFRESCO, a project of UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD). Proyecto MercadoFRESCO has transformed two markets in East L.A. so far, with two in Boyle Heights forthcoming. Artbound posts will focus primarily on these Makeovers, providing a behind-the-scenes look at process and evolution, community building and education in action. You'll explore the Boyle Heights Food Landscape and the challenges it poses to its inhabitants. You'll meet the local young people who are evolving into community health leaders. You'll see the stores before, during and after; meet the storeowners who've signed up for the risky proposition of selling fresh produce; learn how (or if) they build capacity for viable healthy food retail. You'll follow the Makeovers past the Grand Re-Openings to see youth-led efforts to ensure project sustainability when it counts the most: after the fanfare dies down.

 

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Article
Artbound

Bringing Healthy Food Alternatives to Boyle Heights

Poor diet and lack of physical activity in Boyle Heights are made possible by barriers to health in the L.A. neighborhood.
Community Liaison Shirley hand-painting a sign for Sociedad Market, August 2013.
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Artbound

Market Makeover: Euclid Market Transformation

Euclid Market in Boyle Heights will have its grand reopening on Saturday, December 14.
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Article
Artbound

Market Makeover: Transforming Boyle Heights' Sociedad and Euclid Stores

Community Liaisons -- emerging adults passionate about food justice -- are leading the healthy food store transformations in Boyle Heights.
Before and after pictures at Yash La Casa and Ramirez Meat Markets highlight the colorful, graphic approach Public Matters takes to transforming not just the look but the overall concept of what a corner store can be.    <br />
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Artbound

Blurry by Design: Public Matters on Social Enterprise

Public Matters encourages productive outcomes from the meeting of two sets of otherwise contrary institutional logics: that of the market and of the social movement.
Lilybeth Hernandez in her avocado costume.
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Artbound

I Was a Teenage Avocado

Lilybeth Hernandez has worn avocado costumes in parades and participated in "veggie fashion shows," all to promote public health and fight food deserts across East L.A.
 Production still from &quot;Have You Noticed How Much Junk Food We Eat? &quot; High School Students Lilybeth Hernandez and Damaris Vega from the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy (ELARA).
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Artbound

Proyecto MercadoFRESCO: Enlightenment & a Giant Taco

Proyecto MercadoFRESCO is trying to shift the cultural perception of the corner store from public health blight to community resource.
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Artbound

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Place

Public Matters performs extended, life as art "residencies" in and with communities; they disrupt the participant-observer paradigm by becoming participant-stakeholders.
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Artbound

Market Makeovers: Public Matters, Place, and Pedagogy

Public Matters' Market Makeovers green the food desert -- one corner store at a time.
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