Human Services / Health

Strengthening the Los Angeles Food Access Ecosystem

As an agency, we stepped up and answered the call of community need in the pandemic ... now we have a commitment with our community. We need bigger trucks, staffing, refrigeration ...

Manny Flores, Executive Director, North Valley Caring Services

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, service demand surged among food access organizations in Los Angeles. NFF set out to understand key financial dynamics of and funding opportunities to strengthen the Los Angeles food access ecosystem, in partnership with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) and with support from Cedars-Sinai. We conducted interviews with people from LA area food banks, pantries, family-owned businesses, social enterprises, mutual aid efforts, and a community college.

These conversations revealed a deeply interconnected web of individuals and organizations tirelessly responding to the immense need for access to healthy, quality food in Los Angeles. The following is an overview of the context and overarching themes from NFF’s interviews and research. Each of the four case studies in this series highlights a specific recommendation for funders to further strengthen the food access ecosystem in Los Angeles.

Illustration with blue sky and clouds over rolling hills that show the various roles involved in the LA food access ecosystem
Key roles in moving food across the “food access chain” from field to plate

Our community is considered a food desert. I understand that because I’ve always lived here. We realized our community loves to eat fresh food, however healthy food options are not accessible and are becoming unaffordable ... The opportunity for us as a local small business to provide new healthy options in the community is a success.

Luz Arango, Owner of Lupita’s Corner Market

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