Meet Lae. She lives in South Los Angeles and just like my Northeast LA neighborhood, she has a serious lack of healthy food options and quality produce. She embarks on a journey via bus to get to 3rd and Fairfax (link goes to a video) to do some grocery shopping.
South L.A. is a “food desert,” with few supermarkets and a lot of land in between them. This video is the true-to-life tale of an epic journey, two hours–by bus, chronicling the extraordinary efforts of Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) student Lae Schmidt to obtain the quality and variety of fruits and vegetables she desires. Not content with conditions as they are, Lae sits down with her local Councilwoman to discuss what can be done to improve healthy food access in their community.
Today, I had to go to my dentist off Fairfax and Wilshire and while in the neighborhood, we dropped by Farmers Market. Since moving to El Sereno from the Fairfax district last year, we’ve probably gone to Farmers Market 7 or 8 times. That’s the only thing I miss about our place; being able to walk to Farmers Market for our near daily grocery shopping. I miss being able to get high quality meats and produce at affordable prices. El Sereno has a lot of things going for it, but quality and healthy food is definitely not one of them.
The local grocery stores leave a lot to be desired. When you’re used to getting imported cheeses from Monsieur Marcel, going into the Food 4 Less to choose between Land O’ Lakes or Von’s brand blocks of cheddar really knocks you for a loop. So, we’ve adapted a bit; I grow a lot of the produce my family consumes. We go to South Pasadena where there is Trader Joe’s, Nicole’s Gourmet Cheese Shop and a pretty good farmer’s market on Thursday evenings–all of this right at the Mission Station on the Gold Line. As much as I grumble about having to drive all the way over there, I wonder if we’d still go that distance if we had to take the bus.
Thanks to Lae, I know what my monthly letter to my Councilman will be about…maybe this one won’t be ignored.