Friday, March 22, 2024

L.A. County Awards Nearly $10 Million in Community Grants to Advance Food Equity

 

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Food Equity Roundtable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2024

LA County Awards Nearly $10 Million in Community Grants to Advance Food Equity

L.A. Food Equity Fund to support 46 nonprofits working to transform region’s disconnected food system and improve resident food access

The LA Food Equity Fund, managed by Community Partners, today announced $9.8 million in community grants to alleviate food insecurity and build a more resilient food system across Los Angeles County.

Tapping into federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, Los Angeles County’s Chief Sustainability Office and Community Partners are supporting 46 organizations working to create more just access to affordable and nutritious food across the Southland. Nearly 3 in 10 County households experienced food insecurity in 2023, according to USC researchers.

The investments, guided by the ambitious recommendations of the Los Angeles Food Equity Roundtable Action Plan, range in size from $100,000 to just over $400,000. The Roundtable, a private-public partnership of government, philanthropy and community based organizations, seeks to fundamentally transform our region’s disconnected food system.

The grants will fund a wide array of local community groups striving to improve food access and affordability as well as greater resilience and sustainability within food supply chains. Capacity-building grants comprise the bulk of investments.

Food production organizations supported by the Fund reflect a wide range of diversity, from ALMA Backyard Farms’ urban agriculture programs in Compton to Street Company’s efforts to better feed unhoused people in Lancaster through indoor hydroponic farming.

Supply-chain resilience groups receiving funds include Prosperity Market, which has created a distribution hub for small local farmers and underrepresented food businesses, and Special Services for Groups/Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, which supports BIPOC farmers by creating better markets for culturally relevant crops like cassava and taro.

Food access grants range from S√úPRMARKT’s campaign to provide nutritious meals to 2,500 South L.A. residents living in so-called “food deserts” each week to El Nido Family Center’s partnership with the Pacoima Community Center to teach local residents how to sustain their families by planting, harvesting, and cooking their own organic produce.

Nutrition education awardees include Antelope Valley Partners for Health, which offers food outreach to vulnerable populations such as foster youth, justice-involved youth, and parenting students, and Mujeres Extraordinarias Foundation, which aims to empower 800 Latino families with the hands-on skills and knowledge needed to make healthier food choices year-round.

Benefits enrollment grantees aim to increase the number of eligible families who complete applications for government food assistance programs. Some 322,000 L.A. County residents are eligible for monthly CalFresh benefits but do not receive them, according to the California Department of Social Services. Among the groups looking to close the gap: Hunger Action LA, the National Health Foundation, and Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County.

Food as medicine awardees include Northeast Valley Health Corporation, which provides bilingual diabetic screenings and food-support referrals for high-risk residents, and Maternal and Child Health Access Project, which helps at-risk individuals access Medically Tailored Meal Plans with coverage from Medi-Cal.

Other grants awarded provide a wide range of support services, from incubating small food businesses in underserved communities to aiding street vendors through food-handling certification programs. For more details, please see this full list of awarded grantees.

“The County has a responsibility to act as a safety net for our most vulnerable communities, who disproportionately suffer from food insecurity,” said L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who helped create the Food Equity Roundtable. “This new round of funding marks an important first step in bringing the Roundtable’s Action Plan to life and helping those most in need. Today’s investment in our neighborhood partners will pay dividends throughout the County for years to come.”

Due to systemic biases and injustices, Latino and Black households in LA County report higher rates of food insecurity than White households, nearly 2 to 1. The Roundtable’s Action Plan outlines 14 priority population segments most likely to experience food insecurity, from immigrant families to transgender individuals.

“This funding will certainly help these organizations make a tangible impact on our food insecurity crisis here in Los Angeles and that is exciting news,” said Cinny Kennard, the executive director of the Annenberg Foundation and co-chair of the Los Angeles County Food Equity Roundtable. “At the same time we will press forward with our partners on the Roundtable to achieve our shared goals of eliminating food inequality in our city by providing a crucial coordinating board where we can all work together even as the crisis of food insecurity worsens in our region”

While $1M of grant funds support direct distribution of culturally relevant food items, infant formula, diapers, and personal hygiene items, the bulk of awards aim to drive systemic transformation of inequitable food production models and outdated supply chains.

“We’re thrilled to partner with LA County to get these funds into neighborhoods across LA. This effort mirrors Community Partners’ commitment to racial equity and supporting the development of strong, healthy communities that, historically, have been marginalized. We’re especially excited to see local residents involved in this work for systemic change,” said Alicia Lara, President and CEO of Community Partners, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit intermediary that manages the LA Food Equity Fund and selected the 46 awardees in partnership with a panel of expert advisors.


American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan Act provides $1.9 billion in funding to LA County to build an equitable economic recovery from the devastating socio-economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. L.A. County is working to address inequities and transform underserved communities that have been hard hit during the pandemic with investments from the American Rescue Plan Act and other funding sources. For more information visit ceo.lacounty.gov/recovery.


Media Contacts:
Britney Hernandez, Public Information Associate
L.A. County Board of Supervisors Executive Office
pio@bos.lacounty.gov,�213-359-9920
Alicia Lara, President & CEO
Community Partners
alara@communitypartners.org, 213-346-3200

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