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Friday farmers market debuts in South Los Angeles

July 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A variety of locally grown organic produce, including berries, grapes, bell peppers and potatoes are now available for purchase in a community that sorely needs it.

"We need fresh products, organic foods just like everyone else, and we should be entitled to them the same as everyone else," said Isaac White of South Los Angeles.

Weeks ago, local residents took to the streets to protest after Ralphs market, the last grocery store serving the King Estates area of South Los Angeles, announced it was shutting down.

At the same time, the Ralphs store on Rodeo Road and La Brea Avenue was expanded, but local residents say they're still living in what they call a food desert.

"We don't have a lot of healthy stuff that is being sold constantly on each corner in this community. We do have a lot of McDonald's, Burger Kings," said resident Carla Acosta.

But residents have found their own solution. They've partnered with the local non-profit group Community Coalition to bring fresh produce back to the neighborhood every Friday.

"We knew people would respond, we went around and knocked on doors. People let us know that if you made the food available close by, they'd come and get it. And here they are," said Marqueece Harris-Dawson with the Community Coalition.

The effort to bring healthy options to the area began even before the closure of the Ralphs store, but finding a location was the biggest hurdle until the owner of Century Market agreed to lend his parking lot to the cause.

The gesture was especially meaningful because the very corner where the market is located was once rampant with criminal activity.

"He has done a wonderful job now of making this a place a safe place to come to, and a nice place to come, and this fresh produce market here is definitely a plus," said White.


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