Trustee: Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Los Angeles, CA

Why are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
One of our primary goals is to expand access to healthy food in low-income, under-served neighborhoods where we see a dearth of healthy food options. We do this by supporting neighborhood market owners and small food entrepreneurs in low-income communities to access resources they need to grow their business as healthy food retailers. Through KIVA Zip loans, neighborhood markets can purchase new refrigeration, signage and other equipment that will help them stock healthier food in their stores. In addition to the benefit to the neighborhood market, the community benefits with increased access to healthy food and the likelihood of improved health outcomes for residents.
What is the mission of your organization?
The Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) is a collective impact initiative, working to make Southern California a Good Food region for everyone—where food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable. Through policy creation and cooperative relationships, our goals are to reduce hunger, improve public health, increase equity in our communities, create good jobs, stimulate local economic activity, and foster environmental stewardship.
In the past, how effective have you been in achieving this mission?
We have been effective in coordinating a network of over 250 active and 900 connected organizations and individuals in collaborative and innovative systems and policy change work, which has resulted in policy change related to procurement, urban agriculture, and food retail. For corner stores and neighborhood markets, we have trained nearly 200 neighborhood markets through business and leadership development trainings that promote healthy food in healthy businesses in under-served communities through the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network and Community Market Conversion Program. Through our training and consulting, corner store owners now have access to vendors, food retail experts, community lenders, and non-profit and government resources that they did not previously utilize.
Do you belong to any organizational networks -- nationally, regionally, or locally? If yes, please list.
We are an active member of the California Food Policy Council, a collaborative of local food policy councils working to ensure that California’s food system reflects the needs of all communities. We also regularly peer exchange with national networks of community food systems organizations.
How will you decide who to endorse as a borrower? What due diligence will you conduct?
Borrowers whom we work with will be active participants in the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, a platform for providing business and leadership development training to neighborhood markets seeking to become healthy food retailers. For us to act as Trustee for a Borrower, the business must be an existing small market with at least 1 year operating as a business or comparable business record, in overall good financial health, current on all business licenses and permits, demonstrate pride in ownership of their store site, demonstrated interest in selling healthy food and a willingness to collaborate with the community. To demonstrate this, we would ask to see the last 3 years of personal and business tax returns and a 60 day Profit & Loss Statement and Business Balance Sheet, along with copies of business licenses, and state-issued identification. We also look for store owners who express their passion and leadership for their community and promoting healthy lifestyles, maintain the appearance of the store, and are open to partnering with community-based organizations in their area.
How do you plan to support the borrower, both before and after the loan is disbursed?
We provide food retail technical assistance and coaching to set and achieve the market owner’s goals around healthy food inventory through the entire “market makeover” process. We help the market owner develop a business plan, including a clear vision on their brand identity and merchandise strategy. We support stores with marketing, merchandising, product and store display, vendor relationships and community outreach so that their transition to healthy food is successful and sustainable. We counsel the business on best use of funds to achieve their goals, and provide a menu of vendor options. Through the entire re-design process, we are on hand to coach the store owner. Our approach is to nourish partnerships with neighborhood institutions such as schools, clinics, churches, libraries and non-profits who can serve as an anchor of support and patronage of healthy food at the newly re-designed store so that the healthy food product lines will be financially sustainable for the store project.
How will you help us ensure that the loans you endorse have a significant and positive social impact?
We support loans to neighborhood markets for the purchase of refrigeration, signage and equipment to expand and improve the sale of fresh produce and other healthy food items. Our purpose is to assist local food businesses and expand access to healthy food in under-resourced, low-income neighborhoods. Small neighborhood markets make up the majority of the existing food retail landscape in many low-income neighborhoods. They are a critical food access point, as well as a hub for neighborhood culture and commerce. We believe that neighborhood markets can be on the front-lines of the inequitable “food desert” challenges we face in many neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The impact we desire to see is that the neighborhood market grows and thrives as a vibrant healthy food retailer, and that the community’s health and wellness increases from improved access to healthy food options.

About Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Trustee Type:
Second Tier trustee
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On Zip Since:
Jan 28, 2014
(31 months)
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