Councilmember Curren Price was excited to help celebrate the grand re-opening of ALBA Healthy Snacks and Services, on Vermont and 60th Street this March. Formerly the site of a “$1 Warehouse,” owner Nelson Garcia partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council to transform his storefront shop into a healthy market. Replacing fried potato chips with baked bean chips and candy bars with fresh fruits and the like Garcia said he hopes to not only help community members eat better, but also to change the perception that South Los Angeles communities don’t want healthier food options.
“I hope my business is successful and helps us prove that our community wants more healthy options – we just need to make that available,” Garcia said.
Councilman Curren Price applauded Garcia’s efforts and urged more business owners in the community to follow the trend.
“For too long, our community has suffered from high rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease while we have also faced a lack of healthy food options. Well, residents in South LA deserve better, and this market makeover project is an example of community businesses stepping up to be a part of the revitalization of our community,” said Price said.
According to recent reports, South Los Angeles has far fewer healthy food options than other regions in the city, while the community also suffers from higher rates of chronic health issues like heart disease, obesity and diabetes. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, adults and children in South L.A. are twice as likely to suffer from obesity than their peers in West L.A. and the “Health Atlas” of the City of Los Angeles showed that South LA had less than 1 supermarket for every 10,000 residents – a rate much lower than other part of the city.
Price said it is imperative that the community continue to voice its concerns about this food disparity. It is also important for the community to patronize businesses like ALBA, to prove that a healthier business model can be successful in the community.
The market transformation was a real group effort that included the help of more than 200 students from Augustus Hawkins High School, who helped survey the community and create a marketing plan for the new business based on their responses. ALBA is also a neighbor to John Muir Middle School, and Garcia said he was very excited to be able to provide the local students with healthier snacks at affordable prices.