Inner cities are having a tough time finding fresh produce in the United States. The gloat of grocers that have small corner shops are a staple of the inner city. Those little stores though don’t stock fresh produce.
In West Los Angeles, home to 395,000 there are only 19 supermarkets. In South Los Angeles where 688,000 people live there are only six supermarkets.
Because of the high employment turnover and the lack of space in these areas retailers tend to head to different markets.
Some areas are trying to get more supermarkets into the inner cities. In Pennsylvania they got 61 supermarkets to move to the city but that was only after investing $30 million five years ago. New Orleans and Chicago are considering programs like that. Los Angeles though is not.
The areas in L.A. that lack supermarkets are also prone to violence. Residents in the Watts area complain of stale bread, rancid meat and rotten produce.
Healthy food is hard to come by but fattening fast food is not.
Still there is hope in Los Angeles. The city has the California Endowment program. It’s a private health foundation that gives grants to small grocers that promotes healthy food.
The Associated Press tells how one shop, Los Compadres Market and Restaurant changed their image with a grant. They removed chips and candy from the front aisles and a large cooler was added for fresh fruit and vegetables. Milk and cheese now is stored along side beer.
“These problems are really killing our communities,” said Marion Standish, a program director for the endowment. “They’re really disabling young people all over the state and limiting their potential in very serious ways, and limiting all of our potential as a result.”