Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Food Desert situation

This is a video from LAANE about two women swapping neighborhoods for a day to find out about each other's access to healthy and fresh foods. One woman is from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, the other is from Santa Monica. Guess who has access to the better fruits and vegetables, including organics? Of course, the lady who normally lives in Santa Monica. In the barrio environment of Boyle Heights, fruits and veggies are hard to find, poor quality and expensive. And in Santa Monica, they are plentiful, they are accessible, and if you spend a little more you can get organics.

Where are we here in Panorama City? We aren't a food desert, that's for sure. We have a lovely Food 4 Less, and right behind it is El Super. Food 4 Less has a lot of the standard groceries we rely on day-to-day, plus a good meat department that has proven to be reliable over the decades. El Super is best for a really amazing produce department, plus one of the best bakeries in town. We also have Latino and Filipino specialty markets: Vallarta, El Pueblo, Seafood City and Island Pacific. However: we don't really have a place to get organic groceries. You can find organics occasionally at Food 4 Less, and even occasionally at the 99 Cent Only store (we've got one on the Panorama City side of Woodman) but no place that's consistent. We also have the empty hulk of the old Valley Food Warehouse which closed years and years ago, and is still vacant.

We need either a Trader Joe's or a Fresh and Easy to move in to the old Valley Food Warehouse space and give our neighborhood access to good quality food at low prices. Why should Granada Hills and Sherman Oaks have all the fun?

And another thing: we do have a whole lot of fast food places, two family restaurants (IHOP and Coco's) and a Hometown Buffet, but no really good sit down restaurants. People have nostalgia for places like the Red Barn and Phil Ahn's Moongate around here. We really don't have their like anywhere around here anymore. There is room for a nice restaurant people can take visiting family to and feel good about. I would think a high-end Mexican restaurant, something equal to El Cholo or Ciudad, probably could work here. Hello Hot Tamales...visit us here in Panorama City and we'll make you feel at home.

We are lucky here. We've still got a good food infrastructure here. But we could improve things. And people in less blessed areas need some major help. LAANC is suggesting City Council action on this. I don't know how helpful that would be. But something must be done to get fresh food to less privileged neighborhoods. We can pay now, by investing in these underserved areas, or pay later in the form of more expenditures on health care and disability.


wendoxia said...

great article.. and i agree.. you need some better restaurants.. do you ever get any of the high end food trucks? i wonder how toget border grill truck to come by and give it a try... maybe your neighborhood council could pitch them!

Michelle Klein-Hass said...

Well, one of the things I have been wanting to do is organize a street fair here. There are so many reports on how scary Panorama City is in the press...the whole shock-horror-filth "Inside The Witch's Hat" series from the LA Daily News comes to mind...but not enough about the GOOD things here.

People forget that 50 years or so ago people used to come to Panorama City to shop and to have a good time. This was a model community in the '50s and '60s. I think a yearly event where we show off the GOOD ASPECTS of Panorama City would be a start in getting some good publicity for a change.

Now that I'm out of school for a few months I can actually attend City Life Committee meetings and try to move this forward.

Michelle Klein-Hass said...

A Denny's is opening up at Plaza del Valle on October 3rd. Good news.

Beep said...

It was so nice of you to link to me. I could not be sorrier about your camera. Hopefully this is just a message that it is time for you to go to the next level of expressing your talent with a new one. It was wonderful to have you here and I'm hoping you will visit again and give the new camera a trip to California :) love Pam