LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vendors from as far as Fresno are bringing a bountiful assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables to the new Watts Healthy Farmers Market today, thanks to grants from Kaiser Permanente and the California Community Foundation.
The weekly Saturday market, which opens today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 103rd Street and Central Avenue in Ted Watkins Park, will feature 12 produce vendors along with six prepared-food booths. Nutrition and fitness classes, as well as basic health screenings, will be offered.
According to recent research by the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, there is only one full-service grocery store per 28,000 South Los Angeles residents, compared to a countywide average of one for every 18,000 residents. Many South L.A. residents must travel miles to patronize full-service grocery stores to obtain affordable, healthy food staples.
“This is a huge step towards improving the health and nutrition of the community,” said Pompea Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEELA). SEELA operates six farmers markets in the Los Angeles area, including the landmark Hollywood Farmers Market.
“The opening of this farmers market helps soften some of the nutritional challenges faced daily by the residents of South Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, who represents the district.
Kaiser Permanente, which operates the nearby Watts Counseling and Learning Center, has provided a $50,000 grant to SEELA to operate the market until it can be self-sustaining. The Keck Diabetes Prevention Initiative has also allocated $70,000 from their California Community Foundation grant to SEELA to support the market for two years. This collaborative effort includes Childrens Hospital Los Angeles/USC Keck School of Medicine; the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation; the Watts Health Care Corporation; Champions for Change; Success, A New Beginning; and Youth Opportunity Unlimited-Watts.
Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a nonprofit, group practice prepayment program with Southern California headquarters in Pasadena, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 3.3 million members in Southern California. Today it encompasses the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region includes more than 49,919 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 6,000 physicians representing all specialties. More information about Kaiser Permanente can be found at www.kaiserpermanente.org.