By Dean L. Jones, CPM
Taking place in many parts of the country is a heighten process of brightness regarding gaining better access to fresh foods. Some communities are getting national and local support for delivering more wholesome produce; however, other neighborhoods are seemingly going more and more in the opposite direction of greater socioeconomic health consciousness. This is really bad particularly with all of the toxicity in our systems from eating so much over processed foods and the ensuing prescription drugs to help suppress the pain from disease and ailments makes this definitely the inappropriate time to have less access to good foods.
This conversation came to mind today when learning about the looming closure of the chain of ‘Fresh and Easy’ stores located throughout the southland. This corporation made a concerted effort to fill the void in lower income communities to have some fresh foods that were not the typically over processed stuff commonly sold in the corner liquor stores and large super markets. Their business strategy matches what we here from First Lady Michelle Obama who is gallantly championing a healthier population for the entire country through the ‘Let’s Move’ program.
A healthy lifestyle builds better communities and if you look around and do not have access to fresh foods at affordable prices within two miles from home you are undoubtedly living in what is referred to as a food desert. Because the body is comprised of 92% water, it thrives on water content foods and without eating such a resident living in a blighted food community is subjected to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many other chronic illnesses.
I have noticed how some of our local Latino populated regions are delivering healthier food stores. For example, the Northgate Gonzalez Market, a family-run business since 1980, is a leading grocer in predominant Latino communities in Southern California and is committed to providing healthier food options for all of its customers. Through their “Healthy Alternatives” campaign it attracted First Lady Michelle Obama when she paid a visit to a future Northgate Gonzalez site in Inglewood. This was part of a celebratory event because Northgate Gonzalez was chosen as the first of many businesses to receive a loan from California Fresh Works, (a private-public partnership loan fund that has raised $264 million to invest in bringing grocery stores and other forms of healthy food retailers to underserved communities).
Another example of how the Latino community is gaining ground on healthier choices is demonstrated by Sana Gourmet Foods that created a new line of vegan and vegetarian tamales. The necessity for eating better is an economic opportunity and hopefully other food delivery resources will be able to fill the void that would be left should those remaining Fresh and Easy stores close its accessible healthy food options.
Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.