Los Angeles, USA - 2008
Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA, www.see-la.org)
A community development corporation, SEE-LA has been highly successful over the past 16 years in creating local economic development programs. SEE-LA works to respond to the void of fresh food access in urban, mostly low-income Los Angeles, by empowering the community through education and to make fresh products accessible to everyone, in turn empowering the local farmers.
In 1991, the Hollywood Farmers Market was opened by Hollywood Economic Revitalization Effort (HERE), a commercial street revitalization project led by SEE-LA and funded by the City of Los Angeles. The market that started with just 26 farmers, is now with a total of 150 vendors including 90 farmers, and continues to be one of the largest certified farmers markets in LA and enjoys a dedicated customer base of 5,000 – 8,000 weekly. When funding for the HERE project ended, SEE-LA was incorporated in 1996 to continue to operate the Hollywood Farmers Market and to expand on its success through new programming and markets. With funding from CA Department of Health Services, City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), SEE-LA expanded its operations over the next 10 years to include 6 more certified farmers markets, the joint Bring the Farmers to Your School program with LAUSD, and a nutrition-based cooking class series called Good Cooking. The Bring the Farmers to Your School program expanded to El Monte and Pasadena Unified School Districts in 2004 and 2005. The Good Cooking program was awarded funding through Kaiser Permanente Community Grants Program in 2006. In 2004, SEE-LA led a countywide promotional effort for the use of the new EBT/food stamp card at 22 farmers markets in Los Angeles County. In Summer 2007, SEE-LA will also open the Farmer’s Kitchen, a retail café that will function as a job training and processing kitchen, with a grant from the USDA and the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA-LA). Finally, its Market Basket is a corporate purchase program that extends into worksite wellness programs.
The mission of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) is to promote and engage in self-sustaining community and economic development activities within the city of Los Angeles, including sustainable food systems, social and cultural programs, and economic revitalization projects.
The underlying purposes of SEE-LA shall include but not be limited to the following:
- To develop, support, and operate community food distribution projects — including, but not limited to, the Hollywood Farmers’ Market — which increase access to fresh, nutritious food for all people;
- To support sustainable food choices and food systems, agricultural species diversity, and environmental conservation;
- To stimulate and revitalize local economic systems and create jobs by assisting in the startup of self-sustaining microenterprises;
- To promote local social and cultural development through the creation of public events, programs, and venues that provide a forum for arts and entertainment activities and encourage positive social interaction between community members of diverse racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds;
- To provide education and information on health, nutrition, and agricultural issues;
- To work with local government and quasi governmental agencies to stimulate economic development and create jobs within the community.
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