Strengthening Local Ecosystems Through Food
Prosperity Market is a mobile farmers market featuring black farmers, food producers, and chefs. We travel throughout Los Angeles making it easy to support local black-owned businesses while creating food access in underserved communities.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
It's been said that a dollar stays in the black community for just 6 hours. In 2020, 41% of black-owned businesses closed due to the pandemic. We've seen considerable support pledged to black-owned businesses, however the money leaves our communities just as quickly as it arrives. We don't have enough essential black-owned businesses, specifically grocery stores. Black farmers have long been marginalized, making up less than 2% of farmers in the U.S and merely 0.7% in CA. They face systemic barriers keeping them from selling in markets and retailers. 8 Million Californians live in "food deserts," which are areas without access to grocery stores or alternatives for healthy, affordable foods. Our communities are at greater risk of diet related illnesses which can be attributed to the lack of access to healthy food. We believe that by focusing on our local food system, not only can we feed our neighbors, we can also create a substantial economic impact.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Prosperity Market is a mobile farmers market featuring black farmers, producers & chefs. We travel through LA making it easy to support black-owned businesses while creating food access. We host farmers markets, an online marketplace, & community events. Our mobile trailer (coming 2024) will allow us to operate daily, expanding our reach & deepening impact for vendors & communities. We feature 30+ black farmers & businesses. In addition to being a sales platform, we help businesses scale. We offer technical support with marketing, press, certifications, etc. With this grant, we'll expand our wholesale, distribution, & inventory management to support continued business growth. This broadens the supply chain, builds capacity, creates demand, increases sales potential, & brings healthy food directly to vulnerable communities. By accepting CalFresh & increasing enrollment, we can create viable economic activity which helps preserve & create jobs while increasing food access. Our Prosperity Bucks program is free money that we give residents to shop which strengthens the purchasing power of healthy foods in underserved communities. We also have digital bucks which can be used to shop online. We're piloting digital bucks with a housing complex for formerly unhoused seniors in South LA. Our model alleviates challenges caused by inadequate food distribution while creating economic opportunities which contribute to building & sustaining a thriving equitable local ecosystem.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Our success will decrease food insecurity in LA, increase essential black-owned businesses, support income equality, create jobs, & circulate the dollar longer through our communities, which all contributes to a stronger LA. Our short term goal is to launch our mobile trailer and continue our pop-up farmers markets which will support 30 - 60 black farmers & businesses, serve 6 - 12 neighborhoods (particularly South LA), create 5 jobs directly with Prosperity Market & additional jobs for partnering businesses. During the grant cycle, we will introduce a comprehensive vendor technical support & resource program to give businesses the tools to scale. Long term, we'll have multiple Prosperity Market trailers serving designated neighborhoods throughout L.A. If all CalFresh eligible residents enrolled, it would create an additional $1.2 Billion dollars in related economic activity. By accepting CalFresh & increasing enrollment, we can create additional revenue that preserves & creates jobs.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
To date, we've hosted 22 pop-up markets, 25 online markets, 14 produce giveaways, & formed 20+ partnerships with aligned organizations. We feature 30+ local businesses and work with an extended roster of 100+ businesses. We measure the impact of our work through vendor & community surveys. We analyze, evaluate, & implement the feedback received. Sales & capacity growth of our vendors are indicators of the success of our programs. With our support, we've seen the growth of vendors like Tranquilitea Shop securing funding & Gloria's Shito getting a co-packer to scale & meet demand. Vendors find our workshops practical, and have seen instant impact to their marketing and ecommerce sales. We have seen a 69% online sales increase over last year. Our Prosperity Bucks program has been well received by community members and vendors, and we have circulated $7,300 Prosperity Bucks to date. We currently support 50 formerly unhoused residents with monthly Digital Prosperity Bucks.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 130
Indirect Impact: 5,000