News Update: August 18, 2014

The next Hunger Action LA meeting is Friday August 29, 10 am to 12 noon, at the Hunger Action LA offices in St. Mary’s Church, 961 S Mariposa (enter at parking lot, 960 S Normandie, @ San Marino.) We’ll continue with next steps in campaign to restore benefits to California’s SSI/SSP program for seniors and people with disabilities.  Please RSVP to [email protected]


  1. Seven Thousand New LA Farmers Market Bonus Program Customers in July:
  2. LA Food Policy Council August Network Meeting This Thursday August 21
  3. Champions Against Hunger and Poverty Award Nominations



1. Seven Thousand New Farmers Market Bonus Program Customers in July: 

Thanks to a convergence of two benefit programs , the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program and Market Match,  over seven thousand new customers from low income families were introduced to fresh farm grown fruits and vegetables at LA County farmers’ markets in the last two weeks of July.

The distribution of Market Match coupons to WIC participants at 14 farmers markets in Los Angeles by Hunger Action LA and SEE LA (Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles) was  coordinated with Public Health Foundation WIC’s own distribution of federally funded Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons. Families could obtain up to $40 extra in bonus coupons, solely for farm grown fruits and vegetables. 

The Market Match coupons are funded by First 5 LA (for families with children 5 and under.) Other funding sources contribute to Market Match as well including the Archstone Foundation (for seniors.) 

While anticipating higher than usual participation, the market operators, farmers, and Market Match personnel were astonished to see lines of up to 150 people, some waiting  patiently for over an hour in the hot sun. Lines stretched around corners and spilled out of some markets altogether. 

In East LA, over $6,000 was distributed in one day to over 300 participants. In East Hollywood, police had to reshuffle the line so it did not block escalators to the Red Line. In Echo Park, the line stretched down the sides of buildings on Sunset Blvd. In Pomona, the line formed at 6:30 am for a market opening at 7:30 am. All told, about $100,000 was distributed for fresh fruits and vegetables at 14 markets where the distribution was coordinated with Public Health Foundation Enterprises, from July 17 to July 31. 

“Another day in paradise. Paradise being defined as a lot of hungry people receiving care, dignity and assistance in stretching what little money is available for food for their families. Just the finest volunteer group imaginable also”, said Harry Brown Hiegel, manager of Pomona Valley Farmers Market (and actually the co founder of the two longest running farmers markets in LA, the Gardena and Adams/Vermont markets.)

People are not just spending the free coupons, but are spending more of their own money, with Market Match acting as a boost----families get $1 free for each on they spend up to $10. (Bonuses were higher during the promotional weeks.)  Pomona’s market had just acquired its EBT (CalFresh –processing ) point of sale machine: they went from a few dollars in sales to over $200 average in the couple of weeks that the joint collaboration with WIC occurred.


“The Market Match saved our market” said another market manager, where 300 participants arrived on July 17, more customers in one day than in the previous month at the market.


Farmers ran out of food to sell at several markets during the first week of the distribution.


Hunger Action LA and its partners, SEE-LA and The Ecology Center, are now moving to capitalize on the momentum of the distribution of Market Match.  The program has been shown to be beneficial to farmers and consumers alike, with farmers using the additional income to boost production in the following year and consumers obtaining more healthy food for their families, that they would not have been able to afford.


The Market Match program is operated at a total of 23 markets in LA County, with 14 of them in the geographic zone covered by PHFE WIC and allowing for the coordination of the two programs. For more information see


2. LA Food Policy Council August Network Meeting This Thursday August 21

The LA Food Policy Council will hold their August Network Meeting next Thursday, August 21. The topic is food and restorative justice in schools and prisons and will explore the intersection of food, heath and the criminal justice system. Restorative justice is a means for addressing the root causes underlying crime and used to repair harm-doing without excessive criminalization and incarceration.

Good Food can be useful to restorative justice programs because it can be a therapeutic means for formerly incarcerated individuals to get back on their feet, both in terms of their nutrition and health as well as vocational opportunities. Food and restorative justice can also be used together for solving conflicts and creating a healthy culture at schools as a means to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline affecting so many youth of color.

Come explore these themes and more with leaders in food advocacy and restorative justice and help us expand our notions of what a "Good Food LA" can look like. Please RSVP on Eventbrite by August 20, contact Anisha Hingorani at ahingorani[at]goodfoodla[dot]org or 213-922-9755 if you have any questions.


What: LA Food Policy Council August Network Meeting

When: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 1:30 – 5:00 pm 

Where: The California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

3. Champions Against Hunger and Poverty Award Nominations

Do you know a person or a business that has made outstanding community contributions to reduce hunger and poverty in Los Angeles?  Nominate them as a Champion Against Hunger and Poverty. Hunger Action LA (HALA) is awarding people, organizations, and companies whose work meets with its mission at its annual dinner on Thursday November 13, 2014 at Kavar Banquet Hall in East Hollywood.

Funds raised for this event will go towards the support of training and advocacy for the community on nutrition, food issues and policies; to support the publication of The People’s Guide; and to support bonus food vouchers for low income consumers through the Market Match program, now at 18 Farmers Markets.

Help us to identify unsung heroes who are working tirelessly on behalf of others and celebrate them at the HALA Awards and Dinner Ceremony.  Nominations must be submitted by September 5th to allow nominee selection. Award recipients will receive complimentary dinner at event, award, and special recognition at HALA dinner, website, newsletter, and media advisory for event. 


To submit a nomination: Use the form at


For more information contact Frank Tamborello at (213) 388-8228 or [email protected]

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