Posted on December 4, 2014
FAB Visits El Zorro Market
One of the goals of F.A.B. is making food more culturally relevant, accessible, and affordable in local markets for the Tongan community. This means creating spaces for Pacific Islander health in a place such as Lennox, where it doesn’t exist. F.A.B. has been in conversation with the owner of a local market called El Zorro in Lennox, to discuss selling Tongan products that the community would purchase. They began to stock up a few items such as corned beef (kapa pulu) and coconut cream (kapa niu), something that is usually paired with nutritious greens and vegetables as apart of Tongan cuisine. As a warm-up exercise before our workout session at Lennox UMC, we mobilized folks and walked over to El Zorro market to meet with the owner. There were about ten of us altogether and one woman who joined us lives a block away from the church and market. It was very useful to have her there to share the kind of foods she would buy for her family. Everyone seemed excited about the potential and possibility of having a market nearby that would sell affordable Tongan food.
Although the corned beef and coconut cream sell for great affordable prices, it still isn’t enough to attract Tongans to the market. When Tongan people shop for food, they always buy food in stocks and they like to buy it all in one place. One reason for this is so that they can have it at home for a long period of time, which would limit multiple number of trips to the store. Another is for church and/or family gatherings, especially during the holidays, cooking food for large groups of people is essential. As a group, we shared items we would like to see at El Zorro, such as; boxes of yams, taro (talo), cassava, crackers (ma pakupaku), slabs of lambs, pork bellies, taro leaves (lu) and many more. The owner was very negotiable and supportive of getting these items and selling it at an affordable rate. Typically, people get it from other markets for expensive prices or they commute to other cities.
Lennox United Methodist Church is one of the most populated Tongan congregations in Los Angeles and is only a five minute walk from El Zorro. There is a large amount of Tongans living in the Hawthorne/Lennox/Inglewood areas and once they know of a local market such as El Zorro that sells affordable Tongan food, they would definitely purchase products from there. It will save people money, time, and brings forth a sense of community by building relationships with small businesses that support healthy food access .
The meeting at El Zorro was a success and we are all excited for the next steps to take in working together. We were so pleased by the owner’s willingness to provide products for us in his market, and we look forward to see it happening in the near future. The energy was great as we walked back to the church to begin our workout session!
If you would like to visit El Zorro Market, you can find them at:
4417 Lennox Boulevard | Lennox, CA 90304
Open Every Day from 9:30am-8pm