Healthy food initiative in LA’s Promise Zone to receive $350k

Healthy food initiative in LA’s Promise Zone to receive $350k Federal Grant from USDA


LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Leadership For Urban Renewal Network (LURN), a community development non-profit, a grant through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program. LURN was awarded $350,580 over the next three years to support COMPRA Foods (Community Markets Purchasing Real and Affordable), a social enterprise cooperative administered in partnership with the LA Food Policy Council, that aims to distribute produce and healthy snacks to small convenience stores in low-income neighborhoods.


“Mom and pop” neighborhood markets make up the majority of food retail in many low-income communities, yet small markets struggle to procure healthy products at reasonable prices. Though Los Angeles is home to the nation’s largest produce terminal market, small businesses with limited resources are unable to access agricultural products available due to time limitations, finances and capacity. Limited healthy food options contribute to disproportionate rates of diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, in low-income communities of color.


In the absence of major grocery stores in low-income areas, COMPRA Foods aims to establish a strong and sustainable connection between agricultural producers, distributors, and the small food retailers that local residents depend on in low-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles.


COMPRA Foods currently operates in communities like South LA and Boyle Heights, where the lack of healthy and affordable food designate these areas as “food deserts” and “food swamps.” Federal funds will be used to expand COMPRA Foods to similar communities in the federally designated Promise Zone area in Los Angeles. COMPRA Foods will complement the other efforts taking place in Los Angeles’ Promise Zone that are helping to cultivate a demand for healthy food. The Promise Zone is a federal designation that prioritizes resources to improve the lives of residents in low-income communities. There are only 5 Promise Zones nationwide.


COMPRA Foods was designed in partnership with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC).  Since 2012, LAFPC has provided business and leadership development training and technical assistance to neighborhood markets to help them sell healthy food through a program called the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network. Other key partners in the program include Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA), and Team Friday.


LURN is a nonprofit community and economic development based in Boyle Heights. Its mission is to bring people together to design, build and promote sustainable communities that allow people to live their greatest potential. More information can be found at


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Scott Visits DC, Gives Obama a High-Five


By Scott Chan

The week of September 14th, Scott had the opportunity to fly out to Washington DC for the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) VOICES conference. The conference brought together API leaders from all over the nation with the goal of addressing the health disparities we see locally through policy/advocacy at the Federal level.

A few highlights from the conference: IMG_20150914_093653

1. Keynote speaker was our very own surgeon general, Vivek Murthy! Talk about an all-star in the API health world. He shared about the need to look at how the environment can impact health; it’s not just about what we eat and how much we exercise (that’s what we’ve been sayin’!).

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Marathon: Injury Clinic


By Sina Uipi

I’ve missed out on the past few weeks of training, but I’m so proud of my fellow team members for continuing to build up their miles and completing a 10k.  It was good to finally be back this past weekend because we had an injury prevention clinic hosted by our substitute coach, Coach Christie.  I was eager to attend because I was concerned about some pain in my feet I had a couple weeks ago after breaking in my new running shoes. But Coach Christie answered a lot of questions and I felt relieved after hearing her speak on common injuries that can occur while training for a marathon. The importance of healthy nutrition couldn’t have been stressed enough, and I definitely needed that reminder, especially eating before and after a run. We also learned about the importance of strength training, which is beginning to make a lot more sense to me now that we’ve begun doing it as our midweek training. I can already feel a difference in flexibility as a result of the strength training, and it pushes me to get my miles in during the week as well. This marathon training is something brand new for me, even though I come from an athletic family, running was never our main sport. But I am so grateful for this challenge and the team behind it to make sure we cross that finish line!

California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), a Tongan perspective


By Sina Uipi

Attending CEJA was my second visit to the state capitol and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited to learn more about environmental justice. I appreciate the fact that the majority of folks who attended were people of color and all the programming was organized from the workshops to legislative visits. I could tell that they put in a lot of effort to make sure it was community based, and that we moved together from beginning to end. It reminded of what we’re building for F.A.B., and it’s also a very Tongan way of doing things. Everyone has a role to play for the betterment of the community as a whole, and every step is intentional.

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APIOPA Hosts Fruitful Summer Mixer!


*Photo credit: Mike Murase, Sina Uipi

This past week APIOPA hosted a summer mixer where we invited new and old friends to network, eat yummy food, and to learn about what APIOPA is up to.

Here’s a few key points we shared. Over this next year, with your help/involvement, APIOPA plans to do 3 big things:

  • Make Asian fruits and veggies more affordable to all community members through our Roots CSA program.

  • Make the streets of Chinatown safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, so cars are not constantly in duels with my aunties and uncles on the streets.

  • Bring Asian Americans outdoors in to nature to not only encourage greater use of our national treasures, but also to engage our communities on discussions of why access to nature is so difficult for people of color.

If these programs speak to you, please consider becoming an APIOPA sustainer!

Free Bicycle Safety Class!


Want to improve your cycling skills? Looking to learn safe cycling techniques? Want to feel more comfortable riding on City streets?

If you answered yes to any of the above and are a beginner/intermediate-level cyclist this is the class for you.

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Bike Counts in Chinatown!


APIOPA is partnering with the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, UCLA Lewis Center and other organizations for the ‪#‎LABikePedCount‬ 2015 on September 16th and 19th!

We need YOUR help in figuring just how safe the streets of Chinatown are. APIOPA advocated to add one intersection in Chinatown to this large count, and now we need YOUR help to make sure all shifts are covered. All those who sign up get a spiffy shirt…for free!!

Hit up Scott if you can make it! Email

Tongan Faith Leaders Take the Reigns


Taking the Reins was a new experience for me. Along with me was Katherine, a teenager from my church youth, my cousin Mele, Sina, Scott, and Alisi. We started off with meeting the chickens, ducks, and goats. We also took part in cleaning their areas, renewing their drinking water, and picking the eggs that the chickens had laid. It is a totally different morning routine than what I usually do. Then we walked around picking vegetables from the garden to cook for lunch. It amazed me how effortless it was to just pick veggies from your backyard, cook them, enjoy it, and it didn’t take much time either. As soon as we finished cleaning and cutting the vegetables, with just splashes of olive oil, it was done and very delicious. After lunch we made our way into the barn to meet the horses. It was great! We learned about their food, their health, and their routines. It was the closest I’ve ever been to a horse. I found it very therapeutic to clean and brush the horses hair because it’s like having “me” time with a horse whose all ears. Also, to see Katherine and Mele happy to be experiencing something different brought me joy. Hopefully we get a chance to go back and take more girls from my church youth. Thank you F.A.B. for a great experience.- Tutanga Tuihalamaka (Lennox United Methodist Church)

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Last Chance to Join APIOPA LA Marathon Team!


All the info plus sign up link here:

Roots CSA Covered in Alhambra Source!


APIOPA wrote an article about why our CSA is a way to fight climate change. Check out our front page article on the Alhambra Source here: