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healthy retail intervention for

latinx equity

Presentation Language: English

Interpretation Available from English to Spanish


Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Latinx populations in the nation of 4.92 million people. In historically marginalized neighborhoods of Los Angeles, 52.4% of the Latinx communities have limited to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Due to the high concentration of fast food restaurants and limited access to fresh affordable produce, residents in these neighborhoods suffer from high rates of diet-related diseases. Corner store transformations programs, such as the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN), are an effective approach to addressing these disparities in Latinx and other communities of color. Developed by the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, the largest Food Policy Council in the country, the HNMN program is rooted in business strategy, food equity, and store owner leadership and draws from a decade of experience in addressing food insecurity through urban planning, community finance and public health. Since 2014, HNMN has worked with over 200 store owners, with about 85% of retailers identifying as Latinx. Within the past year, 95% of stores increased, maintained, or introduced new produce inventory and 73% of stores introduced new healthy snacks or expanded healthy snack offerings. The presentation will dive into a case study of a second-generation Latina millennial store owner who has successfully transformed her store into a thriving health retailer during her participation in the HNMN program. This presentation will offer insight to the HNMN program’s successful model for healthy retail conversions that increases healthy food access in low-income communities of color, further empowers Latinx store owners in their leadership as healthy food advocates, and reiterates the corner store space as essential for community well-being.

Learning Objectives:​​

  • Objective 1:

    • Identify how corner store transformations address food insecurity and can be adapted to other regions

  • Objective 2:

    • Implement healthy retail interventions for food equity in Latinx communities

  • Objective 3:

    • Develop a healthy retail transformation model to be a form of anti-displacement and improved access to healthy food for communities threatened by gentrification

  • Objective 4:

    • Enhance neighborhood markets as community spaces through community partnerships    


Alba Velasquez - Abstract 13.jpg

alba velasquez

Program Director, Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Alba Maria Velasquez is the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN) Program Director for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. In this role, Alba oversees the administrative and programmatic activities involved with HNMN, including program planning and evaluation, reporting, and technical assistance to storeowners. Previously, she worked at National Health Foundation for three years, where she oversaw their Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention grant and was involved in market makeover work with youth in South LA. Alba received her Masters of Urban Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Amber Orozco - Abstract 13.jpg

amber orozco

Program Associate, Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Amber Orozco is a Program Associate with the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network. As part of the HNMN team, Amber provides direct technical assistance to store owners and builds their capacity to be successful healthy retailers. Amber is a food justice scholar who brings diverse domestic and international research experiences, collaborating and working with communities in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., South Carolina, Costa Rica, and Kenya. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whittier College in Environmental Studies, a Master of Arts in International Affairs from American University, and a Masters of Arts in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.

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