As a way to advance the discussion on legalizing street vending in Los Angeles (link), local organizations, with the help of local city government support, have launched El Mercado del Pueblo, a pilot program that brings street vendors together at a designated vending area where they can sell their goods (link).
On September 1, the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (link) (ELACC) and Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar launched El Mercado del Pueblo in the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, which will be held every Saturday evening from 5 to 10 pm (link). With the support of other local and affiliated organizations, notably the Leadership for Urban Renewal Now (link) (LURN) and Carecen (link), the pilot program was launched after two years of ongoing efforts.
ELACC sees this initiative as a short term solution to its efforts, the larger goal, again, being to legalize street vending so that permitted street vendors can sell their goods anywhere in the city. It has connected its street vending initiative to the additional effort of bringing more diverse food resources into the poorly serviced community, which has minimal access to fresh, healthy foods; ELACC’s approach, then, assumes that street vending can aid with cultivating healthier lifestyles in the obesity and hypertension-plagued community (link).
With the help of LURN and Carecen, ELACC has organized several town hall meetings and events to rally around street vending legalizing efforts, including the APA conference workshop held in April (link). Days prior to the Mercado’s opening, it, along with LURN, held a town hall meeting to gather input from street vendors and other stakeholders on how to proceed with the legalization efforts (link).
Organizers see theses efforts as effective and responsive ways for creating long-term, sustainable solutions to this old, tangled, and often misrepresented phenomenon. More so, it is thought that by creating regular forums around the issue, the vendors themselves can more effectively convey their intentions, the case for legalized street vending, as well as their desired legal outcomes from these efforts to other stakeholders. The picture below is indicative of the kind of enthusiasm these forums and outreach efforts have created around the cause.