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Credit: East LA Community Corporation (Facebook)

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).

Credit: East LA Community Corporation (Facebook)

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.

Credit: East LA Community Corporation (Facebook)

4 thoughts on “Los Angeles’ El Mercado del Pueblo and Street Vending Initiative

  1. I think this is a great program and I completely support street vendors right vend legally, but I don’t support the food quality that street vendors offer. Unfortunately, street vendors are adding to the obesity epidemic in our communities. They provide easy access to cheap, unhealthy food. I honestly don’t know of any street vendors that sell healthy food. I was born/raised and continue to live in East LA and most of the street vendors in my community (with the exception of fruit vendors) sell not so fresh foods high in fat, sodium and cholesterol. I know these are hard working people just trying to make an honest living, but I don’t think their main concern is to provide their clientele with fresh, healthy food. It makes me sad to see obese families standing around a street taco stand.

    El Mercado del Pueblo should host workshops for street vendors in which they teach them healthier alternative ways of cooking, healthy meal options and education in food safety and sanitation.

    • Hi Jaqui — I think you’ll be happy to hear that the folks at LURN and ELACC are actively trying to institute programs that connect street vendors and, consequently, local residents with healthier foods as a way to tackle the issues you mention. Along with that, they’re hoping to partner with others that can help with designing and building more spaces that promote physical activity in and around East Los Angeles. You can learn more about all of this here: http://www.lurnnetwork.org/work/street-vendor/

  2. Pingback: Effort to legalize street food vending in Los Angeles continues | Boyle Heights Beat

  3. Pingback: L.A. Street Vending in 2050 | {FAVEL issues}

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