Euclid Market: Transformation Part I

Date posted: October 7, 2013

Community Liaisons Alma Reyes + Shirley Ramirez paint shelving for Euclid Market.

Happy Fall, everyone!

The Boyle Heights Market Makeovers have been moving forward all summer, and we are now finally transforming Euclid Market! Just as we did with Sociedad Market, we worked with Nathan Cheng and the Community Liaisons to brainstorm floor plan options, color schemes, and overall store designs. The Community Liaisons started cleaning and painting the shelving in Euclid Market last week. Once all of the shelves are cleaned, painted, and rearranged, we can move forward with interior and then exterior painting.

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PARK(ing) Day 2013: Boyle Heights Edition

Date posted: September 23, 2013

FRESCO: Greening the food desert one market (and parklet) at a time.

PARK(ing) Day 2013 was an especially exciting day for us at Public Matters. This was our first year participating in the international event to turn a parking space into a park, just for one day. We were able to activate the corner of 4th and Mathews in Boyle Heights while raising awareness about the need for open space in our city. Additionally, the Community Liaisons were able to increase awareness about food justice and the importance of healthy eating. Read the rest of this entry »

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

Date posted: September 14, 2013

Community Liaisons practicing a skit they developed after learning about social marketing strategies from Marie Estrada.

It’s been a busy, fun and productive summer beginning the transformation of two new markets in Boyle Heights as part of our work with the UCLA-USC Center for Population Health + Health Disparities (CPHHD). Thanks to Public Matters receiving an LA2050 award from the Goldhirsh Foundation, thirteen Community Liaisons have moved full circle from high school students in Proyecto MercadoFRESCO classes to paid community leaders and project contributors. During the eleven weeks of summer, the Community Liaisons were guided through a learning process for successful Market Makeovers, which included a lot of work on the ground as well.  They created social marketing strategies, captured and visualized store inventory and layout data for both Boyle Heights markets, and began determining what the inventory of a healthy corner store would be.

Community Liaisons designed a skyline mural representing Boyle Heights, created stencils, and painted the mural inside of Sociedad Market.

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KCET: Artbound, 09.10.2013

Date posted: September 10, 2013

Brettany Shannon, “Blurry By Design: Public Matters on Social Enterprise”, KCET: Artbound, 09.10.2013

I have twice had the great fortune to work with Public Matters, and both times received an education in their strategic adaptability. The first time was in 2011, when Public Matters was one fourth of the collective producing Out the Window, the first-ever video art intervention by Los Angeles youth and community-based artists on Los Angeles Metro buses for Metro riders. L.A. media arts organization Freewaves coordinated, UCLA’s REMAP (the Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance) developed the technical capacity, and Echo Park Film Center and Public Matters provided the youth-generated content. The videos are tremendous, reflecting on L.A. in uniquely personal, yet distinctly socially minded terms. Public Matters East Los Angeles class’ videos about life in a food desert are particularly powerful. You’ll find the students’ learning through creating, and even their becoming social actors, to be totally tangible — media art’s great capacity for engaging individuals in questions of identity, participation, process, and context brought to brilliant pedagogical bear.

None of this is a mistake.

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Sociedad Market: Transformation Part 2

Date posted: August 22, 2013

Power washing and old sign removal are the first steps to painting the exterior of a market.

After spending the past few weeks transforming the interior of Sociedad Market, we’ve finally been able to move on to the exterior! If ever there were a team-building task, it is in transforming the exterior of a corner store. The Community Liaisons started by power washing the walls and removing all of the old signage. The walls were then painted a vibrant red hue which really pops on the corner of Whittier and Mott. Read the rest of this entry »

Sociedad Market: Transformation Part 1

Date posted: August 2, 2013

Miri, with her Boyle Heights letters - to be painted in the back of Sociedad Market.

The interior transformation of Sociedad Market is well underway. We started by looking at the existing floor plan and experimenting with new ways of laying out the store with the Community Liaisons and Nathan Cheng. Reanne engaged the Community Liaisons on their creative visions for the interior and exterior of the store to determine the red and gray color scheme and the urban feel of the design.

Some of the themes explored by the Community Liaisons for Sociedad Market.

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KCET: Artbound, 07.17.2013

Date posted: July 17, 2013

Lilybeth Hernandez, “I Was a Teenage Avocado”, KCET: Artbound, 07.17.2013

SEE THE VIDEO: Lilybeth >>

The transformation to Teenage Avocado was not spontaneous; I didn’t suddenly wake up and find myself a 5′ 7″ anthropomorphic avocado. It was gradual, one that I would say began with Public Matters, Proyecto MercadoFRESCO, and a concept: food deserts.

My first appearance as an avocado was at a neighborhood parade commemorating Mexican Independence Day in East Los Angeles. I grew up attending the parade with my family each year. It’s of particular importance in my community. It’s a tradition. When Public Matters asked me to participate in the parade, I agreed — with some trepidation. I am not overly coordinated or particularly theatrical, but VELA — The Volunteers of East Los Angeles, the local non-profit organization we’d be working with — was close to my heart. That day during the parade, dressed in my avocado costume, I performed and passed out fresh produce while promoting the local farmers’ market, healthy eating, and Proyecto MercadoFRESCO. In retrospect, Mexican Independence Day was the gateway, the jumping point towards being game for just about anything and a big step in my overall character development.

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Floor Plans, Inventory, and Data Visualization

Date posted: July 12, 2013

One of the first steps in the store transformation process after the stores have been chosen is to document the current configuration and inventory. This information helps us make decisions on what to change, and showing the Before and After is always a testament to the amount of progress that’s been made. In order to do this, the Community Liaisons first measured the interior of the markets to determine their square footage. Then they measured all of the shelves, counters, refrigerators, and end caps – all while documenting the inventory on each. This laborious, multi-week task was well worth the effort. With all of the information they collected, we were able to draw an accurate floor plan of both Sociedad and Euclid Markets. Additionally, we were able to visualize the inventories of the markets in a systematic way to see exactly how much of what products were being sold in the markets. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Marketing Workshops with Marie Estrada

Date posted: June 24, 2013

The Community Liaisons and Public Matters had the honor of working with and learning from Marie Estrada, social marketing guru, for the past two weeks. Marie provided everyone with an introduction to marketing on the first day of the summer program. She led a discussion on the marketing and promotion strategies that were used in East Los Angeles, and what strategies should be used in Boyle Heights. Marie also worked closely with the Community Liaisons to help them understand the importance of storytelling, and aided them in writing and telling their own stories. Why are they a part of this program? Why do they care about healthy food access and healthy eating? What are they doing about it? In addition to writing their stories, the Community Liaisons practiced reading their stories out loud, and recorded each other in front of the video camera.

Marie going over the importance of storytelling with the Community Liaisons.

Community Liaison Andy reading his story to the camera.

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Field Trip to the Grocery Store!

Date posted: June 13, 2013

Community Liaisons entering Northgate Market to buy ingredients for lunch. Credit: Marie Estrada.

Today we took the Community Liaisons on a field trip to Northgate Market on 4th St. and Soto St. in Boyle Heights to buy ingredients and prepare a fresh lunch. Teams of three were given $15 and the task to create a healthy and delicious lunch. This exercise helped kick off the summer lunch stipend program, suggested by our colleague Nathan Cheng. For the duration of the summer program, the Community Liaisons will be reimbursed up to $5 a day if they eat a healthy lunch. They’ll need to provide us with receipts and a food diary to prove what they’ve eaten, which will also make them more aware of what they eat every day.

Community Liaisons shopping for produce and bulk items. Credit: Marie Estrada.

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