SÜPRMARKT: Uplifting South LA community with access to fresh food

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SÜPRMARKT is a low-cost organic grocery that’s making healthy eating a reality for many LA residents. Photo by John F. Peters.

A grocery store is a bedrock for a community — a place to buy a mix of fresh, frozen, canned, and packaged food to feed yourself and/or your family.  

There are 40,000 in the U.S., less than there were five years ago. Of those 40,000, approximately 2,000 are in LA County. Sixty are in South Los Angeles, which has a population of over 1.3 million people. That’s 22,156 residents per store compared to West LA, where the average is 11,150. Those numbers are all from research by the Community Health Councils Food Resource Development Workgroup.

Olympia Auset is the driving force behind SÜPRMARKT, a low-cost organic grocery that’s making healthy eating a reality for many LA residents. 

She says “food apartheid” is a better phrase than “food desert” because the former gives agency for change. “This is something that has been made by man, and the word ‘desert’ implies that it is something that occurs naturally in nature. If you tell someone there is a desert in a place, the person is not going to feel very obligated or activated to fix it. They're just going to say, ‘Hey there's no water here, let's move somewhere else.’” 

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Evan Kleiman