Helping small businesses in LA food deserts replace existing, inefficient refrigerators with new efficient models, to be filled with California-grown healthy food.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The County of Los Angeles is currently offering up to two new ENERGY STAR® glass door refrigerators at no cost to eligible small businesses in Los Angeles, through the County’s Healthy Stores Refrigeration Program (HSRP). HSRP is a County initiative to support corner stores and small businesses across the Los Angeles region who continue to face challenges in response to COVID-19, by providing more healthy food options, and funding new energy-efficient refrigerators. Through this initiative, store owners save on energy usage and utility bills while providing fresh and healthy food options for the communities they serve. HSRP is administered by the County of Los Angeles, and is funded by a $1.4 million grant awarded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). To date, 16 stores have participated in the Program and by 2022 HSRP refrigerators will be placed in 80 stores throughout Los Angeles.
The objective of HSRP is to address the current challenges that exist within food deserts by promoting healthy food options in low income communities, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and provide education, outreach, and support to small businesses regarding energy efficiency upgrades and the benefits of offering healthy food options. By participating in the program, store owners save on energy usage and utility bills, while providing non-processed, or minimally processed food options for the communities they serve. The program provides store owners with educational materials and training to successfully source, market, and sell healthy, perishable products such as California-grown fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, and minimally processed prepared foods. HSRP also helps store owners find the right new refrigerator(s), from a wide-range selection, installs the refrigerator(s), supports the recycling process of any old refrigerators, and identifies healthy food options, all at no cost.
“Los Angeles County residents, especially those with limited transportation, depend on their local community grocers for everyday needs, making these stores critical to the health of a community,” shared Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “Through the Healthy Stores Refrigeration Program, the County is committed to making healthy food accessible in these local stores, by providing free, upgraded refrigeration equipment so store owners can stock them with healthy, nutritious food options. Together, we can begin to address the lack of healthy and affordable food items so our communities can thrive.”
“Residents throughout Los Angeles County rely on their local community grocers and corner stores for the essentials,” said Selwyn Hollins, Director of the Internal Services Department for the County. “I am proud that we are supporting these essential businesses and the communities that they serve through the Healthy Stores Refrigeration Program, which provides free upgraded refrigeration equipment that store owners will stock with fresh California grown produce. This program has the triple benefit of increasing fresh food options in our disadvantaged communities, reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in support of County’s environmental goals as well as supporting local and agricultural jobs in our region.”
“Healthy food is extremely important, not only for customers to be able to have access to, but also to be able to know it is always there. And so, a program like this not only took away our old, bad, inefficient equipment, but gave us twice as much in return…”, said Andrew McDowell, owner of With Love Market and Cafe in Pico Union. “…We increased our refrigerated vegetable selection by 50% because of the [HSRP] program. In my opinion, it’s the best program I’ve experienced from the County.”
For more information contact a Program Representative at HSRP@isd.lacounty.gov.