Jewish groups work to fight Eastside 'food deserts'
As Jews worldwide prepare to celebrate next week their liberation from slavery, a group of Los Angeles Jews went to Boyle Heights on Sunday to ask that variation of their traditional Passover Seder question.
The answer, however, did not recount Jewish oppression in Egypt as is customary. Activists from major Jewish organizations instead focused on what they see as a modern injustice afflicting their fellow Angelenos, marking the day with a new push to bring quality grocery markets and healthful food to underserved neighborhoods such as East Los Angeles.
"We want to transform the food deserts of Los Angeles into a promised land of access to healthy food," said Elissa Barrett, executive director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, which helped organize a tour Sunday to showcase the problem. "Food, liberation and sustenance are closely intertwined in Judaism."
Jewish community groups aim to broaden the growing local and national campaigns to attract more supermarkets to poor neighborhoods, where limited access to healthful food has been linked to obesity, diabetes and other diseases. Programs are sprouting up in Louisiana, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania.Read the full story here.
--Teresa Watanabe in Boyle Heights
Photo: Kinneret Klein, 7, eats an apple at a meeting of Jewish community groups at Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights. They want to boost access to healthful food. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times / March 21, 2010)