#LAgrows: Building a Healthier Community Through Farm-to-Market-to-Table Nutrition & Wellness Education
Rebel Labs Inc.
Social enterprise or B-corps
Rebel Labs has teamed up with two LA-based not-for-profit organizations, Sprouts of Promise and GrowGood (a past LA2050 grant applicant), to launch #LAgrows. The vision is to deliver nutrition, fitness, and wellness education across LA — Grow Better, Shop Better, Cook Better, Eat Better, Live Better — culminating with LA Farmers Market Week. Through online and face-to-face education, engagement, mobilization, and community-building, together we can help LA eliminate obesity and type 2 diabetes.
What does your organization do?
Rebel Labs is a public benefit corporation & Pending Certified B Corp with a vision to lead a science-based rebellion to eliminate obesity & type 2 diabetes, through its online Rebel360 platform.
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- Sprouts of Promise GrowGood
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
The founders of our team organizations share a common goal: to improve communities through health, wellness, and nutrition.
Rebel Labs was founded in 2018 by Charles Haston & Dave Whelan. In 2017, Charles, a former athlete & Marine, had hit 297 pounds and was watching his grandmother pass away from diabetes. Not content with ineffective solutions on the market, he embarked on his own weight loss journey (down 75+ pounds so far) and raised capital to form the nutrition & fitness company that he & millions of others desperately needed. He teamed with Dave, who has spent years at the intersection of technology, health, and wellness. From nutritional products to wearables, genomics to consumer services, Dave has a passion for changing lives through fitness & nutrition.
Within a few short years, Mark Anderson went from investment banker to farmer selling tomatoes at LA farmers markets. His view on healthy living was transformed and inspired by the impact markets had on the health of market goers. He will always remember the first time a customer asked how he was growing his tomatoes, which led to hearing about how shopping at the market made a huge impact on her health. Countless stories like this Mark heard over the years fueled his passion for promoting the power of real food, launching his own farmers markets, and telling his unique story via a TEDx talk: “How I Fell in Love with a Tomato.”
GrowGood is a non-profit organization that runs a 1.5-acre ecologically integrated farm to produce nutritious organic food for the adjacent Bell Shelter for homeless men and women. It sells produce to support the farm, and its programs, including employment training, to help shelter clients move toward independence. Founded in 2011 by Andrew Hunt & Brad Pregerson, GrowGood has continued to “grow” against all odds.
These three organizations coming together to create #LAgrows is no accident. Dave & Mark were business school classmates at UCLA and have known each other for nearly 20 years. Andrew is also an Anderson alum, and Mark sits on the GrowGood board. All three are part of the Anderson CEO Forum, which helps leaders improve their businesses and inspire others. The idea for #LAgrows emerged from one of those meetings.
Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?
- Access to healthy food
- Obesity rates
- Walk/bike/transit score
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
- San Gabriel Valley
- San Fernando Valley
- South LA
- South Bay
- Antelope Valley
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
How will your project make LA the best place to live?
We will expand our existing nutrition videos in both English & Spanish. Rebel Labs Chief Nutrition Officer Michelle Ricker, RDN will develop this in collaboration with Maya Adam, MD, Stanford’s Director of Health Education Outreach.
We will develop a new curriculum that takes our community on a journey from where food is grown (emphasizing local farms & urban farms like GrowGood) to where it is sold (emphasizing farmers markets) to how it is cooked (with some healthy recipes) to how it can be part of a healthy lifestyle (including fitness and yoga).
We will create an online resource of these educational materials that can be used by farmers markets & individuals throughout LA & throughout the year.
#LAgrows will leverage National Farmers Market Week (NFMW), building our own LA Farmers Market Week (LAFMW). We anticipate working with the LA Dept. of Neighborhood Empowerment to build tight relationships with Neighborhood Councils, to help support or create markets across LA. We will also work directly with local markets, activists & organizers, and individuals to utilize these tools.
Finally, we will develop & execute a public call to action & community engagement. This call to action will encourage community members to share their successes via their own social media, which can be aggregated on the #LAgrows website.
While we believe everyone can benefit from this program, we are targeting neighborhoods that are food deserts or that may not already have farmers markets or that have markets that need additional support, and populations that may not have access to adequate nutrition information, education, and inspiration. It is for this reason that we will develop versions of our primary nutrition education for the Spanish-speaking population.
#LAgrows will commence in mid-2019, pilot some of its larger efforts in August 2019 (in conjunction with NFMW), continue to roll out in the following months, and achieve scale in time for LAFMW in August 2020. This will include year-round activities, as well as an ongoing plan for annual LAFMW events.
#LAgrows will have a significant impact on making LA a healthy place to LIVE:
Access to healthy food: Farmers markets provide a measurable increase in access to fresh, nutritious food. 60% of farmers market shoppers in low-income neighborhoods said their market had better prices than grocery stores. Beyond just access, #LAgrows will provide the education and inspiration required to get more people buying, cooking, and consuming healthy food.
Obesity: The vision of Rebel Labs is to eliminate obesity & type 2 diabetes. An understanding of nutrition, healthy cooking, and healthy eating can have a major impact on this metric.
Walk/bike/transit scores: #LAgrows will encourage community members to walk or bike to their local markets. Through Rebel360 content, like “Run Right with Carl Lewis,” we also will be able to give people tools to integrate running into their fitness routines.
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Pilot project (testing a new idea on a small scale to prove feasibility)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
NOTE: A more detailed plan and preliminary nutrition videos (in English) can be found at: https://rebellabs.docsend.com/view/s/k4ibrzqqf7
Pilots at 10-15 farmers markets
Relationships with 10 Neighborhood Councils
Engagement with hundreds of individuals at each market, for a total audience of 5,000-10,000
Ongoing events and activations at 50-100 farmers markets
Relationships with 25-50 Neighborhood Councils
Audience of tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals who are visiting markets, contributing content, and interacting with content
Ongoing gameplan for LA Farmers Market Week
Recognition of LA Farmers Market Week as a model for National Farmers Market Week
A MORE DETAILED TIMELINE, WITH MILESTONES, FOLLOWS:
PHASE I (DEVELOP) — APRIL-JUNE 2019
Pre-market and research in order to hit the ground running
Begin outreach to LA farmers markets
Complete initial English language nutrition course
Develop other example programs and content at Sprouts of Promise farmers markets by Farmer Mark
PHASE II (PILOT) — JULY-SEPTEMBER 2019
Develop Spanish language nutrition course
Develop relationships with 1-2 farmers markets in each LA region (Central LA, East LA, San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, South LA, Westside, South Bay, Antelope Valley), along with associated Neighborhood Council relationships
Create example content at farmers markets, local farms, and urban farms (e.g., GrowGood)
Launch #LAgrows websites and social media
Pilot LA Farmers Market Week in August, in conjunction with National Farmers Market Week
PHASE III (EXPAND) — OCTOBER 2019-MAY 2020
Develop additional content and programs based on Pilot experiences
Develop relationships with 50-100 farmers markets (existing or new) across LA (the LA Times [http://projects.latimes.com/farmers-markets/] lists 229 farmers markets, although some are outside of LA County), along with associated Neighborhood Councils
Expand online presence based on content captured during Pilot
Lead monthly events and activations at farmers markets across LA
Identify partners that might want to support LA Farmers Market Week 2020
PHASE IV (SUSTAIN) — JUNE 2020 AND BEYOND
Create materials and campaign for significant participation across LA in time for LA Farmers Market Week in August
Continue to refine gameplan materials for farmers markets and organizers
Continue to encourage and support creation and sharing of user generated content about nutrition, cooking, fitness, and wellness, centered around farmers markets
Build a foundation for ongoing community-building and activations after grant year ends
SUCCESS WILL BE STRONGLY TIED TO THE LA2050 METRICS, FOR BOTH LIVE AND CONNECT:
LIVE: Access to healthy food: According to the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, 31% of people living in LA do not usually have access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets provide a measurable increase in access to fresh, nutritious food. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, 60% of farmers market shoppers in low-income neighborhoods reported that their market had better prices than the grocery store. In general, farmers markets bring fresh food to areas that need it the most. We will support the growth of these markets. Beyond just access, #LAgrows will provide the education and inspiration required to get more people buying, cooking, and consuming healthy food.
LIVE: Obesity: The vision of Rebel Labs is to eliminate obesity and type 2 diabetes. An understanding of nutrition, healthy cooking, and healthy eating can have a major impact on this metric. In addition, proximity to farmers markets is associated with lower body mass index.
LIVE: Walk/bike/transit scores: #LAgrows will encourage community members to walk or bike to their local farmers markets. Through Rebel360 content, like “Run Right with Carl Lewis,” we also will be able to give people tools to integrate running into their fitness routines.
LIVE: Homelessness: GrowGood, part of the #LAgrow team and a 2016 LA2050 grant applicant, continues to make an impact on homelessness, providing training, jobs, and inspiration to Salvation Army Bell Shelter residents.
LIVE: Self-sufficiency: Local farms and farmers markets can have a tremendous impact on self-sufficiency. Locally-owned retailers, like farmers markets, return 3X sales to the local economy compared to chain retailers. Growers selling locally create 13 full-time jobs per $1 million in revenues, compared to only three for those not selling locally. And 25% of vendors derive their sole source of income from farmers markets (Farmers Market Coalition).
CONNECT: Public/open streets gatherings: According to the Farmers Market Coalition, people who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, compared to 1-2 at a grocery store. In an era of social media and Uber Eats, farmers markets represent massive opportunities to bring people together in a healthy and engaging way. Our nutrition, fitness, and wellness programming will help to increase that interaction and engagement even more.
CONNECT: Participation in neighborhood councils: Neighborhoods and farmers markets go hand-in-hand. #LAgrows intends to collaborate with Neighborhood Councils to engage, grow, and even launch new farmers markets. However, we also see opportunities to help support the NCs themselves. Our in-market programs, events, and activations can help to promote the Neighborhood Councils and perhaps bring new volunteers to them. As role models for their communities, we can promote and share recipes created by community leaders as a starting point for our user-generated content campaigns. Links to participating markets can also feature local NC contacts and engagement opportunities.
CONNECT: Social media friends and connections: Our team organizations have built their communities through a blend of real-world and virtual networking. A core component of #LAgrows will be social media challenges to visit farmers markets, prepare healthy meals, and share them with their friends and connections. As this user-generated content grows, we see tremendous opportunities for the social network to grow and strengthen.
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Access to LA2050 community
- Host public events on the topic your organization’s issue area (e.g. access to capital, education reform, clean energy, etc.)
- Communications support, including traditional media, social media, and LA2050 newsletter
- Introductions to other possible partners
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