grocery store

Julie Polter 09-28-2016
 Jason Person / Shutterstock

 Jason Person / Shutterstock

KARLA VASQUEZ, director of community programs at With Love Market and Café in south Los Angeles, takes a live-and-let-live approach to cooking and nutrition. In classes at the recently opened market—whose mission includes increasing access to affordable fresh food in an underserved area—she encourages people to try new foods. But the bottom line, she told Sojourners: “You don’t like kale? I will never make you eat it.”

Vasquez doesn’t teach a catechism of “healthy vs. unhealthy” foods. A community organizer with culinary training, she instead focuses on giving class participants tools for healthier, but realistic, eating: how to understand nutrition labels and cook those healthy ingredients, so they can have food that will work for them. So in a class on “guilty pleasures” Vasquez discourages the guilt, instead offering ways to gently alter beloved dishes to maximize flavor and make them more nutritious, rather than give them up completely. She calls a class on all-vegetable dishes “cooking the rainbow,” emphasizing the beauty and taste of dishes made vibrant with a variety of produce—because she knows if she used the word “vegan,” many of her students might balk. “They’d say ‘That’s not for us—that’s what hipsters eat!’” she says.

With Love Market ( is a for-profit business that promotes a social bottom line. Along with the food market and classes, there is a café and a community garden. With Love pays its staff an above-average wage and specifically recruits employees from the neighborhood, hoping to help long-time Latino/a and African-American residents stay despite the pressures of gentrification. And it tries to create a space where long-term and newer residents of all backgrounds, plus students from the nearby University of Southern California, feel welcome.

Brian McLaren 08-23-2011

110823-prayinTo the farmers who grow our food, the harvesters who pick it, the transporters who bring it to market, the grocers who present it, and the cooks who prepare it.

Here's the prayer we prayed at a nearby Publix grocery in the produce section on Friday:

A Prayer for Publix

Living God, you are the Creator of this beautiful and fertile world. You made sun, rain, soil, air, seed, and seasons. We praise you for the green of lettuce, the yellow of lemon, the orange of a tangerine, and especially for the bright red of a tomato. They are beautiful to our eyes, delicious to our taste buds, and nourishing to our bodies. We pray to the Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.

Kathryn Reklis 06-20-2011
As I play with my young son, walk to the grocery store, or wait for a subway, I feel the presence of emails I haven't answered, Facebook invites I haven't responded to, tweets I haven't sent.

Will you be giving up chocolate for Lent? Coffee? Then why not fast for justice? Why not abstain from shopping at grocery stores that scoff at the notion of Fair Trade for farmworkers here at home?

Julie Clawson 01-18-2011
My daughter came home from school recently with a worksheet that described life before and after Martin Luther King Jr.
Ernesto Tinajero 01-14-2011
A bullet discharged. Then another. And another. And another. And suddenly, a grocery store is transformed from the mundane to the horrible, hell on earth. People lay dead.
Jennifer Kottler 08-12-2010
"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)
Tracey Bianchi 06-30-2010
I love the clerks in my local grocery store. The same women scan and weigh and slide my yogurt and tortilla chips every week.
LaVonne Neff 03-29-2010

My friend Irene Groot decided to try the Lenten Experiment this year. "I recently sent off a couple of hundred dollars to a local soup kitchen," she e-mailed me this morning. "That's the money I saved taking up your challenge."

Tracey Bianchi 03-01-2010
Last week I was at the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon. I was sans children, and when that happens a trip to the grocery store can feel like spring break.