Written by Estefani Alarcon, Staff Writer
Driving south on Vermont Avenue is nothing special until your eyes drift to a colorful building that stands out amongst others. They are dull compared to the green, grey and orange building with the With Love Market & Café sign right in the middle. The curiosity builds and you need answers.
What was once a costume storage for a Hollywood studio is now the light at the end of the tunnel providing healthy food options for the West Adams community. With Love Market & Café opened on March 14, 2016. Their grand opening answered prayers for those who travel more than 7 miles for an affordable, organic grocery store. As you walk in, you’re welcomed in thirteen different languages by a sign on the floor. There are food icons on every section of the market for people to visually see what they are looking for–language not being a barrier.
The founder, Andrew McDowell, lived in the neighborhood and had to repeatedly travel far to have access to healthy food. With this in mind, With Love aims to end food injustices and food deserts in lower income communities by providing families and members with affordable, organic, and healthy food.
“People from the community deserve healthy good food, we want to do things out of love with love,” said Karla Vasquez, Director of Community Programs. “I want to cater to the community, I ask them: what do you want to see?”
The market and café does not only offer a delicious selection of food and fresh groceries, but also free classes. They offer various classes such as yoga, cooking, game nights twice a month and they also collaborate with street poets for an evening composed of inspiring poems.
Vasquez holds a free cooking class on Tuesdays from 11am-12pm. People who attend these classes are not only able to sample the recipes, but are also given the opportunity to add something new to their menu. “When you start teaching others what you love, you get better,” she said, “This is not just a job for me, I understand wanting to be healthy. I want people to understand that they deserve health, and help them find empowerment for themselves.”
In the upcoming months they will also offer comedy shows and classes. “The community has so much to give, our people have so much to give. We are our own resources by contributing to the community. You’re a resource, what do you like?” she continued.
“With Love is a different kind of establishment, when you come in you feel the love for food, product, community and work. You feel the experience,” Karla expressed.
There are 3 simple ways that the community can contribute to With Love’s vision:
- Contribute. Visit the market, bring a friend to the cooking class or yoga class.
- Talk to Karla. What workshop(s) would you want to offer? Anything you want to do, they are open to hear your ideas and make it happen.
- Donations to their community programs. Any amount is appreciated.
Stop by With Love and experience it for yourself. Feel the love that they have for the community as they do everything with love. The ambiance and energy in there will make you feel as if you’re at home or visiting your abuelita. It also helps you appreciate your neighborhood and those contributing to positive change.
Photography by: Estefani Alarcon