This evening, eight street vendors will be open for business to raise funds so they can sell legally at a future evening farmers market in Boyle Heights. While the public munches on food like tacos dorados, and pupusas, their spent money will go toward helping the street vendors buy equipment and cover other overhead costs. The vendors will be open from 5:00 to 10:00 P.M. in front of the offices of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation, 530 South Boyle Avenue.
The street vendors sold food at the informal Breed Street Food Fair until the police forced them out in 2009.
“It actually created a safe market. People were more vigilant when they were in mass numbers. And then they weren’t prey to negative sources,”said Mike Dennis, ELACC’s director of community organizing. If enough money is raised – the goal is $15,000 – the evening farmers market could bring back a Breed Street style of community interaction, Dennis said.
The equipment most street vendors currently use don’t adhere to local codes for food vendors because they are makeshift. These carts and stands are cost effective, they only cost a couple hundred dollars. In comparison, the more expensive equipment that adheres to health and safety codes cost nearly $1,500 in most cases.
Boyle Heights resident Jessica Perez highlights the event on her Mis Neighbors blog and gives her local take on the situation:
Neighborhood street food vendors are a part of our everyday lives. They are our neighbors, our mothers, our friends, or simply a familiar face. And although not all community members agree with unlicensed street vending, and police have cracked down on them at higher rates recently, they’ve maintained a following.
Event: Boyle Heights Street Vendor Fundraiser
Where: East Los Angeles Community Corporation (530 S. Boyle Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033)
When: 5-10 pm
Cost: 1$ entrance fee (the food is separate).