Chicken & Egg: A Grocery Co-op along the LA RIver

submission by RiverWild

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

River Wild LLC

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):


Community Building & Economic Development

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


River Wild LLC incubates pop-up economic development models along the LA River in underserved communities.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


River Wild LLC propose to re-boot a beloved local grocery store and create a Co-op sourcing neighborhood goods, creating local jobs and educating local schools.

Lacking healthy food access, missing basic amenities and the real estate gold rush along the LA River have left modest neighborhoods without economic development drivers. As our LA River Cafe project proved, pop-up to permanent cottage businesses can meet the needs for jobs, healthy alternatives and locally operated small businesses.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

(e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County):

The Los Angeles River adjacent communities lacking basic services

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Live” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency index

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illness

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the healthiest place to live.


It is odd that with the great interest in the LA River Revitalization, private development far outpaces economic development in transitional and affluent neighborhoods alike. With riverfront property trading at above market prices, with no clear urban planning directive, and with a R.I.O. design guidelines no nearer to completion, river adjacent neighborhoods are suffering from a lack of input in how to create sustainable eco-systems.

But another study of the LA River is not needed, another forum or awards ceremony brings us no closer to revitalization. It is a 20 to 30 year wait for bond money, EIFD's, or federal funds to transform the concrete channel and provide park lands. Meanwhile, 5 story stucco boxes are breaking ground today, causing grief and a profound fear of displacement.

It is time for socially aware projects and people to pop-up and claim their own destiny.

River Wild has found, by deep involvement with LA River neighborhoods, streets, and by listening to residents, that the lack of basic "complete neighborhood" amenities (such as transportation, jobs, housing and retail) have left communities without the benefits that smart economic development and planning could provide.

In Elysian Valley we see a shrinking creative arts job base, fleeing manufacturing, and zero access to healthy food. However, Elysian Valley was once the breadbasket of Los Angeles, with 4 bakeries that provided hundreds of jobs that Frogtown residents could walk to from home.

As our LA River Cafe project proved, pop-up to permanent cottage businesses can create local jobs, provide healthy alternatives and create locally operated small businesses that meet the needs of long time residents and hipsters. No study, no forum, just proof of concept models erected in empty buildings along the LA River.

It is our intent to take an empty grocery store that survived floods, displacement, crime waves and a fast food epidemic and transform it into a healthy grocery Co-Op. This pilot project can be duplicated in other underserved communities without access to fresh, healthy food. Corner groceries are a essential for new residential developments planned and built without a walkable commercial corridor nearby. Pop-Up Economic Development, we propose, is where the wealth and health of any LA River neighborhood can spring from; not from wealth created by real estate development.

Here is a conceptual walk thru video.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Metrics are gold but Listening is Platinum. Proving every penny spent went to a positive community outcome is the first priority. Profitability is second, due to the cooperative nature of this enterprise. We look for individual and collaborative impact in how residents, river tourists and local institutions will use and adopt to a local grocery after decades without one.

We plan on keeping extensive accounting and paying to set up software to track procurement and sales and hire an accountant for quarterly audits. Even in an 800 square foot grocery, we think that careful tracking of cash flow, re-evaluation of inventory, price point creation through community outreach and surveys are essential.

The creative leasing strategy affords us with a 3 month start-up period and a subsidized rent-free period to construct, create and modify with less stress.

We are interviewing Co-op groups on national and regional scales, to find the best supply of goods that are not grown in Frogtown.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):


Stakeholders can stop by the store and stock up for a day on the LA River. What might a Day on the LA River look like? Check out these videos from our participation in the One Day on Earth project:

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This is a GREAT idea, and provides a community need that is crucial for both public health and quality of life. As an advocate for wholesome food access in every community, I strongly support River Wild's proposed project and look forward to it taking shape.

by misteratkins
6 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015