“Hecho en Fresno”: new kitchen and resource center project for the association of street vendors

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The city of Fresno and community advocacy groups continue to work to secure funding for the Street Vendor Association.

The group was formed in 2021 to protect and provide resources to street vendors after a series of attacks last year, including the murder of Lorenzo Perez.

“One of the challenges for them is not having a certified community commercial kitchen accessible to them,” said Genoveva Islas, executive director of Cultiva la Salud, a public health advocacy organization working with the association.

Sellers met with the nonprofit on Thursday to plan a commercial kitchen under a project they are calling Hecho and Fresno, or “made in Fresno”.

“The kitchen would make it easier for us to cook there,” said Miguel Angel Ruiz, a member of the Association of Street Vendors.

Last year, the city designated a building on H Street behind Chukchansi Park for this effort.

“And that building would house the kitchen, what’s called a food hall, which is a kind of cafeteria where vendors could set up micro restaurants inside,” Islas said. “It would also include an aggregation station, and which would bring in fresh produce from local small-scale farmers to be sold directly to the community, to be integrated with vendors who prepare food there, or also to supply institutions. like school districts. , or hospitals.

Islas said the kitchen will be key as it will help vendors comply with environmental health regulations.

Ruiz said many of his colleagues have yet to apply for permits.

Cultiva la Salud is working with the city and other organizations to write a proposal for a $20 million federal grant, which would fund the community kitchen as well as other resources. The proposal is expected to be completed in March.

Islas said they also plan to provide a pathway for vendors who may want to own a restaurant down the line, as well as tax filing and bike safety workshops.

Council member Luis Chavez said the city is also working to allocate US federal bailout (ARPA) funding to food vendors as part of a pending small business relief package. budget approval. The board will discuss the issue at its February 10 meeting. Chavez said he plans to meet with the association once funding is secured.

Ruiz said the vendors were eager to meet the city again, as security concerns are still at the forefront.

“We would like to ask about getting cameras for our carts, or an alarm to scare off attackers,” he said.

The City hasn’t held a workshop with the association since last summer, but they have been providing PPE and pepper spray for the past few months.

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