Our Paletera de Los Angeles Denice Renteria at our Mujeres de la Tierra soft launch at the Northeast Los Angeles River Front Collaborative River Bike and Walk Spectacular on April 27th, 2013.
Mujeres de la Tierra’s (MDLT) project is to launch on a small scale La Paletera de Los Angeles, a social entrepreneurial venture that was developed in response to the women we have engaged and partnered with over the years. The majority of the women asked us for three things: a part time job, help to start their own micro enterprise and a small plot of land to plant a vegetable/herb garden.
It was clear to us that we cannot separate the “Green” conversation of conservation with the “Green” economic realities of everyday survival: the two go hand in hand. La Paletera de Los Angeles is the economic empowerment platform that addresses both.
Specifically, we are “up scaling” the current ice cream cart business model found in parks and neighborhood streets throughout Los Angeles County. We will be making and selling paletas (frozen fruit bars) with a highly trained workforce who will use the experience as a training ground for launching their own micro venture. Candidates for the Paleta Project will be carefully screened and evaluated to identify those who want to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit in the future. We will be training 10 women and initiate the project with 4 paleteras, 2 part-time persons, 4 tricycle vending carts and sell in 2 venues: Central Los Angeles and South Los Angeles.
Every aspect of the current model is being upgraded including:
- The ingredients used to make the traditional paletas: fresh fruit, distilled water and limited sweetener (if any)—this will be a Los Angeles made product and will instill civic pride as Los Angeles will have its own signature “Paletas”,
- Who sells the paleta: women will have the opportunity to be Paleteras as currently this is a male-dominated industry and since we started doing field research over 3 years, we have met only one female selling paletas from a vending cart,
- Capacity and confidence building: the goal is to create an environment of continued personal and group success while promoting self-reliance as well as to provide training, work experience and mentorship to all affiliated with La Paletera to prepare them to launch their own business by providing a safe harbor to learn, experience, create and become confident in their business, interpersonal and selling skills,
- How and where they are sold: La Paletera’s mission is to become part of the fabric of the neighborhoods where they are present and to be a part of the social networking and local vibrancy where day to day life happens,
- Training: the job-training institute will teach individuals how to launch and operate their own micro business by building their entrepreneurial skills. La Paletera’s entrepreneurial skills and capacity training will include: fiscal and business management, sales, customer service, inventory control as well as other critical business development components,
- Product development: the making and selling of the paleta is the creative, fun and inventive element which will engage Angelenos of all ages to identify new flavors such as a Dodger Blue paleta made of blueberries or a Meyer lemon paleta named after the neighborhood where the lemons are harvested,
- The vending cart: the initial carts will be a tricycle cart with a refrigerated compartment that evolves into a paletamobile. The paletamobile will have social networking capacity, will be solar powered, include security features, a GPS system and much more and,
- Branding the experience and Joy of Community: This is not just a vending project. It is one that will create goodwill, strengthen community life and brighten the local scene with its beautifully decorated “paleletamobile” and colorful uniform worn by the paletera. More important, it is an economic development platform to create jobs, train future micro-entrepreneurs and strengthen the economic vitality of neighborhoods.
The backbone of the project are the Paleteras-the women who will be in neighborhoods selling healthy snacks and refreshments. They are the heart and soul of La Paletera of Los Angeles.
Father and son enjoying a lime-mint Paleta!
People from all ages and backgrounds enjoyed our paletas (Scott Cher, Arroyo Seco Foundation)!
La Paletera de Los Angeles team and supporters! From left to right, Denice Renteria, Leticia Munoz, Irma Munoz, Alma Rivas and Rita Davila.
Mujeres de la Tierra soft launched La Paletera de Los Angeles at the Northeast Los Angeles River Front Collaborative River Bike and Walk Spectacular on April 27th, 2013. The launch was a resounding success amongst the Los Angeles River crowd! With adults and children happily sampling our signature paletas of chock-full fresh fruit and herbs such as mango, mango-chile, lime, lime-mint, and pineapple.
La Paletera de Los Angeles (Denice Renteria) cruised around Marsh Park and the riverbed on her bike propelled paletamobile passing out paletas and many concluded with great enthusiasm that our paletas—compared to others—were fresh, natural tasting and not too sweet. Others marveled at the fact that they could bite into fresh pieces of fruit and experienced flavorful after tastes. Refreshing was another frequent description, which also included references to sensations of rich punchy flavors and explosive tastes in the mouth caused by fresh pieces of mint and habanero chili combinations!
La Paletera de Los Angeles is proving you can have both a healthy and great tasting frozen bar that is made with sustainable business practices, which is good for both neighborhoods and La Madre Tierra!