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La Paletera de Los Angeles

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 “upscaling” 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.


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 capabilities, 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 is 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.  

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