California FreshWorks is an ecosystem of service providers and practitioners, including a network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), that invest capital into projects and businesses that increase access to healthy food, cultivate local economic power, and support leadership development. Typically when capital is discussed by financial institutions, it is in the context of financial tools and products. As administrators of FreshWorks, Community Vision looks more holistically at multiple forms of capital and how they contribute to the strength and success of community-based organizations and small businesses. For example, navigational capital is the ability to navigate through and access systems, institutions, and geographic regions that hold resources and power.
Community Vision leverages navigational capital for healthy food entrepreneurs throughout California. In the Fresno region, we’ve supported healthy food access projects through FreshWorks, and facilitated relationship-building, networking, and investing in community-driven initiatives. In 2018, we began working with Miriam Martinez, Founder and Owner of La Jacka Mobile. One of her long-term goals was to acquire a facility to expand her market reach and provide long-term stability for her business.
Founded in 2016, La Jacka Mobile is a Fresno-based food business that specializes in preparing jackfruit as a meat substitute in Mexican dishes. Miriam grew up in Nayarit, Mexico cooking the jackfruit that her family farmed and processed. She emigrated to the U.S. to realize her dream of creating a market for Jackfruit distribution by crafting delicious and healthy Mexican recipes. Miriam is deeply committed to the health of her community and created La Jacka Mobile because she desired to see affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant foods available in Latino Neighborhoods. La Jacka Mobile has sold a variety of traditional recipes at swap meets, neighborhood parties, and community events throughout the Central Valley, creating a market for Miriam’s jackfruit products.