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Fresno-city mobile food vendors get a boost from local government

A vendor ladles a red fruit flavoring over a cup of ice.
Javy Luzania
A vendor prepares raspados, or snow cones.

Read the transcript for this report below.

ELIZABETH ARAKELIAN, HOST: Two years after the murder of a street vendor, the city of Fresno is boosting safety and security among that community. KVPR’s Esther Quintanilla reports.

ESTHER QUINTANILLA: Laura Zambrano started working as a street vendor a few years ago after she migrated from Michoacan, Mexico.

LAURA ZAMBRANO: Yo vendo chicharrones o viejitas raspados, elotes, sodas aguas tostilocos y sabritas. [Speaking Spanish]

QUINTANILLA: She sells snow cones, chips and Michoacan-style street corn. Since she started working, Zambrano says she’s been terrified of being robbed or assaulted.

ZAMBRANO: Pero ahorita con la cámara ya me siento más. Pues más segura. [Speaking Spanish]

QUINTANILLA: But thanks to a city-sanctioned security camera installed in her cart, Zambrano says she feels much safer. Cameras are just the first step in Fresno’s efforts to increase safety for food vendors. In partnership with the nonprofit organization Cultiva la Salud and the Fresno Ironworkers, the city has now designed carts with new features that meet state and public health standards. The carts include sinks with hot and cold running water, and soap and paper towel dispensers. City councilmember Miguel Arias, one of the leaders in this effort, said the city is continuing to find ways to support street vendors.

MIGUEL ARIAS: We have more work to do and we do it jointly with these vendors because the community wants them.

QUINTANILLA: Fresno has also set aside $2 million to develop a certified community kitchen where vendors can prepare their foods safely.

For KVPR News, I’m Esther Quintanilla

This story is part of the Central Valley News Collaborative, which is supported by the Central Valley Community Foundation with technology and training support by Microsoft Corp.

Esther Quintanilla reports on diverse communities for KVPR through the Central Valley News Collaborative, which includes The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, KVPR and Radio Bilingüe.