connect / 2018

A Recipe for a Great City: Home Cooking

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by LA Commons, a project of Community Partners

Leveraging the power of food and culture, we will entice millennials to engage in planning affordable housing in LA and activate them to run in the 2019 and 2021 Neighborhood Council elections.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

In partnership with key City departments, we will engage unengaged 18-34 year olds in LA’s process for planning affordable housing and as candidates for Neighborhood Councils. Capitalizing on their love of eating and sharing, we will involve them in the creation of “A Recipe for A Great City: Home Cooking.” This “cookbook,” to be available at local libraries, will highlight our diverse city and solutions generated by millennials at restaurant dialogues and neighborhood food and culture events.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Rates of volunteerism

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

Our project will increase the participation of millennials in voicing their concerns and participating in the conversation around the future of their city through a creative process that first gets them involved in city planning around housing issues, and ultimately, participating in their local Neighborhood Councils. Entitled “A Recipe for A Great City: Home Cooking” the project uses the popularity of food, music, art and digital tools among this group as the foundation for engagement.

The strategies for increasing participation will include:

Utilize New Tools for Greater Civic Engagement -

We will create a digital survey and a digital toolkit targeted at millennials specifically for use with this activation.

Influence Individual Behavior -

We will entice millennials to become civically engaged by leveraging their passion for eating, art and digital sharing.

Policy Advocacy/Digital Organizing for Activism -

A digital survey will specifically enable participants to weigh in on the issues of homelessness and housing in the city and how they would like to get involved in addressing the problem. A digital toolkit will support the organizing effort by supporting participants in leading their own engagements or “kitchen table” conversations.

In-Person Engagements -

Digital toolkit will serve as the basis for people to engage their friends in “kitchen table conversations” focused on homelessness and housing in local restaurants and other popular gathering places. In addition, food, art and music happenings called “Our Neighborhood Cooks” hosted in conjunction with Neighborhood Councils (NC) and popular local artists and performers serve as platforms to weigh in on the best ideas coming out of the digital survey. Our Neighborhood Cooks will include a cooking/eating competition for the recipe that best represents the neighborhood. People would vote on the recipe that includes migration stories and oral histories about the recipes. The selected recipes are incorporated into the final recipe book along with a road map on replicating the activation in other communities and cities.

Increase Participation in Political Process and Impactful Volunteer Opportunities -

The ultimate goal is to recruit this youthful segment into the Neighborhood Council movement and motivate them to run for board seats in the Neighborhood Council elections slated for 2019 and 2021. Their voices will then continue the dialogue with the city on issues that affect their lives and ensure the Neighborhood Council system reflects LA.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

PHASE I:AUG 2018-NOV 2019


-Develop digital survey and tool kit

-Establish Task Force with current millennial Neighborhood Council (NC) members at Congress of Neighborhoods(Sep)

-Cultivate partnerships to support outreach and local restaurants and other venues as hosts of “kitchen table conversations.”



-Launch digital survey, kitchen table conversations and campaign to recruit millennial candidates for NC board seats

-Compile data for planning the first “Our Neighborhood Cooks” to share with City Planning



-First “Our Neighborhood Cooks”



-Annual Neighborhood Congress welcomes millennials with theme “Our Neighborhoods Cook”

-NC Elections Outreach

PHASE V:NOV 2019-SEP 2020


-Evaluate pilot and tweak tools and strategies

-Launch next phase of digital survey and kitchen table conversations

-Compile data for planning third “Our Neighborhood Cooks” and sharing with City Planning

PHASE VI:MAY 2020-JUL 2020


Third and Fourth “Our Neighborhood Cooks” event


Millennials play key role in organizing Annual Congress of Neighborhoods at which “A Recipe for a Great City: Home Cooking” released!

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

This activation is successful if, through our partnerships, millennials participate in the following over the course of the next 2 years:

-100,000 take a digital survey to weigh in about affordable housing and homelessness issues in LA and how they would like to get involved in addressing the problem

-2000 participate in person in 4 Neighborhood Cooks events and 50 Kitchen Table Conversations citywide

-1000 are further activated to run in Neighborhood Council elections

Other measures include:

By 2019 - Creation of a digital toolkit for millennials to host their own Kitchen Table Conversations and play a role in Neighborhood Cooks events.

By 2020 - Creation of the “A Recipe for a Great City: Home Cooking” cookbook guide and incorporation by city departments of innovative civic engagement techniques used in their ongoing public participation efforts.

By 2021 - 100% of Neighborhood Councils have millennial representation because of the foundation created by the activation.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

Following the conclusion of the grant, we will still have one more year of the initiative as the goal is to end with the 2021 Neighborhood Council elections at which time we will have a cumulative number of 1,000 millennials running for office over the 2 years and 100% of the 97 NCs with some millennial representation by November 2021. As a result of the investment in this project, in five years, there will be much more active participation by millennials in city decisions not only in the Neighborhood Council system, but in serving on city commission and boards and in running for higher office.