USC Alumnus is Feeding LA

One USC alumnus from the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work has responded to the crisis of COVID – 19 in a remarkable fashion. Jose Ruiz (MSW’ 2017) had a vision of urban gardens sprinkled all over Metro LA and created an organization called CultivaLA, which now has gardens producing fresh fruit and vegetables from Downtown LA to Koreatown.  Jose set up a free farmers weekly market and has people lining up to get bags of fresh produce. 

He collaborates with human service agencies such as Wellnest, which provides children’s mental health services, to help bag and staff the market in return for products they can give to their clients. Wellnest President and CEO, Charlene Dimas-Peinado (EML ’2010), volunteered with a recent distribution, noting that “the community is so grateful to have fresh produce. There are very few places to get fresh fruits and vegetables around here; this resource is a big contribution to community health.”  To learn more, please visit: