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Passionate New Kickstarter Project Could Be a Pressed Juice Juggernaut for South LA

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Tropics combines healthy fare with cultural conversation and safe spaces

Some of the faces behind Tropics in South LA
Courtesy of Tropics
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

If you’ve got some extra cash laying around and you want to put it to a good cause, consider Tropics. The proposed juice bar concept is currently raising money on Kickstarter to not only fund their hopeful future of bringing fresh-pressed organic juice to South LA, but to expand on the cultural possibilities of the entire Baldwin Village neighborhood as well.

The project is a joint collaboration between Daniel Desure’s Commonwealth Projects and a number of names from the neighborhood, including one Thomas James. The plan is to of course provide healthy and affordable dining alternatives for the area commonly known as The Jungle (hence the name Tropics), while along the way hosting a wide spectrum of learning sessions, art workshops, cultural nights, and lots of other stuff at their permanent facility.

In the meantime, Tropics will operate as a three-month pop-up inside the Underground Museum in Arlington Heights, beginning in June. That’s where they’ll really begin getting the word out, while — assuming their $60,000 Kickstarter gets fully funded — spending the rest of the time working on a build-out for their standalone space further south.

The timing for Tropics could be fortuitous too, given all the renewed attention from outside investors into the area. Neighborhoods like Watts and Inglewood have increasingly been conversation points for change, gentrification, and cultural appropriation, so it’s heartening to see a Baldwin Village project like Tropics think and work locally, with their own community in mind.