Food Forward Blog
Food Forward is Hiring a Backyard Harvest Coordinator!

POSITION OVERVIEW: The Program Coordinator will report to the Backyard Harvest Program Manager. This is an opportunity to become deeply involved in the urban food justice community, while working for a prominent and growing nonprofit. This person will work with property owners who have fruit to donate by gathering essential harvesting and logistical information for our database to organize and coordinate picks. Tasks will include communicating with property owners who have fruit trees, scheduling harvesting events, and coordinating event details for each harvest. The Program Coordinator will also play a key role in managing the 50+ Super Volunteers and be the main point of contact. This position is Full Time

CORE RESPONSIBILITIES:

• Managing & communicating with 40-50 Pick Leaders and homeowners to schedule and coordinate 50-60+ unique harvesting events every month
• Main point of contact for homeowners, receiving agencies, and Super Volunteers
• Maintaining relationships with 1000+ homeowners and with 150+ receiving agencies (food pantries or donation centers)
• Managing and improving a database of over 2000 properties and 1600 harvesting events (since 2009)
• Training, overseeing, and onboarding Super Volunteers: Pick Leaders and Property Scouts
• Frequent written and verbal communication with property owners and receiving agencies
• Updating our WordPress site and database

QUALIFICATIONS:

Ideal candidate will have a strong interest in hunger and food justice issues. We are looking for an extremely detail-oriented person who enjoys organizing and collecting data and information. He/she can work efficiently and comfortably on a website to manage large amounts of detailed information. The candidate should be personable and able to communicate with various personalities and temperaments. The Backyard Harvest Program is constantly evolving, and the ideal candidate will be able to adapt and support the continued growth of the program. The candidate must have a strong knowledge of local fruit tree varietals and fruit tree care. The candidate should be highly versed in Los Angeles and SFV geography.

Minimum requirements:
• Bachelors Degree in a related field (Environment Science, Urban Planning, Public Policy)
• Proven effective data management skills
• Strong people and public speaking skills
• Experience in event planning
• Ability to lift 40-60lb boxes repeatedly
• Ability to communicate with various temperaments and populations
• A flexible team player who is able to work well under pressure and time constraints
• Experience working in a fast paced environment- start up or non-profit desired
• Knowledge of locally grown tree varieties, including harvest seasons, tree size and shape, fruit qualities
• Strong knowledge of LA geography, neighborhoods, and streets
• Experience in food justice work desired
• Proactive and willingness to improve on program strategies, workflows, and documents
• Strong knowledge and comfort with WordPress, Facebook, and other Social Media
• A valid drivers license
• Willingness and available to work some weekends

Salary: DOE

How to Apply:

Send a cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume in a PDF version to info@foodforward.org. The subject line should read, BYH Program Coordinator – (Your Name). No phone calls please. Please follow these instructions to insure that we process your application.

Read More: Posted in Job Opportunity
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Volunteer of the Month: Devyn Malouf

We first met Devyn at the beginning of her summer break from Notre Dame High School after she participated in a harvest and wanted to become more involved with Food Forward’s work. It quickly became clear that Devyn was not only a motivated and dedicated volunteer but that she was a real pro with social media! She worked all summer long to perfect a social media schedule with the staff while also doing regular fruit picks. Devyn is super creative, smart and articulate, and it’s been a real joy to have her on the Food Forward team! Read more about this awesome volunteer below.

So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?

I was first introduced to Food Forward about 2 years ago when I did a pick with my family, but I didn’t really get involved until this past June. Like any other teenager, I was looking for a way to spend my summer, but I wanted to find something that was both fun and fulfilling. I’ve had a passion for philanthropy since I was 10, and I loved (loved LOVED) what Food Forward was doing, so it seemed like a perfect fit. A few emails and a meeting later, and I had an internship.

What are some other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?

Currently, I’m working on social media at Food Forward, and having an absolute blast! Much of what I do requires aggregating social content from the bright minds at Food Forward, as well as reading and research (to find the best content to post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). What amazes me the most is how much I’ve learned, not just about global environmental and hunger issues, but about the incredible things other NPOs are doing. I love being in a position to share what inspires me, and, hopefully inspire others.

What is your favorite memory working with Food Forward?

If I had to choose one memory, it would have to be when we were surprised with a kayaking trip down the LA River as a team-building exercise. It was something so completely unexpected and out-of-the-box, but so much fun! The people at Food Forward are amazing, and I had a great time hanging out with them.

Any wisdom you’d like to share with the world about life?

It’s a bit strange sharing ‘words of wisdom’ at the age of 16, but I can say that as a swimmer, one of the many things I’ve learned is to focus on what is directly in front of you. When you approach a race, you don’t get up on the blocks thinking about how you’re going to pace it, or what your turn is going to be like; you think about your dive. After your dive, you think about your first stroke, then your second stroke, and so on. It becomes about enjoying the process and then celebrating the end result, which Food Forward does every day. Food Forward is such a community-powered organization, where volunteers spend countless hours with their friends and family, enjoying the company and picking fruit that will be delivered that day to someone who, otherwise, wouldn’t get it. It makes the deliveries – and the cause, in general – so much more meaningful and rewarding.

Everyday that I’m at Food Forward is such a humbling and wonderful experience. The people who work there are all so bright and passionate about what they do, which happens to be something that’s impacting the community in such a powerful and positive way. It’s incredibly inspiring.

Read More: Posted in Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Volunteer Organization
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Food Forward is hiring a Ventura Branch Manager!

Position: The VC Branch Manager will report to the Operations Director and will be responsible for the continued growth and development of Food Forward Ventura County.  The ideal candidate RESIDES in VENTURA COUNTY, is passionate about hunger/food justice issues, high energy, charismatic, has an entrepreneurial spirit and is connected to the food and fruit cultivation community of Ventura County.  The candidate will become an Ambassador for Food Forward, identifying and engaging community partners, volunteers, civic leaders, corporate leaders, farmers, students and others interested in Food Forward and our work.  He/She must have prior management experience, as the first major duty will be to build out the team of a P/T coordinator and P/T driver to help in day-to-day operations.

Minimum Requirements:

  • 2-3 years Managerial experience in fast paced environment
  • Working knowledge of Ventura County geography and demographics
  • Valid California drivers license
  • Keen passion and understanding of food justice issues
  • Understanding and ease of execution with coordination of multiple outdoor events on a monthly basis, held at numerous locations, with several dozen stakeholders
  • Ability to pick fruit, lifting boxes and transporting fruit should the need arise
  • Play well with others (volunteers, homeowners, farmers, donors, community partners, etc.)
  • Connected to the food and farming community of Ventura County.
  • Very Proficient in Microsoft Office and Google Docs

Responsibilities:

  • Manage Backyard Harvest Operations which include but are not limited to:
    • Homeowner TLC, cultivation and growth
    • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention
    • Maintain and grow Receiving Agency/Community partnerships
    • Ensure adequate number of harvesting events are successfully held each month
    • Equipment Hub and Equipment Oversight
    • Insure timely and accurate reporting of Key Performance Metrics
  • Hire & Manage VC Coordinator
  • Onboarding of new programs in partnerships w/FF program managers
  • Tabling and Speaking engagements to promote FF in the region to create awareness
  • Document Policies & Procedure as well as best practices

Hours: 40 per week (will include weekend work)

Compensation: DOE

How to Apply:

Send a cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume in a PDF version to info@foodforward.org.  The subject line should read, VC Branch Manager – (Your Name). No phone calls please. Please follow these instructions to insure that we process your application.

Read More: Posted in Uncategorized
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Volunteer of the Month: Charles Dinkel!

Meet our August Volunteer of the Month! Charles Dinkel has been with Food Forward since the early days of 2010 and became a Pick Leader almost immediately. Due to his love of large power pickin’ harvests, he has led over 50 picks in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties and has contributed to the recovery of over 200,000 lbs of fresh fruit. Charles is a creative and thoughtful volunteer with an awesome ability to bring a “MacGyver Approach” to his picks. He constantly goes above and beyond the call of fruit duty, and we’re always inspired by the work he does with us! Thanks for everything, Charles!

So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?

I first started working with Food Forward, when I was first getting started as an Operations Coordinator at Sova Food Pantry in 2009.  At that time Food Forward was just getting off the ground, so it was an exciting time to witness, the birth of this amazing nonprofit. In 2010, I started to volunteer with Food Forward as a pick leader, and I’ve been a pick leader ever since.

What are some other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?

For the entire decade of my 30′s, I worked as an Operations Manager, first at a recycling company in Seattle, and then at a local food pantry here in Los Angeles.  I’ve come to realize, I’m a very idealistic individual, so I am now gravitating back towards my roots, as an artist, writer, and poet.  I’m taking photography classes, and retooling, career wise, finishing my writing degree, and looking to launch my own non profit, and creative endeavors.  I’ve experimented with non profit fund raising, grant writing, and event building.

What is your favorite memory from working with Food Forward?

I recently, in February, led a pick in Fillmore, which was probably the best pick ever.  In a day that started off with a bit of rain, and the van breaking down, a pick came together, in which 16 volunteers, almost all first time pickers, harvested this amazing grove, which was loaded with amazing organic gigantic oranges.  We harvested 5,500 lbs in under 2 hours, about 350lb per volunteer.  It was by far, the most amazing harvest yield, per person, ever, and the ranch owner was amazing too.

Any wisdom you’d like to share with the world about life?

Everyday you vote with your choices, what you buy, what you say, who you love, those are your investments in the world we share.  Shop consciously, love generously, and error on the side of giving/caring too much, not too little.  People are people, everyone is in this together.

Read More: Posted in Community Action, Los Angeles Volunteer, Urban Fruit Gleaning, Volunteer Organization
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Meet Lillian Krovoza, Oxy Intern Extraordinaire!
This summer, we were thrilled to be chosen as an Occidental College learning sites for the InternLA program. And we definitely hit the jackpot when rising Oxy senior Lillian Krovoza joined our team as the San Gabriel Valley Expansion and Outreach Intern! She has been busy leading picks, presenting to volunteer groups, riding her bike in search of fruity properties and creating a strong presence in SGV. She is an integral part of the Food Forward Family and we loved spending the summer with such a creative, smart and spirited student who is so passionate about our mission! Thanks Lillian, you rocked our world!

You can read more about Lillian’s work below…

Wow. I can hardly believe it’s been 10 weeks since I first set fruit foot in the fruit cave (yikes—I actually wrote “fruit” instead of “foot”… that tells you what’s on my mind… they’re brainwashing me!). Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I began my summer at Food Forward. As an Urban and Environmental Policy student at Occidental college, I’ve been bred to think about, and act upon, social justice issues. With my interest in social justice and my love for food, food justice has naturally developed into my academic, professional, and personal passion. That’s why when Oxy’s summer internship placement program, InternLA, announced Food Forward as a 2014 internship placement site, I jumped at the opportunity. Three months later, I’m just as excited about being on the FF team as I was when I was first welcomed to the team.

I learned a lot this summer. I learned what the heck a Zapote is (try it! It tastes like custard!). I practically memorized every possible fruit adjective (juicy, fruitastic, rooted, citrified, figgin’ sweet, the list goes on…). I discovered that sandwich bars are indeed the best way to celebrate birthdays. I can confirm that staff who watch the world cup together stay together. I perfected how to make rocket fuel coffee for 8—with just the right amount of “BAM” and “UMPH” to keep the chains greased, to keep the office humming along.

And don’t worry (mom, Laura, Oxy…), it wasn’t all sandwiches and world cup, I swear. I honed my communication skills, my organizational skills and my research capacity. I accomplished many goals, and did a job well done (if I do say so myself). I proved myself, to myself. I came to understand the status of food insecurity in Los Angeles, and the efforts being made to combat it, in a way I never could have through my classes. I learned not just about what Food Forward does, but about what the independent sector in Los Angeles is doing as a whole. Whatever the haters say about LA, and what ever crazy ridiculousness ensues in this city every day, you can rest assured that there’s an army of Angelenos fighting day and night to make this city the very best it can be.

I am fortunate to have gotten to know quite well the varied and wide-spread projects catalyzing progress in Los Angeles. Every day, I am inspired by the actions that dedicated Angelenos are taking to make their city shine. I may be new to the scene, but I’m confident that in the next decade, Los Angeles will see some of the most drastic improvements to quality of life, social services, sustainability, outlets for creative expression, and overall livability that LA has ever seen. And I’m happy to say that Food Forward is charging on with the best of them, bringing passion and creativity every step of the way.

I learned that Food Forward is the bomb, and that I don’t want to leave quite yet. So, I’m not, and I’m happy to say I’ll be sticking with them into the season of persimmons (aka the fall). Oh, and speaking of persimmons… go and sign up for a pick in the San Gabriel Valley (it’s my job to get you to do that :-])!

Thanks Food Forward, for everything. You’re figgin’ fantastic.

Read More: Posted in Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Fruit Gleaning, Volunteer Organization
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lbs. of fruit picked to date

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