Food Forward Blog
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 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, homewoners, 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.

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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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July’s Volunteer of the Month: Kai Boyd

Kai Boyd started gleaning with us back in December 2013 and quickly became a Glean Team Lead at the Mar Vista Farmers Market. As a lead, Kai is super reliable and professional, in addition to being a really cool and easy-going dude! He’s helped to train a number of other Glean Team Leads and has been instrumental in establishing our presence at one of the newest farmers markets in our Farmers Market Recovery Program. Kai’s an incredible and personable presence at our Mar Vista gleans, and you can read more about him below!

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

I came across Food Forward on the LA Works website, which aggregates volunteer opportunities across the LA area. I volunteered a few times, and then realized that I wanted to take the next step and really become part of the team as a Glean Team Lead!

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

I was just accepted to the Taproot Foundation as a marketing manager, which puts working professionals in touch with non-profits for pro bono consulting. Really excited to use my skills and passion to give back. I also volunteer at the Ballona Wetlands in West LA, restoring the native landscape.

What is your favorite memory from working with Food Forward?

One thing I learned from Food Forward is the importance of good teamwork. More than once, just one volunteer and myself would have to handle the entire Mar Vista market, yet we would do it so efficiently and on-point. I’ve really met some great people through Food Forward, and it goes to show the quality of person the organization attracts.

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

I think it’s too easy in a place like LA to get caught up in the small things, like getting a parking ticket or traffic on the 405. We really need to appreciate all the opportunities a vibrant city gives us, whether it’s socially, professionally, or personally. Never forget to give back to communities that give so much to you as a person – it’s easy to forget and not realize how much they’ve enabled you to grow.

Read More: Posted in Farmers Market, Farmers Market Recovery, Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Fruit Gleaning
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A little poetic love for Food Forward!

Creativity is in the air at the Culver City Farmers Market! Check out this lovely poem written about Food Forward by a freelance poet who writes poems for free at the market on Tuesday nights (pictured below with two of our Culver City volunteers).

Read More: Posted in Community Action, Farmers Market, Farmers Market Recovery, Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Hunger
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lbs. of fruit picked to date

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