With 128 farmers markets held on a weekly basis across Los Angeles County, Food Forward’s new Farmers Market Recovery Program, now operating at Santa Monica (Wednesdays, Sundays), Hollywood, Studio City, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Larchmont, West Hollywood, Culver City, and Torrance (Tuesdays) markets, offers the only formal market-endorsed donation system for farmers wanting to help fight hunger with their unsold produce.
Started in August 2012, the program couldn’t be simpler: our volunteer Glean Teams distribute empty boxes to the farmers and then collect the filled boxes of unsold fresh produce. The volunteers weigh the donations and immediately upon collection, we distribute to local agencies (all 501.c.3 non-profits located within 10 miles of each market). The receiving agencies pick up on site and pass it on to their clients within 1 – 3 days. The farmers receive a tax deduction for their donation and local non-profits receive fresh free produce for the people they serve.
Because of the Food Forward Farmers Market Recovery Program, these agencies now receive hundreds of pounds of free A+ grade produce on a weekly basis through this program. Our current recipients range from those living on skid row, to gay & lesbian low-income elders, to the mentally ill, to food-insecure families and children in emergency housing programs.
Prior to Food Forward’s arrival, donations were ad hoc at best, or in most cases, produce ended up in the trash. We have forged relationships with farmers, market managers, and an amazing corps of volunteers we call The Glean Team – all working in concert to get 100% to the hungry. If you want to join the Glean Team email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are a Market Manager and want your market to be considered for this program contact Leah at email@example.com.
If you want your agency to be placed on the waiting list to receive this produce and have the ability to provide a driver, please email Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently we cannot accommodate new receiving agencies, but contact us if you are interested and we will be put you on our waiting list.
If you want to donate bags of your home-picked fruit or veggies, please email Leah at email@example.com to coordinate a drop-off time and location.
“On behalf of the Studio City Farmers Market, I just want to add that the Food Forward Farmers Market Program is seamless. Once we introduced the program to the farmers the volunteers took over and there have never been any issues. The volunteers do all the work, they are professional and courteous and quick. It is truly a program that benefits many, including the farmers, who are happy to get their receipts for the tax write-off.”- Esther Walker