Fruit Cave: v3.0
Home is where the heart is and, for us, this couldn’t ring more true as we fluff the pillows and put the final pixie dust on our newly renovated offices. While a few of you have seen the newly expanded Cave, and more of you have read about it, we feel so grateful and proud that we felt it was worthy of a blog post to share the space with the denizens of Fruitland.
Over a year ago it was clear that between staff, interns, volunteers, and events, we had outgrown the confines of our space, which had been expanded twice since 2010 when the Fruit Cave was born and hosted two employees, two lawn chairs, and a card table.
We kicked the project off with pro bono, conceptual help from a world-class architecture firm, Perkins + Will. Soon after this, we huddled with our crew to figure out what we loved, hated, needed, wanted, and, most importantly, could afford for a revamped dream office. Then, long-time Food Forward supporter and architect/designer/chef Annette Eason of Eason Design Group and veteran Fruit Cave-renovator HVA Construction stepped up to make it a reality. Additionally, The Ahmanson Foundation and New Argosy Foundation supplied generous funding to complete the project.
Before hammers started swinging, the list of projects was topped off by a need for more meeting space, more private office space, and, yes, even another bathroom. We then had to figure out a relocation strategy for our nearly 20-strong staff and, thankfully, Property managers IMT made an incredible donation of office space at the iconic Sunkist Building.
The warehouse under construction.
Over the next 10 weeks, we up-cycled windows, doors, polycarbonate, wood pallets, and plywood within inches of our lives and added approximately 60% more space to our pre-existing footprint. This included a lounge, a gonzo conference room, three new private offices and a bullpen, an additional storage loft, and yes, that extra bathroom!
Staffer Wendy Chen Epstein in our new lounge next to the “The Giving Tree” by Remy Chwae.
Additionally, we formally began our art collection – no joke! – with ten note-worthy pieces of art that have been donated to Food Forward since we sprouted. These pieces include photographs, paintings, mixed-media, murals, and, in some cases, museum-quality visual art which frame the creative Food Forward spirit, a hallmark of ours.
Our new conference room with “Five Years of Fruitanthropy” by Josh Clark.
Staffers Zach Jobe, Jason Landers, and Gunther Schultz went above and beyond to add personal touches to the Cave. They also helped to keep us on time and on budget!
Zach Jobe, Annette Eason, Gunther Schultz, and Jason Landers in mid-construction under “Oranges On Fire” by Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel
In addition to the hard work and generosity of Eason Design Group and HVA Construction, discounts and donations came from Amigos Flooring, Scott Jarus, Ann Marie Adrian and Astek Wallcoverings, Inc., Los Angeles Magazine, Fallen Fruit, Mike Mandel and the Estate of Larry Sultan, David Boule, Remy Chwae, SoundproofCow.com (who gave us sound insulation made from recycled blue jeans!), and Oversee.net.
We hope that those of you who haven’t been to The Cave have (or make up!) a reason to visit us soon and see this fruitastic space!