Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Farmers Market Recovery (Part 2)

8.22.17 – Happy Birthday FMR!!! August 12th marked the 5th anniversary of the Farmers Market Recovery Program here at Food Forward. We want to extend a huge thank you to the most dynamic, devoted, and marvelous volunteers, receiving agencies, and vendors who have helped us recover over 1.9 million pounds since our inception in 2012! Read Part 1 here.

The second edition of spotlights will highlight the remaining markets in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. We have quite the group of volunteers, receiving agencies and vendors who help us achieve our mission. If you see these folks in the field, please don’t hesitate to recognize them for their work in fighting hunger!

MAR VISTA FARMERS MARKET

For the Mar Vista Farmers Market, we are highlighting the sublime Lizanne WebbLizanne leads twice a month at Mar Vista and also sometimes helps with the distribution of food with one of our receiving agencies at the market, New Life Society.

20170819_154153

How long have you volunteered with Food Forward, and why do you volunteer with us?

I started in 2014. I needed volunteer credit in an environmental concern of my choosing for the Environmental Psychology program at SMC. My concern was food waste. I continued with Food Forward because I had become aware of how directly my efforts positively affected the surrounding community and how little organizational overhead was involved.

What is the most satisfying part of gleaning?

Getting to actually see people receiving the food I helped collect; whether it be a meal or just a bag of produce to feed their families with. I have actually followed the produce to the end consumer. There are so many people in need out there … unseen. It’s a problem that runs deeper and is much more vast than just the homeless you see sleeping on the sidewalks.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering at the markets?

One day in 2015, we had filled up the van for New Life Society, and an SUV and a second car for St. Joseph with so many boxes of produce that they had to take it back to their storage facility and come back for more.  I didn’t mind waiting the extra 45 minutes. Talk about a bonanza!

What are your favorite types of produce?

Crisp cherries and white nectarines are my favorites. I grew up in a suburban/rural area along the shores of Lake Ontario, in New York. We were shopping the farmers markets at the actual farms long before a “farmers market” was a cool thing. The area had been founded in the 18th century by predominantly German, immigrant farmers.  This was the Seneca apple belt of New York State.  Neighborhoods like ours were interspersed with big farms known for their seasonal crops – especially pumpkins. And in the Summer and Fall you could ride your bike east along Lake Rd. and pass huge cherry, pear and apple orchards – most were both commercial and “pick-ur-own.”  Immediately to my south was grape country and in the Fall, the big deal was finding a roadside stand that would sell you a fresh-baked Concord Grape pie!  I miss those pies. When I moved downstate to work in NYC, I joined a Hudson Valley Coop Farm and did my share of farming.  It’s very different cooking with food you grew yourself or that was grown by someone you personally know.

What do you hope the FMR program achieves in the next 5 years?  

I hope they can grow this program throughout California and then expand to other agricultural areas in the U.S.  Food Forward has such a strong model that it could be applied to more than just produce.  I could see this program working in other countries as well.

STUDIO CITY FARMERS MARKET

For the Studio City Farmers Market, we are highlighting A Place Called Home. A Place Called Home pick up from the Brentwood and Studio City Farmers Market. They were nice enough to host us last year for our first staff volunteer day and we can’t stop singing the praises for what they do!

20170817_161424

What does your organization do?

APCH offers children from the community (ages 8 to 21 years) educational programs, counseling, and mentorship. Year-round services include daily meal provision, tutoring and homework support, as well as a full spectrum of instruction in health and wellness (including nutrition, food preparation, gardening and athletics) and the arts (including dance, music, photography, and creative expression).  We currently service over 400 children daily, and we have a waitlist of approximately 750 youth in need of services.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

Since September 2013.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

Fresh produce allows the APCH kitchen to cook from scratch healthy, satisfying meals that are full of flavor.  This increases the odds that we can introduce our members to new flavors and textures and get them interested in asking for them outside of the agency.  Fresh produce also provides us the best possible materials for use in our food and culinary classes.  But we don’t limit the inspiration of fresh produce to the kitchen and dining hall.  We use fresh produce as inspiration for creative expression as well as in the dance studio and on the athletics field to illustrate how energy from the proper foods allow us to run and play for much of the day!

What are the main uses of food you receive and who do you serve?

We use the fresh fruits and vegetables to cook from-scratch meals for our members and staff on a daily basis, as well as for multiple special events throughout the year.  We also use it to improve our members’ relationship with food through our Nutrition & Urban Agriculture classes, which cover nutrition, food equity, sustainability and food preparation.  Lastly, we prepare grocery bags of fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to members of our community.

How does receiving produce from Food Forward affect the work that you do?

Receiving this food allows us to save ~$80K in food cost, and gives us the ability to use those much-needed funds elsewhere.

WEST HOLLYWOOD FARMERS MARKET

For the West Hollywood Farmers Market, we are highlighting Seeds of Hope. Seeds of Hope are an amazing partner that receive food from all three of our programs and do a variety of projects that help so many different communities. They will also be highlighted in a post soon following produce from the market to the receiving agency!

image1

What does your organization do?

Seeds of Hope is the food justice ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles which seeks to help congregations, communities, and schools turn unused land into productive gardens and orchards to provide healthy and fresh food in areas of need across the county.

We look to create and sustain gardens and garden-based programs throughout the Diocese of Los Angeles to promote physical and spiritual wellness for individuals and communities. In coordinating this diocese-wide approach to food production and distribution, we are able to benefit the hungry and undernourished in our churches and also within our broader communities.

Through garden workshops, nutrition education, and with creative collaboration with churches, we are working to cultivate wellness in Los Angeles to create stronger, healthier churches and communities!

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

We began collaboration in March of 2014.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

Having fresh produce available to our participants has become an essential component, alongside our Cooking & Nutrition classes, for tackling unhealthy eating behaviors and eliminating the access and affordability barriers of acquiring wholesome foods. Our food pantries were able to transition from distributing mostly processed and packaged foods to giving out seasonal fresh produce to low income families in the neighborhood.

What are the main uses of food you receive and who do you serve?

We serve low income families all over LA County. We distribute the produce to our SNAP eligible participants that attend a Seeds of Hope Cooking & Nutrition class. We develop recipes to highlight one or more fruits and vegetables that show up in a Food Forward box for our class participants. The boxes are also distributed through our food banks.

How does receiving produce from Food Forward affect the work that you do?

Seeds of Hope works to fight food insecurity through many avenues such as gardens, nutrition education, food distribution, policy, and more. We’ve learned that not one of these components alone will do the job. In fact, we’ve seen the health and economic benefits of distributing fresh produce to our low income families with fewer resources. On an educational level, we love introducing new fruits and vegetables to our class participants and making a delicious and healthy meal out of it.

LARCHMONT FARMERS MARKET

For the Larchmont Farmers Market, we are highlighting the Los Angeles City College Foundation. Open to all, LACCF stages pop-up food markets on campus every Sunday, but the last and help to feed some of the nation’s most food insecure folks- students! LACCF has been instrumental for us gleaning at the Larchmont Farmers Market and we appreciate everything they’ve done for us.

resized_20170423_154116

What does your organization do?

Heidi D. Johnson is an alumna of LACC, founder and coordinator of the “Free Food Pop-up”. LACC’s campus has been the host of the pop-up since it was started in March 2013. This 100% volunteer run program, helps close the gap between those living in food deserts and recovery efforts of Food Forward. We educate the participants about the benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet, share recipes, as well as support sustainable models like composting

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

Since March 2013

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

The organic and pesticide free produce we receive from the market is essential to the survival of this program. We serve a large community who rely on the fresh food we provide weekly.

What are the main uses of food you receive and who do you serve?

Since its inception the “Free Food Pop-up” has served over 500 families in the Los Angeles area. Most of our participants are students as well as many families from the surrounding community who’ve fallen on hard times and don’t have money to buy food. We educate the participants about the benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet, share recipes, as well as support sustainable models like composting.

How does receiving produce from Food Forward affect the work that you do?

The partnership between Food Forward and the Free Food Pop-up at LACC has become a campus resource as well as a model for other programs in and throughout the area.

LONG BEACH PACIFICA FARMERS MARKET

For the Long Beach Farmers Market, we are highlighting Food Finders. Food Finders have been an amazing resource and partner for the Long Beach area. They pick up every Sunday from the Long Beach Pacifica Farmers Market and help us fight hunger!

republic-truck

What does your organization do?

Food Finders is a food rescue organization. We keep good wholesome food out of landfills and on the plates of people in need! Our food donors include grocery stores, LA produce market, farmers markets, event venues, restaurants and hotels, just to name a few.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

We have received food from Food Forward for the past year.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

Fresh produce makes up about 75% of what partner agencies receive from Food Finders. It is the number one donated and requested item.

What are the main uses of food you receive and who do you serve?

Donated food is delivered directly to one of our 330 partner agencies for distribution or use same day or next. We are also provide food for special events such as senior days, domestic violence conferences, veteran homecomings.

How does receiving produce from Food Forward affect the work that you do?

The Food Forward partnership falls in line with our mission of eliminating hunger and food waste. It allows us to provide nutritious food to our partner agencies.

ALHAMBRA FARMERS MARKET

For the Alhambra Farmers Market, we are highlighting one of our biggest donors at the market, Hier Cheemeng. They donate a wide variety of produce that bring smiles to the faces of our receiving agencies. We appreciate their weekly donations and support in helping feed neighboring communities.

hier-cheemengWhat is the history of your farm?

We are a family farm operated by a father, mother, and son trio and based in Fresno, CA. The father has been farming for about 25-30 years and the son for about 16-17 years since he was about 4 years old.

How long have you been selling at farmers markets, and how many markets do you work each week?

We have been selling at farmers markets about 8 years: Alhambra, Burbank, and Buena Park Farmers Markets and donating to Food Forward at both the Alhambra and Burbank Farmers Markets.

How long have you been donating produce to Food Forward?

We have been donating to Food Forward for about 2 years.

Why do you donate produce to Food Forward?

We have been donating to Food Forward because we like helping those in need and providing fresh excess produce for such purpose.

What are your favorite types of produce?

Our favorite types of produce are bok choy, Thai basil, white flower mustard, and eggplant.

CULVER CITY FARMERS MARKET

For the Culver City Farmers Market, we are highlighting Jeff Feldman. Jeff is a legend within our program and has coordinated the equipment pick up and drop off for the Culver City Farmers Market week to week since we first started gleaning at the market. He has been instrumental to the success of our market gleans and is a champion for food recovery!

jeff-feldman-4

How long have you volunteered with Food Forward, and why do you volunteer with us?

I have been volunteering for about 4 or 5 years I think. I started volunteering with my friend and colleague Tanya when our company became a receiving agency. We were asked to store the equipment since the market could not, and we decided to volunteer every week as well as pick up food for snacks at some of the schools we worked in in lower income areas.

What is the most satisfying part of gleaning?

I like knowing that all the food we glean is not going to waste. I also love meeting the farmers, other volunteers, and the people from the different receiving agencies. Everyone in the process has interesting stories to share as well as a passion for helping others.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering at the markets?

I have two favorite memories. One is when I got interviewed for a segment on NBC about Food Forward. The other was doing a glean with just me and Tanya in the pouring rain. It was hard but fun.

What are your favorite types of produce?

I really like zucchini. It’s really versatile. Besides the regular roasting, you can make it into pasta, lasagna, chips, etc.

What do you hope the FMR program achieves in the next 5 years?  

I would like to see FMR program grow into many more markets. I would love to see a booth at the farmers market that taught people about food waste and also how to cook with produce that others would just throw away.

TORRANCE TUESDAY FARMERS MARKET

For the Torrance Tuesday Farmers Market, we are highlighting Ken’s Top Notch. Ken’s Top Notch provide our receiving agencies with the most amazing fruit and we are grateful for their donations at markets around Los Angeles.

kens-top-notch-1

What is the history of your farm?

We have been farming since 1993. We now have 250 acres and grow 150 varieties of peaches, plums, nectarines, grapes and citrus. Everything we grow is organic.

How long have you been selling at farmers markets, and how many markets do you work each week?

I have been selling at farmers markets for the last 24 years and our farm is at 25 farmers market a week.

How long have you been donating produce to Food Forward?

Ever since it was created.

Why do you donate produce to Food Forward?

Food Forward has an amazing mission and is a good cause.

What are your favorite types of produce?

Our favorite type of produce is stone fruit.

THOUSAND OAKS FARMERS MARKET

For the Thousand Oaks Farmers Market, we are highlighting United Methodist Church of Thousand Oaks who not only pick up food from the market, but provide Glean Team Leaders for the glean! We really count on them and love the partnership that has developed over the years!

united-methodist-church-of-thousand-oaks

What does your organization do? 

The Harvest Program at the United Methodist Church in Thousand Oaks collects donated food six or seven days a week and provides these donations three mornings a week, MWF, to food insecure persons/families in the community.  The program started in 2012 as part of the Darden Restaurant Harvest program under the Food for America program.  In 2014 the program became a registered pantry under Foodshare in Ventura.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

In October 2015 we became aware of the activities of Food Forward in Ventura and began to participate in receiving donated produce, helping pick and deliver produce, and participate in leading at the Thousand Oaks Farmers Market.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

The produce that we receiving from Food Forward is the best source of fresh produce available to the program.  We and our clients have benefited from the efforts of Food Forward leaders, Ally Gialketsis and Jill Santos, to provide produce from backyard picks, from large orchards west of Moorpark, from farms in the Oxnard plain, and from picks in the San Fernando valley.

What are the main uses of food you receive and who do you serve?

We are serving on average 418 individuals a week which includes 121 children.  We distribute 197 milk crates of food per week with an average of over 5,000 pounds.  The weight figure, however, does not include, the weight of donations from Food Forward which frequently add another 1,000 pounds to our distribution

How does receiving produce from Food Forward affect the work that you do?

Without the donations from Food Forward, our 100 families that pick up food every week would get lots of bread but not necessary produce.  Food Forward definitely helps us assist our community and encourages our participants who pick up donations, process them, and distribute to our clients to enjoy their contributions as they observe smiling families leaving with boxes and bags of food.

SANTA MONICA WEDNESDAY FARMERS MARKET

For the Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers Market, we are highlighting St. Joseph Center. St. Joseph Center pick up from the Mar Vista and Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers Market. Their vehicle is often packed to the brim with produce and they have been very helpful in helping offload the mountains of produce we receive at the market.

imag0287

What does your organization do? 

St Joseph Center was established in 1976. Our oldest program is the Food Pantry. We serve low-income families and individuals.  Our programs range from helping people get housed to managing their money.  We also have some educational programs for instance: we have Code Talk which is a coding program aimed at getting low-income women of color into the tech industry, another is our Culinary Training Program which helps place people in the restaurant industry throughout L.A.  In addition to the Food Pantry we also have a “soup kitchen” named Bread and Roses.  This is a restaurant style kitchen that exclusively serves homeless individuals.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

The relationship with Food Forward dates back to the start of the program.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

The produce we serve in the pantry is what our clients look forward to the most.  They get to walk in and select their produce like in a grocery store.

What are the main uses of food you receive and who do you serve?

The unique produce we receive from the farmers’ markets help introduce our clients to food they may otherwise not purchase at grocery stores; either due to the lack of availability at their local stores or the price.

VENTURA SATURDAY FARMERS MARKET

For the Ventura Saturday Farmers Market, we are highlighting Stephen Cavola. Stephen Cavola is another stellar volunteers who spends his time leading gleans and picks!

26310153684_5dac804903_o

How long have you volunteered with Food Forward, and why do you volunteer with us?

I have been volunteering since September 2015. I volunteer because I want to help eliminate some food waste, feed hungry people, for the people that run the Ventura County branch Ally, Jill and in memory of Jim.

What is the most satisfying part of gleaning?

I like seeing the different variety of produce that is donated, and meeting the agencies that are receiving the donations.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering at the markets?

I have so many. The first day of the Ventura downtown market, gleaning in memory of Jim after he passed, and the first day of the channel islands market to name a few.

What are your favorite types of produce?

I love stone fruit myself, but as far as receiving donations I like when we get something we don’t receive like strawberries or grapes.

What do you hope the FMR program achieves in the next 5 years?  

I hope to see it continue to grow and expand into new communities.

This ends our celebration for the 5th anniversary of the program. We look forward to 5 more years of memories, food recovery, and feeding people. Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted in Food Forward News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *