2018 Good Food News Roundup
2018 was a big year for Food Forward and a big year in the world of food equity and food waste. The conversation around food waste continues to evolve, and new initiatives were introduced by local and even national governments. The sustainable farming movement is also growing, with plenty of examples of people taking the health of their communities into their own hands. Read on for a roundup of our favorite food news stories from 2018!
Vendors march in support of legalizing street vending in Los Angeles.
After first proposing such legislation five years ago, the LA City Council voted to legalize street vending in November. The movement was led by street vendors themselves, many of whom are women, most of whom are Latino. Organizations like the LA Food Policy Council and SEE-LA, among many others, were vital partners in creating momentum around the issue. Street vendors, who sell food and other merchandise, are often harassed by the police and civilians. The motion to legalize vending offers new protections and regulations, and endorses street vending as an invaluable piece of LA’s food and economic landscape.
At a luxury resort in the Maldives, an employee recycles coconut husks into rope.
At luxury hotels and resorts in South America and Southeast Asia, thousands of pounds of food are wasted every day, uneaten by guests. To reduce costs and create ecological benefits, many hotels repurpose this food waste into compost for gardens, cleaning products, or biogas to power their operations. It’s an amazing example of how food can become part of a closed loop system which benefits everyone.
Neighbors think outside the box to create their own grocery co-op, Apple Street Market.
When their local grocery store shut down, people in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood worked together to find a solution. These neighbors organized to create Apple Street Market, a unionized community-owned cooperative. For just $100 (or $10 for those who qualify for SNAP, free or reduced lunch, or Medicaid), community members can become owners of the market. It’s a creative and collaborative model that ensures the community has access to healthy food, as well as good-paying jobs with benefits.
Leah Penniman (left) and Amani Olugbala grow food for the Albany, NY community on Soul Fire Farm’s 72 acres.
Today more women, specifically women of color, are leading the sustainable agriculture movement. Leah Penniman owns Soul Fire Farm near Albany, New York, and sells her produce at a sliding scale to Albany neighborhoods which lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Penniman also engages youth groups on her farm, and aims to train Black and Latino people in African farming and land management techniques. Often, the origin of these techniques are not recognized in the mainstream sustainable farming movement, and are misrepresented as European practices. Penniman is one of many farmers who is improving the health of her community through connecting to the land.
250 million meals are thrown away in the UK every year–Ben Elliot hopes to change that.
The UK appointed their first “Food Surplus and Waste Champion” to tackle the issue of food waste in Britain. Ben Elliot, a philanthropist and businessman, was appointed to the role and will oversee the Food Waste Fund, a £15 million effort to redistribute surplus food. Speaking on his new role, Elliot said that “As a nation, we need to stop this excessive waste and ensure that surplus food finds its way to people in our society who need it most, and not let it get thrown away and go to landfill.”
Volunteers at the Watts Mudtown Free Farmers Market, our collaboration with the WLCAC, pose with fruits and veggies ready to be distributed to community members.
As an organization which works to prevent food waste and provide fruits and vegetables to those experiencing food insecurity, we believe healthy food is a basic human right. We know from our work that there is plenty of food to feed everyone, but barriers to access get in the way. In 2018, we expanded our Produce Pick-Up program and held 31 events to directly distribute free fruits and vegetables to individuals in food deserts. And in 2019, we’re going to keep working to reduce those barriers and create better access to fresh, healthy food. We hope you’ll join us!