Community Service Opportunities at Food Forward

October 27th, 2017

10.27.17 – Fall is the perfect season to start looking into places to do community service. Schools are getting started, the holidays are coming up, and it’s the right time to start planning your resolutions for the coming year. While we look for volunteers to come out and join us all year round, and have community service opportunities nearly every day of the year, now is definitely a great time to get started!

Harvest Food, Fight Hunger, Complete Community Service

How do you complete community service at Food Forward?

To get started, head on over to our volunteer calendar, find an event that works for you, and submit our quick registration form to sign up. We’ll send you a confirmation email when you sign up, and a reminder email before the event. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with our volunteer team at an point by emailing volunteer@foodforward.org.

Sign Up for Community Service Opportunities

A happy Food Forward Volunteer

Thumbs Up! Photo by Zack Warburg

What is Community Service?

Community service is exactly what it sounds like: serving your community! There are so many reasons that people volunteer their time to serve their own and neighboring communities.

Whether you’re completing required volunteer hours, have some spare time, or just want to give back, everyone is welcome to volunteer. We make it easy for you to sign up and come out, and if you need proof of community service, we’re more than happy to verify the time you spend volunteering with us.

Students at the CSUN Day of Service

Where can I complete Community Service with Food Forward?

All over Southern California! You can complete community service hours at any of our food recovery events in Los Angeles or Ventura counties. We have events at different locations nearly every day of the week.

Our volunteers are out at over 20 farmers markets every week, and depending on the season, many fruit and produce harvests as well. To see all of our upcoming volunteer opportunities, check out our volunteer calendar.

How to confirm my volunteer hours?

It’s easy! Sign up for as few or as many events as you’d like on our volunteer calendar. Once you complete your required hours, send us an email at volunteer@foodforward.org. Let us know that you require proof of your community service, and we’ll send you our official form.

Please give us up to a week to process your volunteer hours form. If you know you’re going to need verification, it’s best to let us know early so that we can get it to you on time!

If you have a different form that you need us to fill out, that’s no problem either! Bring it out to each event you come to, and have your Food Forward Event Leader sign off on the date. If you have any questions, get in touch with us at volunteer@foodforward.org.

Our proof of community service volunteer hours form

Why choose Food Forward for your service project?

Why not!? Food Forward’s service events are fun, outdoor, and social. You can sign up for one event or as many as you’d like, and all of our volunteer opportunities are short and sweet as an orange. Even better, you will get to see the impact that you are making immediately. Nothing is sweeter than that!

Sign Up for Community Service Opportunities

Volunteers completing community service at a farmers market

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New Fruitlings, welcome aboard!

October 5th, 2017

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We are completely CITRIFIED to announce that Richard Weinroth has formally joined high-level activities across Fruitland as our first Director of Programs. Richard comes to Food Forward after nearly a decade-long stint as the Foodbank Director at MEND Poverty in the San Fernando Valley. He has been like family since Food Forward co-founder Erica Kopmar first handed three boxes of fresh-picked backyard oranges to him in Lake Balboa in the summer of 2009. In addition to leading triage efforts post-Katrina in New Orleans, as well as cheffing and owning his own restaurant, Richard has hands-on experience in hunger relief.

Food Forward Executive Director Rick Nahmias explains, “Being able to bring Richard’s huge brain, heart and vision into our organization is truly a dream come true. He’s been on the sidelines of the creation and growth of all our programs, coaching and supporting us, but knowing he will now be right in the mix with us as we amp up our capacity, geographic reach and volunteer engagement, is an opportunity we are incredibly excited by and grateful for. The clincher though was his nifty Hot Wheel collection.”

 

579183_337858832936758_21317562_nRichard Weinroth at an early Food Forward fruit pick
 

“I see this as a job that I get to do, not a job that I have to do. I’ve loved what Food Forward does since our very first phone call nearly 9 years ago when, as the Foodbank Director and Chef at MEND Poverty, I showed up in my old Fiat to pick up a few boxes of freshly picked oranges, not far from where the Food Forward’s Fruit Cave now stands. I look forward to being part of Food Forward’s passionate team and working with our thousands of volunteers focused on doing our part to end food waste, and helping bring fresh and healthy food to so many families’ tables.” – Richard Weinroth

We are also excited to welcome Pamela Guerra as a full-time Development Associate. Pam comes to us after a stint at 826LA and recently graduating from UC Irvine with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. She brings a great mind and an artistic eye to our growing development team and, from the looks of the wonderful creativity she brought to our recent staff retreat and scavenger hunt, we can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us.

“Having previously worked on the academic and policy side of food insecurity and food waste issues, I am looking forward to becoming involved with a different piece of this complex puzzle by working with an organization that rescues produce and connects it to those in need. I’m also a fairly recent transplant to Southern California, and I am excited to serve my community by helping address the very basic needs of food and nutrition.” – Pamela Guerra

 

pam-head-pineapplePamela Guerra: Head Pineapple at Food Forward’s 2017 staff retreat

Please help us welcome both these new talents to our family and feel free to drop Rich or Pam an email to say hello!

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Rebuilding the lives of torture survivors

October 2nd, 2017

9.29.17 – Food Forward receiving agency Program for Torture Victims (PTV) goes above and beyond to assist a vastly underserved population: survivors of torture and persecution rebuilding their lives here, in California. A healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial to client recovery.

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PTV offers medical and dental services to torture survivors

 
Food Forward is proud to work with so many incredible agency partners who receive our recovered fruits and vegetables. Just in the last year, we have donated rescued produce to 166 hunger relief agencies, some of whom distribute to an additional 350 direct service agencies. Receiving produce from Food Forward means organizations are better able to meet the needs of their clients, who may not otherwise have access to the fruits and vegetables essential to a healthy diet.

One of the agencies we’ve started supporting this year, through the Farmers Market Recovery program, is the Program for Torture Victims (PTV). A Los Angeles-based agency, PTV is the first of its kind in the nation. Through their unique nonprofit model, PTV rebuilds the lives of torture survivors from over 70 countries who have stood up for freedom, democracy, and human dignity. PTV helps to heal physical and psychological wounds, making it possible for survivors to start a second life here in California and work toward a world without torture.
 

ptv1A PTV client and staff member, Claudia Vargas, share their support for the organization

 
Refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world are resettled in here in Los Angeles. Although they’re not a group we often hear about, survivors of torture are often among these populations. State-sponsored torture is used to punish, take revenge, and create terror. It’s shockingly prevalent, with over 110 countries engaging in state-sponsored torture in the last decade. PTV also assists victims of persecution, defined as systemic mistreatment or violence against a group of people. Anyone can be a victim of state-sponsored torture or persecution– people of any age, religion, race, gender, or sexuality.

PTV offers comprehensive services to its clients, including counseling, medical care, legal support, and healing groups. Now, PTV is able to supply clients with fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables each week, gleaned by Food Forward from the West Hollywood Farmers Market. Since our partnership began in July, Food Forward has recovered and donated over 1,100 pounds of fresh produce to PTV.
 

ptv-la-staffRemarkable PTV Los Angeles staff members: Claudia Vargas; Trip Oldfield; Maggie Shackelford; Dr. Cynthia Willard; Carol Gomez; and Carly Boos

 
Trip Oldfield, PTV’s Executive Director, said, “For many torture survivors, they arrive in the U.S. with little more than the clothes on their backs. Having access or the means to buy fresh fruits and vegetables is usually something out of reach, but it’s also something that’s crucial to their health and road to recovery. PTV is extremely grateful for the wonderful produce that Food Forward has made available to our clients.”

We’re honored to be a partner to a group doing such remarkable, important work in our Los Angeles community.

As part of the Food Forward family, thank you for supporting our work with impactful agencies like the Program for Torture Victims. Because of the robust food recovery community we’ve built, Food Forward is able to support survivors of torture with fresh, healthy foods as they reenter society and reclaim their identities.
 
Learn more about the Program for Torture Victims: http://ptvla.org/

Learn more about Farmers Market Recovery: https://foodforward.org/about/farmers-market/

Sign up to glean at the West Hollywood Farmers Market: https://foodforward.org/events/

 

ptv4PTV Development Director Cam Vu shares the impact of persistence

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The peaches shine: a Q&A with Mohawk Bend

September 27th, 2017

9.27.17 — As part of September’s #ProduceChange initiative, Mohawk Bend in Echo Park is offering a unique pizza to benefit Food Forward’s work to fight hunger and food waste. We chatted with Chef Drew to learn about his Peach Forward creation and why Mohawk Bend is so passionate about giving back to their community.

image6The Peach Forward pizza is available at Mohawk Bend through September. $4 from each pizza sold benefits Food Forward’s produce recovery work.


We chose peaches to kick off Produce Change because they’re so emblematic of this time of year. So, what makes Peach Forward the perfect way to enjoy peaches?

Peach Forward balances all of those sweet, end-of-summer flavors from the peaches and tomatoes with the spicy, smokiness of Chorizo de Bilbao. The peaches shine in this savory dish because their consistency allows them to hold their own next to the dense Spanish sausage and tangy, peppery layers of mozzarella, arugula and goat cheese.


Mohawk
 Bend has been quietly supporting — and drawing attention to — local nonprofits for years, every month of the calendar! We think Piece of the Pie is such a cool project. What’s been the most rewarding part of organizing that initiative? Have there been any challenges?

The most rewarding part is connecting our favorite organizations with our guests! We love to share and celebrate the amazing work happening in our community.The only challenge is choosing who to highlight each month. There’s so much good happening all over Los Angeles.


We were fortunate enough to be a Piece of the Pie recipient all the way back in 2013, so clearly, you’re a fan! What excites you about Food Forward?

Everything! We love your mission, values and ethos Your mission aligns so well with our values. We hope everyone in Los Angeles (and beyond!) discovers your food rescue and hunger-fighting program.

 

Your support of Food Forward is just one part of your larger effort to build a better world — to produce change — through the food you serve. How else does Mohawk Bend share this ethos with its customers?

As a neighborhood business we believe in supporting our local economy and other businesses with values similar to ours. This means, whenever possible, local vendors get first priority. As such, we are proud to source our menu from an array of local brewers, regional farmers and thoughtful California makers.

 

Click here to learn about Produce Change!

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A few peachy questions with Clementine

September 21st, 2017

9.21.17 — As part of September’s #ProduceChange initiative, Clementine is offering a peach-tastic Indian Summer chicken sandwich to benefit Food Forward’s work to fight hunger and food waste. We sat down with Annie Miler, long-time Food Forward friend, and Chef/Owner of Clementine, to ask what inspires her to Produce Change.

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Annie Miler at Food Forward’s annual Spring Melt gala

 

Peaches were the perfect way to kick off Produce Change, because they’re so emblematic of this season! So what makes the Indian Summer sandwich such a perfect way to enjoy peaches?

When you grill a peach it makes the flavor more intense – there are also these wonderful caramelized bits too. The sweetness of the peach is a nice counter to something savory – like the chicken we marinate in masala – we thought it would be a great way to showcase the peach for the season.

 

You’ve supported Food Forward since the earliest days, even dreaming up and hosting our first annual Spring Melt. What excites you most about Food Forward as an organization? 

There is an overall efficiency to Food Forward. Such a devotion to making the most of every resource available and getting food that would be otherwise wasted to people who need it. It is the epitome of sustainability.

 

Do you think chefs and restaurateurs have any responsibility to shape the way diners understand our food system?

We all have a responsibility to understand the food system. Any extent that I can help with that, I most definitely will.

 

Your support of Food Forward is just one part of your larger effort to build a better world — to produce change — through the food you serve. How else does Clementine share this ethos with its customers?

As a company we encourage each person who works here to become part of a larger community. We start with being kind to each other with the idea that it can have a direct impact on the service that we give – and then we hope that will spread into the world. #pebbleinthepond #ripple

 

Click here to learn about Produce Change!

indian-summer-1Every purchase of the Indian Summer sandwich helps Food Forward recover 33 pounds of fruits and veggies

 

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Produce of the Month: Tomatillos!

September 12th, 2017

9.12.17 – Pronounced “tohm-ah-TEE-ohs,” September is the last month to search for this tart fruit. Tomatillos are also known as husk tomatoes, Mexican green tomatoes, and jam berries. Learn more about this delicious fruit in this Produce of the Month blogpost. 

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Photo courtesy of Hans Peter Meyer, Flickr

Background:
Tomatillos look like tomatoes hidden under a paper-like husk. A cousin of the tomato and the Cape gooseberry, tomatillos are known by a variety of names, including husk tomatoes, jam berries and Mexican green tomatoes. If you peel back the husk you will find a firm, slightly sticky fruit. Tomatillos can be found much of the year, but their main season generally ranges from May through October which means August is a perfect time to look for these little gems. Allowed to mature, the vivid green shade might shift to yellow, red and even purple. Green tomatillos usually have a slightly tart flavor, though other colors can be sweet enough to be used in jams. Nutritionally, tomatillos are low in calories and rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, potassium, manganese, and healthy omega 6 fatty acids.

History:

Tomatillos are  members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.This fruit have been cultivated for millennia and were a staple food in ancient Mayan and Aztec communities. In fact, the Aztecs are credited with domesticating the tomatillo. They grow throughout the Western Hemisphere, and are a popular staple food in Mexico, where they are often called “tomato verde” or “green tomatoes” (not to be confused with American “green tomatoes,” which are simply unripe tomatoes).
Selection and Storage:
A tomatillos husk is a good indicator of its ripeness. Select tomatillos that have an intact, tight-fitting, light brown or slightly green husk. Fresh tomatillos with their husks still intact may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They are best stored in a paper bag. Tomatillos last a week longer in the refrigerator if the husks are removed and the fruit is placed in sealed plastic bags. Tomatillos may also be frozen after removing the husks.

Recipe:

avocado-tomatillo-salsa-626x415

Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free

Ingredients:
-2 large, 3 medium, or 6 small tomatillos, husked
-4 cloves garlic, skin on
-1 jalapeño pepper (more or less, depending on preference and heat level)
-1 shallot, peeled
-1 Hass avocado, pitted and scooped
-Juice of 2 limes
-1 bunch cilantro
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:
1. Put a small skillet over medium high heat. Without using any oil, add the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño and shallot and dry roast, turning occasionally, until there are many black spots on the vegetables, about 5 minutes.
2. Put the tomatillos and shallot in your blender jar. Peel the garlic and add it to the blender. Halve, seed, and stem the jalapeño and add it to the blender.

3. Add the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and salt. Process on high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning – it may need more lime juice or salt. If it needs more heat, judiciously add cayenne or any chili powder you prefer.

References:
http://www.foodreference.com/html/art-tomatillo.html
http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2012/09/the-tomatillo-tohm-ah-tee-oh.html
http://herbivoracious.com/2012/09/avocado-and-tomatillo-salsa-recipe.html

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Food Forward Presents: Sour Power!

September 7th, 2017

9.7.17 – Harvest food, fight hunger, build community. How better to celebrate Food Forward’s third pillar than through food itself? Food Forward’s beloved Foodsteader series returns with two hands-on workshops slated for September and November.

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We hope you’ll join us at the fabulous BLVD Kitchen to savor the last of summer.


In Sour Power: Quick Pickles & Shrubs on Sunday, September 24 at BLVD Kitchen, we’ll craft tangy fruit pickles and cocktail-ready drinking vinegars (shrubs) as a means of preserving surplus fruits.
In this hands-on class, Chef Michelle Lainez of Chef Michelle & Co. will guide you through shrub-making and pickling, encouraging you to experiment with spices and aromatics to customize each jar to your liking.

Cap off the afternoon with a bracing tonic of fresh shrub mixed with Ventura Spirits California Vodka — the only vodka in the world distilled from strawberries. Students will leave with a jar each of shrub, sweet pickles, and sour pickles, and the confidence to continue exploring each of these methods at home!

As an added bonus, Sour Power students will receive exclusive early access to register for the next workshop, featuring Fermentation on Wheel’s Tara Whitsitt, on November 19.

Space is highly limited and spots will sell out, so move quickly!

 

Get tickets!


About Food Forward:

Food Forward is a non-profit organization that presents a simple solution to hunger and food waste in our communities. Through a diverse network of backyard fruit trees, public orchards, 22 farmers markets, and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, Food Forward recovers surplus produce and donates it 100% free of charge to people in need. Last year alone, Food Forward donated more than 15 million pounds of fresh fruits and veggies to over 300 hunger relief agency partners, reaching over 1.5 million people. Come help us harvest food, fight hunger, and build community by becoming a volunteer or produce donor!

About Michelle Lainez:
Chef Michelle Lainez is a private chef, caterer, culinary educator, and host of the “Conscious Dinner” series at Crafted Kitchen in DTLA. Recently, Michelle created and prepared the meal for Fermenting Change: A Dinner for the Microbiome with Slow Food Ventura County, and will host a workshop on masa at the 2017 Gourmandise Grain Conference. Click here to hear her conversation about “Conscious Cooking” in the July episode of the Sound Advice podcast!

About BLVD Kitchen:
There’s a reason why everyone gathers in the kitchen. It’s the beating heart of every home, and we hope that BLVD Kitchen becomes the heart of Sherman Oaks! Our commercial kitchen space is a place for cooks of all kinds. Explore the shop, try a sample, or roll up your sleeves and get cooking with one of our casual, hands-on cooking classes for adults and kids alike. The kitchen is also available to caterers, food entrepreneurs, bloggers, and other food pros for rentals as well as private events, filming, and pop-ups. Sign up for a class today!

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

September 1st, 2017

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Fig Fiesta!

August 23rd, 2017

8.23.17 — It’s fig season! Here is all you need to know about harvesting the “Fruit of the Gods,” along with some fun fig facts!

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Hang out with Food Forward long enough and you may develop what we like to call Fruit Goggles. The next thing you know you’re completely in-tune with the seasons and exactly which fruits and vegetables are growing around you. That is why it would come as no surprise if all of you fruitanthropists out there have already spotted what comes next on the Food Forward fruit calendar.

That’s right! Figs are here and we want to talk about it!

Whether you are an experienced Food Forward Pick Leader, volunteer, or homeowner dealing with the “Fruit of the Gods” this season, Food Forward would like to throw some fun facts and tips that hopefully will make you look at this fruit in a whole new way.

First things first, if you’re getting ready to harvest figs this season, do you know what to look for? How do we know a fig is ripe and ready to be harvested? Whether you’re harvesting Golden figs or sweet Mission figs, here is a list of tips to help you FIGure this one out!

– When plucked, fruit should not drip white sap (fig latex)

– Make sure the stem holding the fig to the branch is limber

– How a fig hangs can often be a better ripeness indicator than color

– When ripe, figs will droop forming a J-shape between fruit and stem

– Fruit should be soft

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It is important to keep in mind that not all of the fruit on a fig tree becomes ripe together (unlike citrus) so, for those of you who like to pick a tree clean every time, figs may not be your cup of tea, although we hear tea made from fig leaf is both good for your health and very tasty indeed! Back to the issue at hand… while this unsynchronized fruiting can make our work here at Food Forward a bit more challenging, it is important to only harvest the fruit that is ready to be picked and wait until the next batch matures in a few days or weeks. For this reason Food Forward volunteers often harvest the same fig tree multiple times during the short fig season

One of the reasons it is really important to know when a fig is ready to be picked or, more importantly, when it is NOT, is because of the potential skin irritation that some people can develop when coming in contact with the white sap present in unripe figs. Known as fig latex, the sap contains an enzyme called ficin that can be a skin irritant to some people. So next time you’re out picking figs, leave the green unripe fruit to be harvested a different time, and be sure to wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt, just in case. With that said, it’s not all bad news when it comes to ficin. The same enzyme is also a main contributing ingredient that makes the fig a powerful laxative.

Here are some additional fun FIG-Facts we thought you’d enjoy:

– Figs are highly perishable so should be consumed within a day or two of harvest/purchase.

– The natural sugar content in figs is 55 percent, which makes them the sweetest fruit in the world.

– Because figs can hold moisture, they are a great substitute for butter or oil in baking. Don’t forget to bring us some if you try this!

– Fossil records date figs back to between 9400 – 9200 B.C

– 98% of the figs produced in the U.S come from California

– Figs are rich in potassium and fiber, which are said to help lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure

– Figs thrive in Mediterranean climates like Greece, Spain and, of course, Southern California!

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Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Farmers Market Recovery (Part 1)

August 15th, 2017

8.15.17 – 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! Here’s Part 1 – click here to read Part 2.

To commemorate such an amazing milestone, we have chosen to highlight volunteers and partners from each of the 21 farmers markets we glean at. We are so grateful for every person who has contributed to the program over the years and for the support from communities across Los Angeles and Ventura.

Santa Monica Sunday Farmers Market

For the Santa Monica Sunday Farmers Market, we are highlighting the amazing Kathy Turk. When she’s not volunteering with the Farmers Market Recovery Program, she is leading picks with the Backyard Harvest Program and representing us at events as a Community Ambassador.

Kathy Turk leads team of volunteers at the market

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

Food Forward grandfathered in Santa Monica Sunday (SMS) farmers’ market February 2013, so that’s my official start. Our partnership made gleaning at SMS sustainable, allowing what I was doing to grow so we could feed more people. That’s what it’s all about: our community, food justice, and healthy food for our people.

What is the most satisfying part of gleaning?

All the people involved—farmers, volunteers, clients of the agencies, and their smiles.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering at the markets?

Convincing a farmer to bring his crooked cucumbers to market for Food Forward, only to find that he was actually able to sell them all to customers.

What are your favorite types of produce?

The fruits of summer and beautiful organic salad greens are my favorite types of produce to glean.

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

I hope the program can develop more of a output focus with the volunteers and super volunteers. Inputs are simply putting in the hours. Outputs are everything from kit and equipment maintenance, to the quantity and quality of the food we collect, and the relationships we have with the farmers and receiving agencies.

Melrose Place Farmers Market

For the Melrose Place Farmers Market, we are highlighting our partner, Waste Not Want Not Now. This market glean marked the first time we partnered with a receiving agency in handling the duties and responsibilities of a market glean. Waste Not Want Not Now also picks up from the Studio City Farmers Market.

Waste Not Want Not Now picks up at the Melrose Place Farmers Market

What does your organization do?

Waste Not Want Not Now was founded by Nancy Beyda and Alex Rose. For over 10 years, we have been working with a group of volunteers to pick up food donated by grocery stores, restaurants and hotels, and deliver it to organizations that feed and serve the homeless of greater Los Angeles. Waste Not Want Now Now works to raise consciousness about the widespread waste of food resources through our work, as well as divert the excess food from markets into the hands of charities that feed the hungry.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

We’ve been receiving food from the Studio City Farmers Market since September last year. We’ve also recently started working with Food Forward on their weekly gleans at the Melrose Place farmer’s market.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

We strongly believe that it’s not only important to bring food to those who are hungry, but to do so in a way that is healthy, dignified, and thoughtful. Everyone deserves access to nutritious food, not just those who can afford it. The ability to donate fresh produce is crucial to our operation. At The Center at Blessed Sacrament, fresh produce is part of the wellness model that emphasizes healthy eating in conjunction with providing housing, health care, mental health services and community.

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

Waste Not Want Not Now works out of The Center at Blessed Sacrament, a homeless recovery center in the heart of Hollywood. Much of the fresh produce is donated to The Center to assist with their ongoing work to help our city’s homeless live enjoyable, healthy, and safer lives. We also donate to the Good Shepherd Center for Women & Children, Angelica Lutheran Church, and My Friend’s Place.

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

Food Forward is a significant contributor of fresh produce to WNWN Now. Through the market gleans, we are able to bring upwards of 500 pounds of produce to Los Angeles’ needy population per week.

Burbank Farmers Market

For the Burbank Farmers Market, we are highlighting our largest vendor at the market, Island Farms. Island Farms have patented fruit that is both delicious and crucial for any marketgoers. They make donations at the Burbank and Studio City Farmers Markets!

Island Farms fills a Food Forward box with produce

What is the history of your farm?

Island Farms started in 1910 with my grandfather selling with grapes and raisins. We have since expanded to include a wide variety of other produce, including peaches and citrus fruits.

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 for the last15 years since 2002. We sell at 4 markets each week (Thu, Sat, Sun). Next week will be our 15th anniversary at the Burbank Saturday Farmers Market.

How long have you been donating produce to Food Forward?

We have been donating produce to Food Forward since Food Forward first approached us. We highly recommend other vendors to donate to Food Forward. Their reliable volunteers are the key to their success.

Why do you donate produce to Food Forward?

We do not want to waste food. Donating produce is an excellent way to reduce waste while helping the less fortunate and putting a smile on others faces. Once, we heard that some people specifically request produce donated by Island Farms, which we take as a huge compliment.

What are your favorite types of produce?

Everything we grow, especially nectarines, summer fruits.

Pacific Palisades Farmers Market

For the Pacific Palisades Farmers Market, we are highlighting the wonderful Susan Lasken. Susan splits her time between the Pacific Palisades and Studio City Farmers Markets and additionally is a Community Ambassador.

Susan Lasken puts together Food Forward boxes

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

I have been volunteering for about four years.

What is the most satisfying part of gleaning?

There are so many things that are satisfying. I enjoy working with all the volunteers. It is as chance to meet a variety of dedicated, interesting people. I enjoy being at the market experiencing the sights, sounds colors and smells, and finally I like getting to know the vendors and the despite the hard work they have such a wonderful attitude.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering at the markets?

My most memorable glean was when the program first began; I was the only person that showed up to glean at the market. Not only that, it was raining. Despite the hardships, the agencies and vendors all chipped in to help, and we were able to distribute food that would have been wasted to needy people.

What are your favorite types of produce?

I like all vegetables and fruits except I am not overly fond of kale.

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

I hope it is able to reach more needy people, delivering to the homeless encampments even.

Torrance Tuesday Farmers Market

For the Torrance Tuesday Farmers Market, we are highlighting Buenrostro Farms. Buenrostro Farms are known for growing onions, artichokes, strawberries and sugar snap peas. We are grateful for vendors like Buenrostro who make weekly donations at multiple markets!

Buenrostro Farms at the Torrance Farmers Market

What is the history of your farm?

We are located in San Bernardino. It’s a family operation, founded by Geraldo. My son Ricardo does the Torrance Market.

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 for 15 years and currently do about 8 markets per week.

How long have you been donating produce to Food Forward?

For quite some time

Why do you donate produce to Food Forward?

We donate to Food Forward because they care about the community, don’t want to see people go hungry, and they think we’re all around good guys!

What are your favorite types of produce?

We love strawberries, onions, watermelon and tomatoes.

Pasadena Farmers Market

For the Pasadena Farmers Market, we are highlighting our one and only receiving agency at the market, Friends In Deed. Friends in Deed is an incredible organization that do so much in their community and have been excellent partners in helping feed those in need!

Friends In Deed in Pasadena welcomes a Food Forward produce donation

What does your organization do?

Friends In Deed is dedicated to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable residents in the greaterPasadena/Altadena area and surrounding cities. Our mission is to alleviate the effects of poverty, to encourage self-sufficiency through the collective efforts of congregations, individuals and community organizations and to promote mutual support, understanding and collaboration within the faith community. Our food pantry provides low-income and no- income families with food on a weekly basis.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

We’ve been working with Food Forward for more than 3 1⁄2 years. For the first year, we mainly received fruit via the Backyard Harvests. For the last 2+ years, we’ve been picking up every Saturday from the Pasadena Farmers Market. It is produce that we count on week in and week out.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

We provide food to more than 300 families every week. Besides offering our community shelf stable foods, it is one of our top priorities to be able to offer as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to them. When a person visits our food pantry, they are able to select the foods they want. That means that they are taking foods they, and their family, will eat. Being able to offer healthy choices to our families, means they can prepare and serve healthy meals at home. Depending on availability, we usually distribute between 1,000-1,500 lbs. of fresh fruits and vegetables per week. Ideally, I would like to let people take as much produce as they want/need.

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

Our food pantry is set up like a neighborhood market and our community will come through and chose the foods they want, based on family size and food availability. Most of our community falls into the category of “working poor” or are senior citizens. Most have places to live, homes or apartments, and resides in the greater Pasadena/Altadena area. But we do also provide to the homeless individuals in our community as well. Not counting the children in the families, the age range of people visiting us is from 25-90 years of age and is diverse in its ethnicity.

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

I can only begin to describe how much receiving fresh produce from Food Forward means to me, my community, and the work we are doing. Buying fresh produce is not cheap and if you are on a limited budget, you might opt for cheaper, less healthy food – because it is affordable. All the food we distribute, whether it is shelf-stable, fresh produce, bread, meat, etc., is free to our community. This means that our community is taking home fresh fruits and vegetables and serving healthier meals to themselves and their families.

Hollywood Farmers Market

For the Hollywood Farmers Market, we are highlighting an amazing vendor and partner, The Garden Of. We recognized The Garden Of at our Spring Melt this past year with the Fruitanthropist Award to acknowledge the important work they do in the community and the high-level partnership we have built with them over the years! They donate to us at the Hollywood and Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers Markets!

The Garden Of Farm displays their bounty of greens

What is the history of your farm?

Shu Takikawn moved here from Japan 35 years ago and began farming. He then met his future wife Debbie and in 1993, they started their own farm. It was initially 2 acres and has since grown to 70 acres. They really value being organic, not using chemicals and not harming the natural back and forth in nature.

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

We started donating when we started farming in 1993. We currently sell to four markets; two in Los Angeles and two in Santa Barbara County.

How long have you been donating produce to Food Forward?

3 years

Why do you donate produce to Food Forward?

We love being able to donate and not letting any of our food go to waste. We love being involved in a program that is very direct in giving back.

What are your favorite types of produce?

The best stuff we sell! Which is lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers

Brentwood Farmers Market

For the Brentwood Farmers Market, we are highlighting one of our most active Glean Team Leaders, Rosanna O’Guynn. Rosanna also leads at the Mar Vista and Larchmont Farmers Market.

Rosanna leads a team of volunteers at the market

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

I’ve been a volunteer for Food Forward for 3 years so far. I volunteer for food recovery, that would otherwise go to waste is a adequate action.

What is the most satisfying part of gleaning?

The most satisfying part of gleaning is knowing that even an item of fresh produce given as a donation can bring some sort of encouragement.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering at the markets?

My favorite memory is each time a glean occurs. It’s always rewarding to see the amount of produce donated by the farmers.

What are your favorite types of produce?

My favorite type of produce is fresh produce!

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

I hope for more progression.

Calabasas Farmers Market

For the Calabasas Farmers Market, we are highlighting Family Rescue Center. Family Rescue Center not only picks up from the market, but allow us to store our market kit and supplies at their facility. They are an integral partner for the market and we appreciate everything they have done for us!

Boxes arrive at Family Rescue Center

What does your organization do?

Family Rescue Center provides food assistance along with free used clothing, vocational training scholarships, health education, and referrals to other agencies. We serve about 300 families a month, 40% of our people served are children. We also provide extras such as back packs in August, Thanksgiving food, and toys at Christmas.

How long have you been receiving food from Food Forward?

Richard (Dick) Shively first connected Family Rescue Center with Food Forward in 2012. At that time it was for the backyard fruit picks. Dick was one of the founders of Family Rescue Center back in 1998.

What role does fresh produce play in your organization?

All this fresh produce is offered to our families (mostly working poor in the Canoga Park area, heavily Hispanic) when they come in for their monthly food distribution. They choose what produce they want. The standard menu they receive is dried and canned food, plus donated bread and desserts from local supermarkets. The farmer’s market food is so important to give more nutrition and variety to the families. This not only increases the amount of the food they receive, it also increases the health value of the meals they can cook.

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

All this fresh produce is offered to our families (mostly working poor in the Canoga Park area, heavily Hispanic) when they come in for their monthly food distribution. They choose what produce they want. The standard menu they receive is dried and canned food, plus donated bread and desserts from local supermarkets.

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

The farmer’s market food is so important to give more nutrition and variety to the families. This not only increases the amount of the food they receive, it also increases the health value of the meals they can cook.

Channel Islands Farmers Market

For the Channel Islands Farmers Market, we are highlighting Azteca Farms. Azteca Farms are an awesome vendor who help us fight hunger in two different counties! Azteca Farms donate a variety of produce at the Long Beach and Channel Island Farmers Market

Azteca Farms at the Channel Islands Farmers Market

What is the history of your farm?

It has been in our family the past 20 years in Peru

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

We do about 10 markets a week and have been doing them the past 15 years

How long have you been donating produce to Food Forward?

5 years

Why do you donate produce to Food Forward?

We have always helped out the local shelter in Piru and are glad to help others in need throughout the area.

What are your favorite types of produce?

Zucchini and squash

Stay tuned for the next post that will feature spotlights from the other markets that we glean at!

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