Farm to Table: Culver City Farmers Market to Creating Better Communities
12.7.17 – If you’ve ever joined us at a backyard harvest or Farmers Market, hopefully you’ve seen how much fresh food a small team of volunteers can collect in an hour or two. But you may not have seen what happens next! In this piece, one of our incredible former student interns Linnea Mack documents the journey from Farmers Market to Receiving Agency, and farm to table.
Creating Connections from Farm to Table
The farm to table movement is an increasingly popular phenomenon, but it’s more than just a trend. It’s a sustainable way of living that promotes environmental, economic, and community stability.
We live in the midst of an incredible abundance of food, yet food insecurity and hunger persist across the region. Food Forward began as a way to combat this discrepancy, working to bridge the gap between abundance and need.
Creating Better Communities, a local non-profit spearheaded by Becky Murray, works on the latter end of this process. Creating Better Communities serves meals three times a week to the Venice Beach boardwalk’s homeless community. This is where Becky found her inspiration, “I saw a lot of need and not a lot of people giving out.”
This week I followed the produce as it moved from farm to table, witnessing first hand what an incredible journey it truly is.
The Culver City Farmers Market comes to a lull. The Food Forward glean team is out in full force, collecting, weighing and sorting the vendors’ donations. The boxes are filled to the brim with everything from turnips to fresh juicy plumcots.
“We donate, otherwise the food would just go to feed the soil. We would rather it go to feed someone who needs it,” shared of the donating vendors, Tenerelli Orchards.
This week a total of 1058 pounds was gleaned from the market. A volunteer from Creating Better Communities comes to pick up her share of the week’s haul, fitting what she can into the SUV.
This weeks donations included lettuce, tomatoes, squash, green onions, onions, corn, and turnips!
“We donate, otherwise the food would just go to feed the soil. We would rather it go to feed someone who needs it.” – Tenerelli Orchards
Becky along with 4 other volunteers prepare the weekly meals. The menu for the week is determined by the market donations. Becky asserts that this is part of what she enjoys about the process. “It’s fun to learn how to cook and adapt with what were given.”
This particular morning, they were making omelettes. The veggies were diced, stirred into a large pan of eggs, dashed with a dab of freshly made salsa and served over a small bed of lettuce.
The volunteers shared stories of previous experiences and what led them to volunteer for Creating Better Communities. It was inspiring to be surrounded by people from different backgrounds coming together for a common purpose. Before I knew it, we had filled over 200 containers. The meals were then boxed, loaded, and ready for distribution.
Arguably the most meaningful step in this Farm to Table process was the distribution of 200 meals, which went directly to those who may not have otherwise eaten today. Becky agreed that this was her favorite part of the process. She loved being able to see the direct impact of where the food was going. Their goal is to eventually source their own food by creating a garden for the community, with the end goal of making fresh produce readily available for all.
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