Before founding Food Forward in 2009, Rick was an award-winning photographer and writer who focused on the faces and stories of marginalized communities. His formal training as a cook, along with his exploration of California’s agricultural workforce in his body of work entitled “The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers” gave him a deep appreciation of and involvement in both the gourmet cooking and food justice worlds. These varied interests, along with his conviction that access to healthy, fresh, nutritious food is a human right, culminated in him coming aboard as full-time Executive Director of Food Forward in 2011.
He’s spoken internationally on food justice and social innovation issues, and his work has been profiled in dozens of media outlets including The Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, The Guardian, Sunset Magazine, NPR, and The Los Angeles Times. Rick has served as a regional delegate to the Slow Food/Terra Madre Conference in Torino and as a Ralph M. Parsons Fellow, and won Fast Pitch competitions for Food Forward in California and Texas. He received an inaugural Trailblazer Award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2016, and the TIAA Difference Maker award in 2018. He was named a Food Champion by LA City Council, a 2017-18 Senior Fellow at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Policy, one of 40 Inspiring Leaders by the Center for Nonprofit Management, and a 2020 Impact-Maker to Watch by Los Angeles City Council & Board of Supervisors. Rick serves on the Leadership Circle of the LA Food Policy Council.