Monday, November 29, 2010

Food Forward

With the Holiday Season upon us I want to give a shout out to a great LA Charity: Food Forward! Food Forward is an amazing all volunteer grassroots group of Angelenos who care about reconnecting to our food system and making change around urban hunger.

But first an interesting factoid or two about volunteering... It will make you a happier person. (Hooray!!!)

In 2008 Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, published research in the journal Science, that proved that money will buy you happiness... that is if you give it to other people. He and his research team questioned 632 Americans about how much they earned and how they spent their income. They also asked them to rate their own happiness. Regardless of income level, those people who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not. In a second study, the team also gave 46 volunteers either $5 or $20 to spend. They instructed the participants to spend the money on themselves or someone else. Again, the altruistic group reported feeling happier, whatever the size of their gift.

Food Forward is what I call a Win-Win. They convene at private homes and public spaces they have been invited to and harvest their excess fruits and vegetables, donating 100% to local food pantries across southern California (such as SOVA and Mend Poverty) and all fruit donors receive a charitable contribution tax receipt for their excess oranges and grapefruits. (Plus you get to climb trees which is one of my all time favorite things in the world to do!)

So What You Can Do to Help (And Thus In Doing So Make Yourself a Happier Person!!!):
-- Pick some Fruit! Food Forward is always looking for energetic volunteers who are interested in fruit picking at both small properties and large orchards, community outreach, volunteer leadership, property scouting and coordinating and much more.
-- Donate Some Fruit! F.F. is also looking for neighbors with mature fruit trees, multi-tree private orchards or gardens with excess fruit and vegetables to share with those in need in our own community.
-- Donate Materials! They are looking for garden and equipment donations such as: Lightly used vehicle, 6, 8, 12 foot lightweight aluminum ladders, Garden gloves, Gardening sheers, and Tree pruners.
-- Donate Money!
(Parts of this post are reprinted from the Santa Monica Observer article on Volunteering)

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