On Sunday I was lucky enough to spend some time helping out one of my favorite LA do-gooder organizations: Food Forward. If you haven’t heard about them, Food Forward is an all-volunteer grassroots group who convene at properties they have been in invited to and glean the excess fruit on their trees, donating 100% to local food pantries.
This organization has an energizing spirit, allowing Angelenos to feel
awesomely great about helping out someone else while enjoying the great
outdoors. It’s an absolutely wonderful group because it’s a win-win for
everyone: the people who allow their trees to be picked get a charitable tax
deduction and a clean tree (it’s actually healthier for it to get picked like
this) and the food banks get some fresh fruits or vegetables (something that
they are usually very short on). This spirit is so contagious that Food Forward
now knows people who are planting fruit trees in their backyards so they will
be able to donate in about 5 years (the standard time it takes to get good
fruit off a tree).
On Sunday I traveled to a backyard in Sylmar and attacked a grapefruit and
lemon tree with vengeance. The result: 14 boxes of citrus that were donated to
the SOVA Community Food and Resource Program. Along with SOVA, Food Forward
also partners with Mend Poverty to distribute the produce they glean to a total
of over 30,000 clients a month across Southern California.
Truthfully I volunteer for this organization for selfish reasons, it
quenches my insatiable thirst to climb trees and pick fruit. The fact that we
are helping people reconnect to their food system and combat urban hunger is
icing on the cake.
Food Forward is always looking for trees and/or volunteers so check them out
if you want to spend an inspiring weekend afternoon outdoors (tree climbing not
necessarily a requirement).
Explore. Think. Eat
The Edible Skinny