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)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Organics: SM-1/4-Lib-Pan-Series

Hey Guys. I covered the Santa Monica Farmers Market Quarterly Library Panel Series for the Santa Monica Observer. The all star lineup debated the subject was organics. (And (again) the most beautiful picture of an apple that Kat Thomas has ever drawn!)

So What’s the Deal With Organics…?

Organics. Even for the informed food consumer it can bring up quite a question mark. So it’s was with this quandary the Santa Monica Farmers Market Quarterly Library Panel Series tackled the question of organics a few weeks ago. Moderated by Laura Avery, Farmers Market Supervisor, the panel consisted of three farmers: one certified organic (Chris Cadwell of Tutti Frutti Farms), one formerly certified organic (Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms), one not certified organic (Molly Gean of Harry's Berries) and a chef (Neal Fraser, Chef/Owner of Grace and BLD).

But first a little background of the history of organics. Organic farming practices began in the 1970s when like-minded farmers wanted to create accepted practices for growing healthy food. In 1973 the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) was created with farmers certifying each other and making sure others had the CCOF seal. Fast forward to 1993 with organic farming becoming the fastest growing part of food industry; but it was a patchwork of organic standards because different organic practices varied from state to state. The year 2000 saw the creation of national organic standards. There were massive public hearings over the definition of what could technically be labeled organic. Initially big agriculture tried to have this definition to allow irradiated food, sewage/sludge and GMO (genetically modified organisms) to be included. But over 230,000 individuals wrote in and the final definition excluded these items. Thus in 2003 the national definition of organic was integrated. “In California you need to be registered organic,” explained Laura Avery, Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market supervisor. “You need to pay to play; you can’t say you’re organic unless you’re certified organic. That means a third party agency to check your farm. They are the ones that give you a CCOF certification.”

Turns out if you’re not certified than you can’t touch that word with a ten-foot pole. “People ask us all the time, we want to get organic, is everyone organic?” continued Laura Avery, referring to the Santa Monica Farmers Markets. “The Wednesday market has 18 organic farmers. The Saturday market has more. But even if they’re not certified organic the majority has no pesticides or no chemicals.” “We say chemical free,” explained Molly Gean of Harry’s Berries, who is not organic but utilizes natural farming practices. “It doesn’t matter what words you use as long as it’s accurate.”

So why would a farm chose to grow organically, but not get certified organic? Plain and simple: it ain’t cheap. “I understand why you wouldn’t be certified. It’s pretty expensive,” Chris Cadwell of Tutti Frutti Farm, which is organic. “I’ve always been certified since it came in. I was always thinking of the big picture. There’s too much chemical damage to the soil.“ As Molly Gean of Harry’s Berry’s (which has positively the most amazing strawberries ever) explains it, “the reason we haven’t certified organic is we’re small family farm. We’ve sold 100% of our produce at farmers market for last 13 years. Because we sold everything we grew there’s no reason to pay if everything is being sold anyhow. This is because we could tell our customers what we grow. We’ve relied on our personal relationship. You ask, we tell you, you trust us. That is kinda the simple quick answer. We don’t market ourselves as organic, or use it as a marketing tool.”

As Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farm, who at one time was organic but not at the moment, explained it, “We’re a medium size farm. We do farmers market, but also do wholesale to restaurants, retail, and Whole Foods. It was 9 years ago we were organic, but we still farm with organic principles: rotation, cover cropping, using organic materials. There were a lot of small reasons not to be organic. A lot of varieties we wanted to grow we couldn’t get the organic seeds. It became a management nightmare, the cost of separating things. We had to label this is organic, and this isn’t. We needed to invest in infrastructure, we needed some tractors. In the end it was just management, and cost. So even though we’re no longer organic we believe in what we grow and you can taste it. The best food is the fairest cleanest food.”

“Organic always demands for farmers to jump through hoops, explained Weiser. “We saw examples of what Molly does. Putting yourself and home farm as the brand. It’s not always black and white. Local certified organic is great but it’s going to cost you more. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat an apple if it’s not organic but it’s local.” But being organic can help you on a larger level. “I understand Molly’s position: that works if you have good local customers. But I was selling to stores,” explained Cadwell. “We ship to Whole Foods we want to keep that going. Internationally everyone is following organic practices especially in countries like Germany, Denmark, and France.” “Are they looking for American products because they can’t keep up with demand? Do you look it as an emerging market?”” questioned Avery. “Absolutely,” answered Cadwell. “But more importantly the world should be organic. You need laws and paperwork so that people will follow them. So that they obey the law.” “We’re always looking to bring back our organic label,” noted Weiser. “Especially now my nieces are graduating college. But until then we do chose to use traditional farming techniques.”

“Seems the demand is growing almost too quickly. When certain farms can’t fill the demand they start to cut corners,” noted Avery, referencing the large organic company Earthbound issues with E. Coli. “To me if the brand is more important than what they’re doing than something is wrong,“ explained Cadwell. “Earthbound is multi state; it’s huge. It was really simple, they were making salsa and they didn’t clean the water that washes the stuff that goes into it. But, on my farm every single box is marked with the day it was picked, which field it was picked from, and where it’s going. If they find Salmonella I can ask what field? It keeps quality up, but it’s horrible for me because I became a farmer because I never liked paperwork. Why would Molly want to do that stuff if she didn’t have to?”

The panel then slid over the question of organic in restaurants. “I eat almost totally organic at home,” noted Neal Fraser, “But it’s different in a restaurant. If we go to a restaurant we usually don’t want know. People don’t want people telling them what to eat. They don’t want to make a political message when they’re going to dinner. They want to have a cocktail and be transported. I would love for everything in all my restaurants to be certified organic. At the same time our menu prices are the same as Citrus was 20 years ago with product costing 3 times more. You need to weigh out what you want to use. I like to use local and American, but I do what I can afford. We pay $34 for eggs we could buy $12 from Sysco but people can taste the different. Free range egg tastes very different.” Fraser noted that the most popular question asked at his restaurant BLD is if the salmon is farm raised? “We can’t afford wild salmon at our price point. We can’t use Copper River salmon that’s $25 a pound with the skin and bones. You can’t serve that for $27 a plate.”

The cost, that is one of the biggest complaints that people have about organic farming, certified or not. “People ask why are you charging so much money? But it’s for the flavor,” explained Avery. “We have school tours. We give kids a conventional strawberry grower and then we gave them Molly’s. And their eyes lit up! You got the product picked yesterday for you today. If their strawberries are not sold, which never happens, they never sell the next day.” “We only farm 30 acres but for that 30 acres we have 30 employees,” explained Gean. “All seconds are culled out and go into the compost pile. I’ve had chefs who love our product but I can’t afford it. ‘I can’t pass it on to the customer’ they tell us. But our strawberries are just more. They’re always fresh, always ripe. With us you’re going to eat every berry in the basket. “

And then there’s a question whether something sold as organic is truly organic. Another thing that healthy eating requires is trust (something that can be totally hard to come by when talking about food these days). In September NBC Los Angeles did an in depth investigation on farmers who were lying about whether they truly did not spray their produce with pesticides. “We’re vehemently opposed to cheating,” noted Gean. “If people ask,” Laura Avery explained, “we tell them our farms have to fill out a form and have to be certified with the CCOF.” “You just have trust us,” continued Gean. “Our livelihood is based on our relationship. The trust is the keystone to the relationship. If we didn’t have the trust you couldn’t have the relationship.” Ted Galvin manager of the Saturday Pico market and an audience member noted, “I’ve had a relationship with most my farmers for at least 15 years. I know 95% of them week in and week out. If anybody’s otherwise suspicious I’ll check him or her out.” Another member of the audience noted “I worked for Whole Foods for seven years in the marketing department. They are so afraid of lawsuits so if it says organic it’s probably organic.” But trust is much easier to find if you have a relationship with your food provider. “The more informed the consumer is the better,” noted Avery.

And who’s right? All of them. And that’s the hardest part. Sure in a perfect world we would all eat organic all the time, but that’s not always the case. The real issue with organics is that it’s not a cut or dry situation (and everyone likes cut and dry situations, it makes for nice and easy choices…). But this is not Rock, Paper, Scissors where one always trumps the other. Local vs. organic, industrial organic vs. small farm… the permutations are mind-boggling. So on this debate you need to take a step back, considered the options, and make an informed decision on what works best for you. And in case you missed it, the watchword for the last sentence was “informed decision” because, as was noted at the end of Food Inc.,“you can vote to change this system. Three times a day.” Just as long as you chose to think.

Kat Thomas is a writer who loves it when people make informed decisions about what and how they eat. Her Food Blog is

Monday, November 15, 2010

South Central Farmers' CSA

Hey Guys! This was an article that ran a few months ago at the SM Observer, but I was having a conversation with a friend who was looking for a Westside CSA so I thought I'd post the info for all to read. Enjoy! (And also enjoy the pretty pretty picture of a carrot that I drew!)

Community Supported Agriculture for a Cause

Each Saturday Santa Monica residents head over to a local Sunset Park home to discover what surprises lay in store for them in their South Central Farmers’ Cooperative CSA boxes. Boxes brimming with organic vegetables and fruit that they will take home to be sautéed, baked, and grilled. Recent boxes have included a rainbow of colors Red Kale, Blue Kale, Armenian Cucumber, Yellow Squash, Zucchini Squash, Purple Basil, and Okra. “I think you can just taste the difference,” notes Liz Chavez, a Santa Monica resident who helped bring this CSA to Santa Monica. “It’s the healthiest Chard you can ever imagine, the sweetest Carrots. You can taste the care that the farmers put in to growing these vegetables.”

For those who aren’t up to speed with their acronyms (which always seems to be the case…) CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. If going to the farmers market is al la carte than a CSA is the pre fixe menu. Developed in the U.S. in 1984 in response to food quality and the urbanization of agricultural land, the consumers buy direct from the farmer through a membership. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support of a farm operation through a set fee, a sliding scale in case of the South Central Farmers, in exchange for a box of fresh, locally grown, organic produce. This produce is delivered weekly to twenty-two possible pick-up locations including the Santa Monica Pico pickup point. “There are so many benefits,” notes Chavez. “It’s what the experts are telling what we should do for our own health. It’s environmentally sustainable because you don’t have to use oil to transport the food.”

The CSA arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. For the farmers it includes getting to spend time marketing the food early in the year, having an opportunity to meet the people who eat their food, and (most importantly) receiving steady payment for their produce, which can help with ups and down of a farm’s cash flow. For consumers along with advantage of ultra-fresh food there’s the exposure to new vegetables and cooking (most CSAs post recipes for their more unusual items on their website) and the time spent not having to pick out individual items at a market. The government does not track CSAs, so there is no official count of how many CSAs there are in the U.S, but the trend is definitely growing. In 2008, 557 CSAs signed up with the website Local Harvest, which has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, and in the first two months of 2009, an additional 300 CSAs joined the site. Local Harvest now has over 2,500 listed in their grassroots database.

For the South Central Farmers CSA all boxes are the same size (some CSAs do large and small) enough to feed (approximately) a family of four for a week or a single/couple for two weeks. “You don’t have to make long-term commitment. You can do week-to-week, monthly or six month,” explains Chavez. “You can make it work for your budget.“ The price of the box varies depending on someone’s ability to support the farm financially from $25 a box to $15 for low income families. The South Central Farmers CSA encourages folks to pay, via Paypal, at the highest level they can. For $40 you can buy a box for yourself and support a community member in need, half of this purchasing price is tax-deductible. “What always strikes me with the South Central Farmers is the profound sense of community. In this wake of economic and environmental disasters it’s what we all need to cultivate more: something bigger than us, the sense of community,” notes Chavez.

This becomes even more profound when you learn a little history about the South Central Farmers. Although now located near Bakersfield the farm’s moniker is not without reason.
It was an oasis in a desert. Established in 1992, in the aftermath of the Rodney King Insurrection, the South Central Farm became the largest urban agricultural landscape in the nation. Ten of 14 acres at the urban site, in the middle of a warehouse and wrecking yard district, were intensively cultivated by over 300 low income farmers with more than a 100 different species of unique Mesoamerican heirloom row crops, medicinal herbs, fruit vines, orchard and sacred ceremonial trees, and cacti. “It’s eye opening. There’s no supermarkets in South Central, only liquor stores and fast food. It’s called a food desert,” explains Chavez. “And with severely limited access of fresh food this results in a high rates of obesity and diabetes. With the garden they had control of their own food production.”

In 2003, The South Central Farmers organized a campaign to save the farm from developers. The farmers resisted eviction until June of 2006. This eviction occurred despite the fact that the South Central Farmers successfully raised the $16.5 million the landowner was asking for the purchase of the land. The origins of the farm and the 3 year long campaign against eviction became the topic of an Oscar-nominated documentary film, The Garden. “They’re the hardest working people I’ve associated with. Working nonstop pulling together,” Chavez says with more than a bit of pride. “When the city of LA couldn’t find the political will to support them they got donors till. They worked to the bone to get the land at 41st and Alameda: it was tragic that they got evicted.”

Over the past four years since the eviction, the South Central Farmers have gone on to establish a farm near Bakersfield in the community of Buttonwillow, about two hours north of LA (quite a daily commute). Last month, the farmers had a ceremony attended by Congresswoman Maxine Waters to initiate the opening of the irrigation system to water the 80-acre Buttonwillow site. However, the farmers seek to return to their urban roots, while continuing to build the broader movement for food sovereignty through the activism of their "community-based agriculture" project in Buttonwillow.
And hopefully someday they will. By joining their CSA you have a voice on how your food is grown while helping to keep the now approximately thirty farmers that run the South Central Farm Cooperative in Buttonwillow employed and closer to working closer to home again. “It’s really a matter of social justice supporting our farmers, the hardest working people out there,” continues Chavez. “It’s delicious produce that’s healthy, organic, and local. It’s about food and food sovereignty. They’re the leading edge of the urban farming movement.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something to Check Out: The Garden School Workday

Hey Guys, Unfortunately this got canceled. But check out the info b/c they'll have another work party in December! --Kat

Let's Get Dirty!

The Garden School is having their Saturday Workday this Saturday (duh!) November 13th from 9-12. What's the Garden School, you ask? It's an organization created to combat the Los Angeles Food Desert issue. Wait, what's a Food Desert? I am glad you asked...

A Food Desert is a location in a city where there are no access to healthy "real" food and is instead populated with with unhealthy "fake" food. In layman's terms: Whole Foods Ain't going to low income areas... these are areas where the only place to buy your food is at a fast food joint or a liquor store. So in certain parts of the city, probably not where you live Yuppie if you're reading my "food blog," kids don't know what a fresh vegetable looks like.
But luckily some Foodie-types got together to do some do-gooder work, Hooray! They built a garden at the 24th Street Elementary School so that kids can learn what a tomato is (and have a great outdoor space to run around)!
And once a month you're welcome to show up to help plant seeds, turn beds, and generally just play the outdoors and get nice and dirty while earning some good Karma.
Check it out. Below are the Deets!

Saturday, November 13th, 9am-12pm.
Bring your shovels, gloves, sunscreen (Mos Def!), water and your favorite gardening tools.
Address: 24th Street Elementary School 2055 W 24th Street Los Angeles, 90018
Directions: From the I-10 Freeway: take the "Western Avenue" exit (3 miles west of downtown) and head south on Western. Take a right turn on 24th Street. The school is one block down on the right, and the parking lot entrance is just beyond the school. There is plenty of street parking as well.
If you want bring anything or if you have questions you can contact Julia at:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Something to Check Out: Santa Monica Farmers Market Quaterly Library Panel Series Tonight!

It's time for another Santa Monica Farmers Market Quarterly Library Panel Series tonight. The last couple of I've attended have been totally packed so get there early. I recommend a lot of events, but the Library Panel Series definitely my favorite. Free, fun, super educational, and great food at the end of it (also free)! Deets are below!

Is It Organic?

Organic Growers - who "CERTIFIES," who doesn't, and why. Meet three farmers: one certified organic, one formerly certified organic, one not certified organic and a chef who are asked this question on a regular basis and learn why all their answers are correct.

On the panel tonight are:
-Chris Cadwell - Tutti Frutti Farm - Certified Organic
-Alex Weiser - Weiser Family Farm - Formerly Certified Organic
-Molly Gean - Harry's Berries - Not Certified Organic
Neal Fraser - Chef/Owner - Grace and BLD
Moderator - Laura Avery - Farmers Market Supervisor

November 4th · 7:00pm - 9:00pm (these events are first come first serve and always fill up some get there 15-20 minutes early!)
Santa Monica Main Library MLK Jr. Auditorium 601 Santa Monica Blvd. (310) 458-8600

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yes, Another Reprint: Food Trucks in S.M

I know a bunch of reprints at the moment (thanks again courtesy of Santa Monica Observer), but this is also timely since today (Tuesday night) is Food Truck night in Santa Monica. So if you're into Food Trucks (and what Angeleno isn't???) go check them out (it's for a good cause!)

Finally! Food Trucks in Santa Monica! (And Saving the Day for the Californian Heritage Museum!)

By Kat Thomas
Perhaps you’ve heard the news, but Gourmet Food Trucks have finally made it to Santa Monica! Thanks to a temporary three month permit, from 5:30-9:30 at the California Heritage Museum and Victorian parking lot (home of the Sunday Santa Monica’s Farmers Market) the residents of Santa Monica can enjoy such exotic fare as Cubano Sandwiches, Vietnamese Pho, and Don Draper flavored ice cream (comprised of Vanilla, Bourbon, Carmel, and Smoke!) And although the event has been rained out twice since starting a little over a month ago, there’s nothing but smiling faces on the friends of the California Heritage Museum as this event is helping financially save both it and its Main Street neighbors.

“About six months ago we began working to have Food Trucks in our parking lot on a day of the week that Main Street is typically very very quiet,” explains Tobi Smith, Director of California Heritage Museum. “It was suggested first to our staff and then to our directors that having these Gourmet Food Trucks would be a non traditional means of supporting museum, but also support the Main Street merchants.

The Heritage Museum has tried very hard from the being to have the approval of the neighborhood, making sure to get the support of the Main Street Merchants Association and Ocean Park Association. “We did some research on other areas that were already offering Food Truck evens, such as Abbot Kinney’s on First Fridays. And discovered that a good amount of people ended up dining in restaurants and going into stores because a lot of people don’t want wait in line,” explains Smith.
Tuesday nights are normally very sleepy on Main Street, especially in this economy, but two weeks ago (since last week’s event was called due to inclement weather, a continuing chagrin for the museum who was hoping to start their offerings during the summer’s sunny skies) restaurants in close proximity to the event such LaVecchia, Lula, and Finn McCool’s were definitely bustling more than usually.

Everyone has a different take on how to enjoy the trucks. A hipster couple on a date might use the trucks as a source of appetizers and then go somewhere else for the main course. A group on a double date might dine at the trucks for dinner and then end up at the Galley for dessert. And some people just look at it as the ultimate option in take out. “My brother who lives nearby comes to the lot, buys the food, and takes it home, so he doesn’t have to worry about cooking,” notes Smith. And along with the benefit to the nearby restaurants the museum is also hoping for a spillover to retail side of Main Street. “If we can bring a lot of people to the street than the Main Street stores might keep their doors open later in the future,” states Smith.

And for those who are not residents, there are a many reasons for the Food Truck followers to make Santa Monica their destination choice, such as the comfy al fresco dinning. “Instead being forced to stand up while eating,” explains Smith, “you can picnic on the museum’s lawn (as long as it’s not raining); we’ve just put new lighting so it’s now very well lit out there.” Another great perk of the Tuesday night Food Trucks is the option to imbibe alcohol. “You can go out to the Victorian and can actually get a beer or wine to enjoy with your meal.” Definitely a perk for the wine loving SoCal crowd. And for those who fancy another drink afterwards, there is the option of going downstairs to the Tavern, the basement bar at the Victorian, and enjoying their offerings.

The Gourmet Food Trucks are somewhat of a litmus test for the Heritage Museum into nontraditional forms of fundraising. “Times are tough for everyone. We normally have the Heritage Award dinner in October but we already knew ahead of time, that with the economy being what it is, we didn’t have enough people for it to be profitable for us so we decided to push it to the Spring of next year.” In the past, ironically, the one day of the week that fully features the museum, the Sunday Santa Monica Farmers Market, has also caused the biggest financial obstacle. Because of the business of the market there is a lack of Sunday parking for the California Heritage Museum, typically the most popular day for museum attendance. “The museum is not as accessible on Sundays as it is any other day. We don’t have the handicap parking, or even normal parking, available that we do any other day of the week. Plus even though the market ends at 1:00 it isn’t really packed up till around 3:00.”

Add on top of this that many people (including yours truly) did not even realize that the museum was open on Sundays (FYI: they are open Wed – Sunday 11-4). “In the end, we lose at lot of money with the Sunday Farmers Market, the city used to pay rent to us, but they haven’t done that in a long time.” So the Tuesday Food Truck night is a win-win fundraiser that falls under the visible radar for many Santa Monica residents. “With the food trucks people can enjoy gourmet food, and most of them don’t even know that there supporting us. Plus the Food Trucks Twitter to their fans advertising to their Heritage Museum location to their followers, people who are not the our typical audience.”

As most foodies know Santa Monica has dragged its feet for quite awhile on the Food Truck phenomenon. Even when the Santa Monica City Council finally gave approval for mobile food trucks to create “food courts” in private parking lots it still took quite awhile. “We were talking about this six months ago. Everyone was very helpful and nice, but it took awhile because… well it just takes awhile.” Since it’s everyone’s first time numerous things had to be added as the planning went on. “Initially we didn’t have bike valet,” notes Smith. “We hadn’t budgeted for it, but the city required it. So the Victorian has generously donated the money so we could offer free bike valet to the residents of Santa Monica. And for those who can’t walk or bike we have parking at the museum along with ample of street parking, a lot more than Abbot Kinney.”

Along with the working diligently with the city, the California Heritage Museum also united with Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association and it’s CEO Matt Geller. With about ninety members, the association makes sure that the trucks featured at the museum are up to snuff, meeting all the health code restrictions required by the association’s rules. Every week there are ten trucks featured, but what makes it interesting is that the association does a Round Robin. “So one week we have ten trucks, and next week have ten completely different trucks.” You can go to museum’s website each week to read about the Food Trucks available for that week. “I’m allergic to garlic,” notes Smith, “so since the museum has links to all of the Food Truck’s menus so I can check out their menus and see what options work with my diet.”

So far everyone has been super supportive of these Tuesday nights. “Our first week, one of the neighbors came by and ended up giving us a check for $1,000. It was amazing. He’s a neighbor who wanted to support the museum and what we're doing.” Smith hopes that with the Tuesday Food Truck night their Santa Monica neighbors will be reintroduced the museum and get to know their exhibitions. They have recently wrapped their skateboard show, which was the most popular exhibit the museums ever had. “We’re in between exhibits at the moment, but our next show will be starting on November 6th. We try and do exhibits that everyone in the family likes. Next summer we’re going to do a surfboard show featuring Short Boards from 1967-1982. This is Dogtown, this is where all the surfing and skating happened. It’s Ocean Park, we’re in the middle of it.”

But for all this to happen the California Heritage Museum needs to pay its bills. And hopefully the families, hipsters on dates, and people who just don’t want to cook on a Tuesday night will help them do so, while also helping their neighbors. “We’re trying really hard to make it successful so that people enjoy themselves and help out the Main Street. We want it to be a destination spot. Come to Santa Monica, eat, and walk the streets. Participate.“