The role of food recovery organizations is to rescue food that would typically be thrown away, by grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets, and routing the excess back into the community.
The concept of gleaning goes back to biblical times, when the poor were allowed to gather grain that had fallen to the ground. Now, gleaning refers to someone collecting excess produce from farmers, that is commercially not profitable at farmers markets.
The food space is reliant upon gleaning to reduce food waste and also source nutrient dense foods such as fruits and vegetables to communities who lack access to healthy foods.
Agriculture is one of the world’s greatest wealth systems. Locally grown and sourced food is vital to health and the economy. Food is traveling shorter distances to be sold, which means less gas emissions. Farmer’s markets build a sense of community as people gather to support local business.
Simply put, farmers markets are a gateway to better health, sustainability, and stronger communities.
South Los Angeles is home to one of the largest food deserts in the county. There are very few grocery stores, which creates disparities in food access within communities of color.
Residents have to travel outside of their community to purchase food at a typically higher rate. A great solution, to a temporary problem, is accessing local farmer’s markets. Buying it locally, will ensure that you receive a fresher, higher quality than a food pantry. Not to say food pantries and food banks aren’t a great resource but much of the life span has diminished by the time it’s distributed.
Farmer’s markets are not replacements for grocery stores, which operate daily. You can only access them when and where they are available, usually once a week. However, consumers can purchase dairy, meat, produce, and grains. Vendors accept CalFresh EBT, Cash, and Debit card purchases.
To meet the different levels of need, FoodCycle LA is working diligently to create a wraparound of services for hungry Los Angeles residents. Aside from our food recovery and diversion efforts, we are bridging the gap between food and information access.
It’s imperative that Angeleno’s are educated about where to find food, especially in this time of crisis. Food Oasis LA, is an online resource that connects users with food pantries and orchards in their neighborhood.
In addition, LA County has a comprehensive list and details of all farmers markets. You can also search for Certified Farmer’s Markets. All three online tools are easy to access and use. You input your zip code and desired community resources populate. Residents can utilize all options to keep their cupboards and refrigerators stocked with healthy foods.