Feeding the Hungry: Food Forward Makes Strides in Ventura County

by Food Forward
(Los Angeles, CA)

On a pick in Woodland Hills, CA

On a pick in Woodland Hills, CA

VENTURA COUNTY, C.A. -- In just 5 years, Food Forward has recovered over two million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from backyards and farmers markets - all while making important progress in its Ventura County programs to further serve Southern California’s most vulnerable.

The non-profit has connected its recovered produce to over 100 food banks and direct service local agencies across Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Orange, and Ventura Counties. In 2013, Food Forward’s volunteer-powered efforts in areas such as Camarillo, Moorpark, and Simi Valley rescued more than 121,000 pounds - more than 500,000 servings - of fresh local produce.

In its backyard harvest program, Food Forward works with property owners to donate their excess fruits and vegetables to about 25 local food pantries in Ventura County. Food Forward volunteers have harvested from hundreds of properties across Southern California with 100% of the gleaned produce going to feed the hungry.

Recently, Food Forward volunteers performed its very first farm glean at McGrath Family Farms in Camarillo in May as part of a pilot project. 260 pounds of baby lettuce was harvested family-owned organic farm and donated to Food Share of Ventura County and Catholic Charities.

To date, the non-profit has fed over one million people in Southern California, where one in six Los Angeles residents are unsure about where their next meal will come from. With Americans throwing away $165 million dollars of food yearly, Food Forward’s recovery programs are working to combat this waste of food and water resources, as well as greenhouse gas emissions at local landfills from decomposition.

Food Forward began in 2009 with backyard harvests and has expanded its sources for fresh food by launching a Farmers Market Recovery Program in 2012 and a Wholesale Recovery Program in 2014.

What is needed most to continue these great programs are dedicated volunteers and homeowners with mature trees willing to donate their fruit. The best way to make a difference in your community is to sign up at foodforward.org/events, or email volunteer@foodforward.org.

Learn more about how to register your fruit trees for gleaning and more at foodforward.org.

Contact: Laura Jellum, Volunteer Manager, 818-764-1022, volunteer@foodforward.org.

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