[KEEN TO BE GREEN] Sharing the Bounty

Meher McArthur

I moved to Southern California from the UK almost 20 years ago now, and I am still awed every time I pass a tree laden with lemons, oranges or juicy figs. We are blessed here with bountiful edible resources in our back yards, streets and parks. Yet, often these fruit are left to rot on the branches or fall to the ground. Kind neighbors let me pick their lemons and figs, but I see so much more wasted elsewhere.

In 2009, photographer, writer and cook Rick Nahmias founded Food Forward to deal with exactly this problem. Nahmias, who documented farming communities in the book and exhibition, The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers, is driven by a love for food and a passion for food justice to ensure this produce is not wasted.

“Los Angeles is an amazing land of abundance,” says Nahmias. “Food Forward provides an easy, homegrown and deeply satisfying way for Angelinos to pass along what they may have a lot of — fruit, funds or time — and see it go to immediate use helping those in need.”

First time volunteer Annika Forester, harvests tangerines through Food Forward. ©Aubrie Armstrong 2016.

For the last eight years, Food Forward’s team has been recovering produce from three main areas: backyards, farmers markets and wholesale produce markets. They deliver it within 24 hours to over 150 hunger relief organizations, including food pantries, church groups and homeless service centers.

Such efforts connect the land’s abundance with people in need, not only reducing waste but also hunger. It is surely the case that only when we share the bounty of our land can we all truly savor it.



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