Fruitanthropy: Food and Altruism
When shopping at the Downtown Ventura Certified Farmers’ Market this fall, you might have noticed cardboard boxes emblazoned with “Food Forward” starting to pop up in the vendors’ booths. These logo boxes, and the volunteers behind them, are part of the solution to food waste and food insecurity.
Food Forward volunteers supply the boxes, inviting farmers to fill them with unsold produce at the end of the market. About 12 boxes are collected and distributed by need to some of the 35 receiving agencies in the county, such as Project Understanding in Ventura, The River Community Church in Ventura and the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard.
“The reception at the farmers’ market has been wonderful,” says Jim Mangis, Ventura County branch manager for Food Forward. “The vendors, staff and volunteers are all very excited to be part of the process. It is very rewarding to be able to provide nutritious food to those who may not have access.”
Food Forward, a not-for-profit originating in North Hollywood in 2009, has been conducting market gleans in Los Angeles County. When Mangis joined the organization in 2014, his first priority was to build up harvesting from backyards, orchards and farms in Ventura County. Next came the market gleans.
He plans to add the Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers’ Market this spring. From there, the goal is to glean produce from as many farmers’ markets in the county as possible, he says.
Food Forward also conducts volunteer picks at farms and private properties in the county to distribute to receiving agencies serving people in need in our community.
77 N. California Ave., Ventura