We strongly believe that no crumb should go to waste (especially when they're cookie crumbs!). As such, it was a real treat to be invited by Food Forward to participate in their awesome charity event, the Spring Melt! This non-profit organization is leading the charge with food waste and accessibility. We wanted to hear more on their important work, so we asked Laura at Food Forward all about it!
MJ: What is Food Forward all about?
FF: Food Forward is a Southern California based non-profit organization that fights food waste and hunger. We achieve this by collecting fresh produce that would normally go to waste from backyard fruit trees, farmers markets, public spaces, orchards, farms, and the Wholesale Produce Market in Downtown Los Angeles. All of the fresh fruits and vegetables we recover are donated to hunger relief agencies across eight Southern California counties. Since 2009, we've diverted over 30 million pounds of nutritious, fresh produce from the landfill and to people who need it most.
MJ: What is some of the work you do specifically in Los Angeles?
FF: We do much of our produce recovery in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. We pick fruit at properties across the region and also collect fresh produce from weekly farmers markets in areas like Hollywood, Studio City, Mar Vista, Burbank, and Thousand Oaks. Our Wholesale Recovery Program operates in Downtown Los Angeles every weekday, recovering tens of thousands of pounds of fresh produce. The produce we collect goes to hunger relief agencies in Los Angeles, but also reaches seven other counties in Southern California.
MJ: What is the Spring Melt?
FF: The Spring Melt is Food Forward's annual anti-gala and is a celebration of our work to harvest food, fight hunger, and build community. The event features some of the best local food and drink, including Clementine who has served up their unique grilled cheese sandwiches since Spring Melt's inception. The funds raised at this year's Spring Melt helped Food Forward to recover an additional one million pounds of fresh produce for those in need, which is truly a testament to how generous our supporters are.
MJ: How did you enjoy working at Jim Henson Company?
FF: This was the first year we held the Spring Melt at the historic Charlie Chaplin soundstage at The Jim Henson Company studio lot and it was a magical location! It is a place that is not open to the public and has so much Hollywood history, which made it extra special to those who attended the Spring Melt this year. Plus, who doesn't love The Muppets?!
MJ: Why is it important to get involved today?
FF: It is always important to get involved! Even though we live in a giant metropolitan area surrounded by people, it can be easy to feel disconnected from our neighbors. By meeting people you may not normally meet but are bonded to by a common interest or mission, you begin to feel more connected. There is enormous benefit in giving back -- not only personally but also for the well-being of the whole community. I am incredibly proud to be involved with Food Forward, an organization that provides many opportunities for people to take a hands-on approach to tackling the issues of food waste and hunger.
MJ: What is your favorite cookie flavor?
FF: Can I pick them all? OK, if I have to pick one, I will always go with the Chocolate Chip Cookie and Milk Jar makes one of the best I've ever had!
Want to get involved? Check out their donations page, and visit their website to learn more about ways to engage with this cause!