Food Activists Revolutionize the Way We Eat: Part 2
As part of First 5 LA’s Eat Healthy, Grow Strong public education campaign, we’re putting the spotlight on organizations that are working in communities to increase access to healthier foods. By partnering with communities at the grassroots level, they’re hoping to make long-term changes in the way people think about, buy and eat food.
The fight for healthier food choices is a decades-long battle, with many organizations creating innovative ways for people to eat well and paving the way for a nutrition revolution.
Food activism can focus on any given stage, from food production to transport to consumption. In L.A. Countys own back yard there are several local heroes who have influenced how American’s not only get their food, but how they produce it.
- In response to inhumane conditions for field workers, United Farm Workers organized 50 years ago to advocate for the rights of the people harvesting the bounty of Californias land. Celebrating half a century of advocacy, UFW set standards for how agricultural workers must be treated, and continues to push for policies that creates a food system that is good to people and to the Earth.
- More recently, the Agricultural Justice Project was created to protect local consumers, farmers and distributors by ensuring that labels tell the truth about the foods origins.
- Community gardens and urban farms have sprouted up around the country for decades. South Central Farmers, located on 41st and Alameda streets, was created in 1992 to help provide fresh food for the local community. Though the SCF is no longer functioning due to political and financial reasons, many local activists are continuing to push for a space to bring organic agriculture to South Los Angeles.
- Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a popular and great way to eat locally. Guided by the belief that the best food is food grown nearby, Localharvest.org, a national website, points visitors to the closest farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainable food in the area.
- Education about where our food comes from is key to changing the way we eat. The Los Angeles County Farm Bureau in Palmdale provides education for school children in L.A. County, coordinates Farm Days to bring farms to urban areas and collaborates to create school curriculum around farms.
- Accessing healthy food is not complete without restaurants like Homegirl Café©, which brings social enterprise and local farming to local eaters. In a pilot project called mini farms,the restaurant aims to provide as much as 30 percent of its produce and herbs grown locally. The Homegirl Café© also composts all of its food waste and uses compostable plastics.
- Schools play a critical role in helping children develop and keep healthy eating habits. The National Farm to School Network brings together schools and local farms to ensure children are eating well and learning about healthy nutrition. The NFSN was founded in 2007 and is operational in more than 10,000 schools in all 50 states.
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