2018 Food Roots Annual Report

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Happy 2019! We wanted to take this opportunity to look back and share some special Food Roots moments in 2018. This past year through Food Roots, we sourced over 20,000 lbs of locally grown produce (roughly 10 tons) and provided over $28,000+ dollars to the Food Roots famers we work with!  In addition, we worked with 21 community institutions (8 non-profits, 8 restaurants, 2 caterers, 1 hospital, 1 university, 1 head start program) and served an estimated 5,000 families across L.A. County. Here are some key Food Roots moments of this year!

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We started off the year with our partnership with the Karsh Center and Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) to provide certified organic produce and fresh eggs. This supplemented their mobile food pantry to low-income and food insecure residents in KYCC’s affordable housing units, serving around 35 families between January 2018 through December 2018.

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We also partnered with Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) on the first Food Roots Produce Pantry Project, which brought 1600 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, all sustainably grown by local farms, to KIWA community members and affordable housing tenants between March 2018 through July 2018.

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The HANDA Program was a pilot program lead by team members Ailene Ignacio and Ivy Daulo running from May through July. With Handa meaning “get ready” or “prepare a meal” in Tagalog, this program was a culturally tailored nutrition education series that also featured Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) bags of organic culturally relevant produce for Filipinx community members in Historic Filipinotown. This series included 10 workshops in the 2 months which were conducted both in English and Tagalog and distributed 450lbs of produce. Special thanks to the Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI) for hosting us at their space in the community!

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July marked the opening of Yarrow Cafe, a vegetable focused breakfast and lunch cafe, who sources their produce through Food Roots! Owner and Head Chef, Royce Burke, wants to create dishes that celebrate the delicious tastes of fresh produce. Thanks to our friend Royce, we were also able to reconnect with chef Ria Dolly Barbosa of Paramount Coffee Project. Chef Ria was one of the very first people to source produce from us when we were first starting out. Just like her August 3rd Instagram post shares, “reunited and it feels so good!” — we agree!

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In August, we began our 3 month pilot program, Little Tokyo Little Produce Stand, with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) and Sustainable Little Tokyo (SLT). This mini produce stand, located in Little Tokyo, sold affordable organic fruits and vegetables to the Little Tokyo Community, offering low-income discounts to anyone who showed any kind of public benefit card. It was so successful that we were able to extend this program for another 3 months! There are 2 dates left in January 2019, so be sure to come by and check out what produce we have available those weeks. If you are also interested in volunteering, please fill out this interest form!

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Also in August, API Forward Movement hosted our annual fundraising dinner, 2018 Farm to Chopsticks Dinner. This year, we had the pleasure of having catering from Green Zone, a Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant founded by JiL and Terry Cam. Green Zone also sources some of their produce through Food Roots! At the dinner, we honored local farmer, Ken Lee, of Top Notch Produce, who has been a partner with Food Roots for the past 2 years. Learn more about his story through this short film. This dinner also included a demo and tasting from Korean-Argentinian “master griller” Chef Pablo Kim, founder of Pablo’s Kim’s Chimichurri and one of the top 11 finalists of Masterchef Latino 2017, as well as a drumming performance from KIWA’s Generating Action through Resistance and Culture group.

September of this year, we started our partnership with Garvey Headstart Preschool (Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.) in Rosemead, CA to host monthly nutrition education and healthy cooking classes along with bi-weekly CSA bags of organic culturally relevant produce.

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For the month of October, things got spooky with the 2nd edition of Haunted Little Tokyo. Food Roots provided cute kabocha for picking & painting at the Pumpkin/Kabocha Patch every weekend in Japanese Village Plaza. Throughout the week, community members also stopped by the Kabocha Corner, located at JACCC, to find their perfect kabocha to celebrate. Throughout the month, folks were also able to purchase Organic Kabocha roti and Organic Kabocha spiced latte at Cafe Dulce, all from organic kabocha sourced through Food Roots.

This year, Food Roots has had many firsts and we hope to continue this momentum into 2019. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in any way, shape, or form. We appreciate our Food Roots Family and we are so excited to see what 2019 will bring!

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