Posts By David Sands
When it comes to food, Robert Egger is all in favor of making the most of what you’ve got.
Twenty-five years ago, Egger founded D.C. Central Kitchen, a “community kitchen” that uses salvaged food to make meals for agencies servicing low-income and homeless individuals and provides culinary training to unemployed men and women.
Egger stepped down as its president last year to start a new project called L.A. Kitchen, based in his hometown of Los Angeles. Similar in concept to the D.C. nonprofit, the new kitchen places a greater emphasis on participating in the local food economy. Egger sees the effort as “taking charity up a notch” and establishing “a self-sustaining model” that supports local farmers, helps local residents and provides opportunities for men and women who may face barriers to employment.
Fertile soil, water and compost aren’t the only ingredients that make a local foods scene blossom. Sometimes what’s needed is a helping hand.
In Waitsfield, Vermont this takes the form of a food warehouse, processing and distribution center known as the Mad River Food Hub.
The 4,000-square-foot facility caters to farmers and food processing businesses in central Vermont’s Mad River Valley. The area is home to several small communities and dozens of farms and serves as a popular tourist destination for skiers and summer idlers.
Founded three years ago, the Mad River Food Hub came about as a combination of the British entrepreneur Robin Morris’ love for local foods and his experience in the business world.
Farmers often don’t have an easy time getting access to capital to sustain and grow their businesses. Capay Organic, an organic family farm based about 35 miles west of Sacramento, California, faced just this dilemma in 2009.
To deal with their cash flow issues, owners Noah Barnes and Thaddeus and Freeman Barsotti took matters into their own hands creating their own lending system, the Green Loan Program.
It’s called the Healthy Food Hub, and it’s the brainchild of three local nonprofits who want to transform a place now known as a food desert into an urban oasis for low-income patrons.
Mention the southern Californian City of Riverside and people often think of oranges. This is hardly surprising, since it’s the birthplace of the state’s citrus industry and home to an internationally respected citrus research center run by the University of California, Riverside.
An effort is now underway, though, that could change perceptions about food production in this citrus hub. UC Riverside and city government are collaborating on a new initiative to get farmers and residents to think outside the area’s traditional export-oriented citrus growing model by promoting development of Riverside’s local food system.
Seedstock spoke to Dr. Peggy Mauk, Director of Agricultural Operations at UC Riverside, to learn more about this work.