In backyards across the Eastside, orange globes hang suspended in the air in batches—absorbing the all warmth and sweetness of the SoCal sun. They weigh down the strongest of branches, tugging at las ramas with the sheer weight of their hundreds of combined pounds. What is this army of sweet orange globes? Well, oranges, of course!
In Los Angeles, fruit is ripening around the clock; no season (if you consider LA to have seasons…) comes around without spurring a bounty of fruit that drips off the trees. But what happens when this abundance of backyard gold is too much for a lucky homeowner to eat (or share with friends and neighbors)? Unfortunately, most of the time, it falls to the ground, signaling over the flies to assist in its rotting demise. This wasted abundance meets its unhappy end while at the same time, one in six Angelinos suffer from food insecurity  and lack access to fresh, nutritious produce.
The plenty on the branches hangs in stark contrast to LA’s serious problem of food insecurity… and that’s where Food Forward comes in. Food Forward is the largest volunteer-driven non-profit fruit gleaning organization in Southern California; they connect fresh fruit to those in need by organizing volunteers to pick backyard fruit, then donating 100% to local food banks. Since 2009, Food Forward has picked over 2.1 million lbs of fruit, donated 8 million servings, engaged 8 thousand volunteers, and picked at over a thousand properties.
Food Forward is a community asset that fills a vital role in the neighborhood, but in order to continue growing, Food Forward is looking for more properties and volunteers. If you or someone you know has fruit to donate, check out foodforward.org to register your tree. Spread the word! Anyone interested in volunteering can check out foodforward.org/events to find a pick happening close by; the picks are fun, highly rewarding, and delicious (you can munch on fruit that falls or splits)… so grab a friend or two and come out for a pick!
You stay juicy, Eastside.
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