City leaders tackle food security, jobs and the economy at Food Day at LA City Hall

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City Councilmember David E. Ryu and Los Angeles Food Policy Councilhosted hundreds of community members at the 8th Annual Food Day celebration at LA City Hall; City Council honors the late Jonathan Gold as citywide Good Food Champion, votes on policy to address food security.

Los Angeles – On October 24th, City Councilmember David E. Ryu and the Los Angeles Food Policy Council hosted the 8th annual Food Day to raise awareness on local food issues including food security, jobs and entrepreneurship as a way to tackle poverty. The theme for Food Day this year was “Building the Good Food Economy - We Mean Business!”

“We want a Good Food Economy that provides access to healthy food for all Angelenos, regardless of income,” said Councilmember Ryu, “But beyond food access, we want to see more quality jobs and more entrepreneurship opportunities in food industries that help Angelenos put food on their tables. As Chair of the Health, Education and Neighborhood Councils Committee, I think it's crucial to support the restaurants, businesses and farmers who are making that happen."

Food Day at LA City Hall featured the first-ever Good Food Marketplace, with food trucks and caterers reflecting LA’s culinary diversity and serving meals from local, environmentally sustainable food. In addition, demonstration projects from local nonprofits and social enterprises featured innovative strategies for promoting healthy food access, entrepreneurship and workforce development in impacted communities. During a special City Council presentation, lawmakers announced food policies of 2018 reflecting leadership on a Good Food Economy, including the City’s effort to create a sidewalk vending permit program. This summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Safe Sidewalk Vending Act, which decriminalizes street vending and provides a pathway for the inclusion of street vendors in local economies. The law goes into effect January 1, 2019.

“We are at the finish line to finally legalize street vending and bring street vendors out of the shadows,” announced Councilmember Curren Price, who chairs the Economic Development Committee overseeing the sidewalk vending issue, “I’m proud to say on this Food Day that by January 1st of next year, it will be legal to vend on sidewalks in the City of Los Angeles. This effectively legalizes approximately 50,000 entrepreneurs, many of whom serve up food we love.”

Councilmember Price also filed a new motion on Food Day that instructs the Economic and Workforce Development Department to consider food businesses as a priority for any new economic development initiatives targeting low-income areas of the city.

“Food access, food business and economic development go hand in hand,” Price explained.

Councilmember Paul Koretz pointed to the City Council’s action on the federal Farm Bill earlier this year as an example of fighting food insecurity and supporting local food economies.

“Congress is yet again considering major cuts to SNAP, known in California as CalFresh, and cuts to vital sustainable farming programs through the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Cuts to SNAP hurt the hundreds of thousands of Angelenos who need assistance in putting food on their tables, and it robs our local economy of an estimated $2.1 billion in economic activity. Meanwhile, cuts to sustainable farming programs threaten the food security of our entire region in the face of climate change,” said Councilmember Koretz, who led a motion the City Council’s position on the federal Farm Bill in May.

The City Council pledged to do more to fight food insecurity by reviving a policy first proposed by Councilmember José Huizar in 2010 to donate surplus food from city events and facilities to shelters and food banks. The revised Surplus Food motion sponsored by Huizar and Councilmember Paul Krekorian was adopted unanimously today and calls for a full Surplus Food ordinance.

“When over a third of low-income Angelenos are experiencing food insecurity and hunger, we need to do more," said Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “Edible food should never go to waste when it can be shared. We have to make that shift starting with our own City events and venues."

“A Good Food Economy provides public assistance, such as surplus food donation, and also pathways out of poverty, like legalized street vending,” said Councilmember José Huizar, who co-authored both the surplus food and sidewalk vending motions. “This year’s Food Day shows how the City, working alongside advocates and community leaders, is taking leadership on both these critical programs.”

Every year, City Council on Food Day, City Council honors 15 Good Food Champions from each of the Council Districts. In the spirit of the theme, many Good Food Champions were small, locally-owned businesses who are active in their communities. This year, the City Council as a whole also chose to posthumously recognize Pulitzer-prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold as the citywide Good Food Champion.

Executive Director of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council Clare Fox recognized the significance of choosing Mr. Gold as a citywide Good Food Champion, “Jonathan Gold was a true champion for a good food economy that includes food entrepreneurs big and small, in every pocket of the city. He revered the underdog and respected the challenges unique to running a food business in sprawling, diverse Los Angeles. Most of all, he advocated for good food, championing street vendors and immigrant entrepreneurs, and supporting access to good food in all communities. He will be remembered for lifting up the intergenerational, enduring, rich cultural mosaic of Los Angeles and for sharing about the history and connectivity that make this city what we love.”


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Full List of Good Food Champions in 2018:

  1. Robert Egger, Founder & President of LA Kitchen, Councilmember Cedillo

  2. North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry, Councilmember Krekorian

  3. West Valley Food Pantry, Councilmember Blumenfield

  4. Locali, Councilmember Ryu

  5. Maxine's Heavenly, Councilmember Koretz

  6. It's Juice Time, Councilmember Martinez

  7. Chef Wendy Centeno of Guayaba Kitchen, Councilmember Rodriguez

  8. Hank's Mini Market, Councilmember Harris-Dawson

  9. Los Angeles Trade Technical College Culinary Arts Pathway, Councilmember Price

  10. Leimert Park Friday Night Block Party, Councilmember Wesson

  11. Emerson Avenue Community Garden, Councilmember Bonin

  12. California State University Northridge Food Pantry, Councilmember Englander

  13. Gary Taglyan of Taglyan Cultural Complex, Councilmember O’farrel

  14. Sustainable Little Tokyo, Councilmember Huizar

  15. From Lot to Spot, Councilmember Buscaino

About the Los Angeles Food Policy Council: The Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) is a non-profit organization working to ensure food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable for all.  Learn more at www.goodfoodla.org

About Food Day: Food Day is a national initiative, similar to Earth Day, and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, over 1,000 Food Day events take place in cities around the country. Food Day is October 24th every year; activities take place throughout the week or month. Learn more at www.foodday.org

Camille de la Vega