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Voluntourism Spotlight: Food Forward

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foodforwardEvery year, countless tons of food get needlessly thrown away—food that could have gone to people in need. Food Forward is a non-profit in Ventura and Los Angeles counties working to alleviate the problem. It brings in volunteers to help harvest and reclaim fruit from farmers’ markets and trees in private homes and public land. You can help pick fruit, recover produce from the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, or go to a farmers’ market to help collect unsold produce. Check out the program below and remember to tune in to Peter Greenberg Worldwide this weekend for more information. Plus, don’t forget to check out our archive for all kinds of voluntourism opportunities.

Formed in 2009, Food Forward is a volunteer organization that goes around the Ventura and Los Angeles counties harvesting extra fruit from trees in private homes and public spaces, along with trips to farmers’ markets and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market to claim unsold produce. They give 100 percent of what they gather to charities and other organizations, helping people in need.

Backyard harvesting is their “core program” and what most volunteers are talking about when they praise their time volunteering. If you’re searching for a teambuilding exercise for your business, church, or even birthday party, you can arrange that as well.

To get started, email either the Los Angeles area section at or the Ventura section at They’re always looking for volunteers to be Farmers’ Market Recovery Gleaners due to the expanding program, so that may be your best bet. For a start, you can volunteer any Sunday at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.

By Cody Brooks for