Editor's note: In "Food for Change," we'll profile groups out there connecting people to better food access. In this series we want to applaud the passionate people and organizations doing meaningful work with food in their communities. Please share tips for others to include in this column in the comments below.
- Fix Food is a non-profit organization focused on spreading awareness of food-related issues and garnering public support for food system reform. Headed by Robert Kenner, the director of Food, Inc., the group selects high-profile food issues and provides ways for readers to get involved in effecting change. Recently, the site has highlighted pink slime, GMO labeling, and antibiotics in animal feed.
- For almost 30 years, Farm Aid has raised money in support of family farms and rural America. Their website HOMEGROWN.org provides a space for growers and producers to share knowledge, experiences, stories and support. Over the last four years, thousands of contributors have added to this rich snapshot of rural livelihood. The site is a particular hub for bloggers who share their posts and recipes with the community.
- The restaurant industry in the U.S. employs over 10 million people, but only 1% of those employees are unionized. The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United aims to improve wages and working conditions for workers in the food service industry. They accomplish their goals through participatory research, policy initiatives, community organizing, and workplace campaigns. The organization was originally based in New York, but has been doing national-scale work for over 5 years.
- After the 1992 riots, a group of Los Angeles students decided to rebuild their community by starting a vegetable garden in an abandoned lot. Their organization, Food from the Hood, donates 25% of the produce they grow to needy communities, and sells the rest. They also sell a line of salad dressings in stores across the country and online. The organization reinvests their profits in programming and also in scholarships for student garden managers.
- New Urban Farmers is working to grow and develop the urban agricultural community in Providence and surrounding towns. The group maintains a number of community gardens as well as an aquaponics system and greenhouses. They teach free classes on topics such as vermicomposting and seed saving. NUF is powered in large part by volunteer labor, so if you're the area, look them up and lend a hand!
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.