News Update: April 3rd 2015

RSVP for Hunger Action Day May 12-13: Each May hundreds of anti-hunger advocates from across the state meet in Sacramento to educate their legislators about hunger and encourage their support for anti-hunger legislation. This year advocates from your community will be at the capitol on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (Group travel date from LA for overnight in Sacramento is May 12.) With more than 3.8 million California adults struggling with food insecurity it’s important we speak out

Send questions or RSVP to: [email protected]

Hunger Action LA Training: DeRailing Hunger! April 24 @ 6 pm

When: Friday April 24, 6 to 8 PM
Where: Community Health Councils, 3731 Stocker St. LA CA 90008
Free---Light Meal Served

Learn about this year’s initiatives on the state and local level that if passed, could significantly reduce hunger for over 1.5 million Californians:

  • The movement to raise SSI/SSP for seniors and disabled Californians
  • California Nutrition Incentives Act to make farm fresh food affordable for thousands of residents—and help our drought-stricken farmers at the same time
  • Right to Rest Act to stop the criminalization of poor people and those sharing food with them
  • Urban farming issues in the city of LA

RSVP to [email protected]

The training will cover the content of these initiatives, plus How to Speak to Your Elected Officials---basic tools for advocates
Highly recommended training for those who have no experience with advocacy and for those planning on attending Hunger Action Day in Sacramento, May 13

Co-Sponsored by Community Health Councils
RSVP to [email protected] or 213 388 8228

Grant Could Bring $1 Million for Produce for Low Income Families

Related LA Times Article:

Big federal grant will bolster popular Market Match program---Russ Parsons, LA Times

A new grant from the Department of Agriculture will mean that as much as $1 million in fresh produce will be added to the shopping bags of Southern California’s low-income families over the next two years.

The grant to Berkeley’s Ecology Center that administers the Market Match program totals $3.7 million statewide.

According to the Ecology Center, this will allow the program to reach an additional 240,000 shoppers statewide and will stimulate an additional $9.8 million in sales to California’s small farmers.

Market Match is an innovative setup that allows shoppers to double their EBT and WIC benefits when shopping at farmers markets.

Participating shoppers use their benefits cards to receive chits that can be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. Market Match doubles the first $10 in benefits.

“This is going to fill in a big piece of puzzle in funding,” says Frank Tamborello, director of Hunger Action LA, one of the groups that will be receiving some of the grant.

“It’s going to allow us to add new markets — the Valley has been begging for the program and we’re hoping to get either Panorama City or someplace in that area. Another possibility is that at some markets we have limited budget, so we have to cut off Market Match after only an hour or so when we run out of money.”

Last year Market Match was available at 150 markets statewide, 22 in Southern California. With the grant, that number should increase to 36.

Ecology Center will divide the money among eight Southern California farmers market organizers — Downtown Santa Ana Farmers’ Market, Hunger Action Los Angeles (HALA), Palm Springs Cultural Center Certified Farmers’ Markets, Phelan Certified Farmers’ Market, Social Justice Learning Institute, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) and Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market, and International Rescue Committee.

The USDA funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, which was authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. A total of $31.5 million was made available nationwide and Ecology Center’s grant was the fourth-largest in the country.

Ecology Center has administered the program since 2013. In that time, Market Match has grown from 130 to 234 outlets, including farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, farm stands and more.

“This is a four-way win,” says Tamborello. “It reduces hunger, especially among our senior population. It encourages healthy eating. It boosts the California small farm economy. And it supports environmentally sustainable agriculture.”
Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter @russ_parsons1


$3.7M grant aims to get poor families to buy more produce by Rebecca Plevin
April 01 2015
Audio from this story

0:42 Listen

Sia'Kendah Hobdy, of L.A., says the program has made a difference for her family. The program boosts her spending power at farmers markets, she notes, adding that it also allows her and her kids to enjoy a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.

"It means a great deal for me," says the mother of four.

Governor’s Water Conservation Measure Lets Big Corporations Off the Hook

The current drought has prompted Governor Brown to call for a 25% reduction in water usage across the board. But some big constituencies aren’t being asked for a reduction---including some large growers and oil companies, who use millions of gallons for fracking. Our small farmers are suffering---they can’t afford to purchase more water from the water districts, or spend upwards of $30,000 to drill for water underground. Food and Water Watch, a national advocacy group with California affiliates, issued a statement calling out the double standard in water conservation directives.

Statement by Food & Water Watch California Director, Adam Scow:

“It is disappointing that Governor Brown’s executive order to reduce California water use does not address the state’s most egregious corporate water abuses. In the midst of a severe drought, the Governor continues to allow corporate farms and oil interests to deplete and pollute our precious groundwater resources that are crucial for saving water.

“The Governor must save our groundwater from depletion by directing the State Water Board to protect groundwater as a public resource. Governor Brown should direct the Water Board to place a moratorium on the use of groundwater for irrigating crops on toxic and dry soils on the westside of the San Joaquin Valley. In the two year period covering 2014-2015, the Westlands Water District is on pace to pump over 1 million acre feet of groundwater – more water than Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco combined use in 1 year. Much of Westlands grows water-intensive almonds and pistachios, most of which are exported out of state and overseas. This is a wasteful and unreasonable water use, especially during a severe drought.

“Governor Brown should also stop the ongoing contamination of groundwater aquifers by toxic wastewater from oil and gas operations. It is disturbing and irresponsible that the Brown administration continues to allow oil companies to contaminate and rob Californians of these fresh water sources. Given that there is currently no safe way to dispose of toxic wastewater, the Governor should place a moratorium on fracking and other dangerous oil extraction techniques to prevent the problem from getting even bigger.”

Renter’s Day LA----April 22, 2015 at City Hall

A coalition of groups from across LA County will be convening Renter’s Day on Wednesday April 22 at City Hall. Housing costs in LA are a primary cause of hunger as median income families are spending 41% of income for rent, and rents today are 15.2 percent higher than they were at the end of the recession in 2009 (Source: Reis, a real estate firm)

Solutions proposed by this diverse coalition include a Quality Repairs Ordinance: a City limit on evictions for demolitions & conversions, which further reduce the amount of rental property available: ending unaffordable & unfair rent increases: and creating funding for new, affordable housing.

Rally, Press Conference & Hearing at City Hall
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
8:30am City Hall South Lawn, 1st Street & Main More information: [email protected]

Job Announcement: Director for Healthy Neighborhood Market Network

The LA Food Policy Council recently posted a job announcement for a Project Director for the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN). HNMN offers business + leadership development training and technical assistance to neighborhood markets and food entrepreneurs in low-income neighborhoods to help them thrive as community-serving healthy food businesses.

They are looking for an enthusiastic leader with experience with small businesses/community economic development and a passion for health and food justice! Please share with any relevant networks.

Application can be submitted to [email protected], and folks are encouraged to apply ASAP!

Free Health and Nutrition Workshops for LA Agencies

From Nikki Edwards, Registered Dietician:

I am doing FREE nutrition and health workshops throughout LA County for any agency. The workshop lasts for about an hour (which can be adjusted) and includes mental wellbeing, nutrition, behavioral economics and ways to incorporate physical activity into your life. This workshop is good for agency staff, community members, other advocates of health, the general public, pretty much anyone.

As a Registered Dietitian it frustrates me to see people think certain foods are the healthier option when they're really not. I also know how hard it is to juggle family needs, work, errands, daily responsibilities and so I teach easy to learn tricks of the trade that individuals can use to improve their own health as well as the health of their families.

Please direct questions or requests to [email protected]

Register for LA Aging Advocacy Summit: May 8, 2015

The 6th Annual Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition Summit on Aging: Building and Empowering Communities takes place on May 8, 2015 from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm at the Center for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment in Los Angeles, CA.

This one day Summit convenes over 300 senior services organizations, federal, state, and local policy-makers, advocates, key stakeholders, and community leaders from the Los Angeles area; to address key program and policy issues affecting California’s older adults.

This year’s Summit will open with an address from Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis (1st District) and will feature a keynote address from Nora Super, Executive Director, 2015 White House Conference on Aging, among other notable guest speakers.

Another highlight of this year’s Summit is the LAAAC Champion Award Luncheon. During the luncheon segment, LAAAC will take the opportunity to honor a Champion in Aging Advocacy. The 2015 recipient is Marvin Schachter, Senior Advocate, Chair of the Pasadena Senior Advocacy Council and President of the Advisory Council of the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging.

By attending the Summit you are participating in an exceptional opportunity to inform, educate and engage about current and emerging policies impacting the lives of older adults. Learn what action you can take to help preserve essential senior programs and services for older adults in Los Angeles County and beyond.

For more information and to register for the 6th Annual LAAAC Summit on Aging
click here:
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