News Update: October 20, 2014

  1. SAVE THE DATE! HALA Dinner, Thursday Nov. 13 2014
  2. US and CA Hunger and Poverty
  3. Urban Agriculture and Local Food
  4. Celebrate Food Day, Tuesday, October 21, 2014 from 8:30 – 11:00am at the South Lawn of Los Angeles City Hall
  5. More Hunger
  6. International Food News
  7. Water
  8. Fair Wages
  9. Food Waste

1. SAVE THE DATE! HALA Dinner, Thursday Nov 13th 2014: 

The “Champions Against Hunger and Poverty” award celebrates the innovative efforts of Los Angeles County residents to address pervasive problems impacting the economically vulnerable and food insecure.  Awardees for 2014 include Randy Muñoz of Latino Diabetes Association, PHFE WIC, Revolutionary Autonomous Communities, Long time HALA Volunteer George Worthy, Joan Harper of Fair Trade LA, Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer and recently retired Department of Public Health director, Dr. Jonathan Fielding.

Please join this year’s award recipients at Kavar Banquet Hall, located at 4777 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029, Thursday, November 13th, 2014 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Proceeds from the dinner will go towards the support of HALA’s signature programs, including Market Match, the People’s Guide, and Hunger Action Day in Sacramento.

For information on ticket prices, please go directly to purchase Tickets, visit The Awards Page, or call (213) 388-8228. 

Thank You


2. US and CA Hunger and Poverty:

Human Services Bills Signed and Vetoed
SIGNED! SB 270 (Padilla) would encourage shoppers across California to use reusable bags by banning the use of single-use, plastic carryout bags at checkout stands and requiring a 10-cent charge for recycled paper bags and compostable bags. It would standardize the experience for nutrition assistance program recipients by requiring an exemption to the 10-cent charge for people paying with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card and Women, Infant & Children (WIC) vouchers.
VETOED! SB 1002 (De León) would increase opportunities for County Human Services Agencies to align certification periods for Medi-Cal when applicants and recipients for CalFresh are eligible for both programs. It is co-sponsored by Western Center and the California Food Policy Advocates.
SIGNED! AB 1930 (Skinner) would reduce barriers to federal food assistance and academic success for low-income college students by establishing protocols for qualifying and verifying an exemption to the CalFresh student ineligibility. It co-sponsored by Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations.
SIGNED! AB 2561 (Bradford) Establishes the right for renters to grow food for personal consumption on the land of a rental property.
Highlights gathered from the Western Center on Law and Poverty Human Services and Access to Jobs & Justice Legislative Update.

3. Urban Agriculture and Local Food:

Support Urban Ag in the City of Los Angeles
The Urban Agriculture Land Use petition is now online!  Please urge the City of LA to increase land access for urban food growing.  The purpose of this petition is to advance policy change to encourage equitable food growing throughout the City of LA.  If you or your organization would like to sign on to this petition, please go to:
LA City Council Introduces Plan to Encourage Urban Farming
 LA Times: “Two Los Angeles City Council members want to transform empty, blighted lots into flourishing urban farms. A motion introduced Wednesday by Councilmen Felipe Fuentes and Curren Price calls for landowners to receive tax breaks for leasing vacant property for agriculture.”


4. Celebrate Food Day, Tuesday, October 21, 2014 from 8:30 – 11:00am at the South Lawn of Los Angeles City Hall

  • Honor “Good Food Champions” from each Council district, working to change to the food landscape in their neighborhoods.
  • Hear from local officials committed to making progress on key food policy issues.
  • Taste delicious food from the City & LAUSD’s Good Food vendors & farmers who demonstrate local, sustainable, fair, humane & healthy values.
  • Learn about the collective work and recent wins of LA Food Policy Council partners & Working Groups on food issues in LA, and how one can make an impact.

5. More Hunger 

The Ten Hungriest and Poorest States

Our brothers and sisters in the South continue to suffer due to partisan politics. Despite alleviating hunger among 46 million Americans, Congress proposed cuts to the SNAP program 13 times during the 2014 legislative session. As the 2014 mid-term elections draws near, fighting hunger and poverty must be made a priority.

CalFresh forum coming March 2015: Each year the CalFresh Forum brings together hundreds of key stakeholders from across the state to discuss strategies and opportunities to improve the reach and impact of CalFresh.

Save the Date! The 2015 CalFresh Forum will take place on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 in Sacramento, CA.

Program information and a registration link will be available in early January. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact Alexis Fernandez at [email protected]

Learn more about the CalFresh Forum by visiting the 2014 event page here.

No excuse for dismissing high-achieving schoolchildren's hunger

Economics Daily Digest: Students shouldn't go hungry on college campuses

Alaska Turns to Locally Grown Food Thanks to State Incentives

Governor Signs Farm to Fork Legislation:
SACRAMENTO - As the Sacramento region celebrates "Farm-to-Fork Week," Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation to support farm-to-fork agriculture and expand access to healthy foods.

The Governor signed the following bills today:

  • AB 1789 by Assemblymember Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara) - Pesticides: neonicotinoids: reevaluation: determination: control measures.
  • AB 1871 by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) - Agricultural products: direct marketing: certified farmers' markets.
  • AB 1990 by Assemblymember Richard S. Gordon (D-Menlo Park) - Food production. A signing message can be found here.
  • AB 2218 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) - Electricity and natural gas rates.
  • AB 2241 by Assemblymember Susan T. Eggman (D-Stockton) - Local government: agricultural land.
  • AB 2413 by Assemblymember John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) - The Office of Farm to Fork.
  • AB 2561 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) - Personal agriculture: restrictions.

For full text of the bills, visit:

6. International Food News

South of the American border, countries are moving forward with policies to improve health of their residents by making it easier for them to improve their diets. They’re also engaged in environmental preservation while boosting the economy of local small farmers.

Salvadorans Opt for Sustainable Development

Farmers and fisherfolk in some of El Salvador’s coastal communities have embarked on agricultural projects that are helping villages economically, but also preserving the fragile environment. Seed banks preserving traditional varieties, introduction of organic fertilizers, and involving the low income farmers in the seed business are some of the features of the efforts of the “Mangrove Association”. By comparison, how many small players are there in the U.S. seed business?

And while in the US high pressure from the junk food and soda industry intimidates leaders from regulating those industries, the governments of at least two countries in Latin America have no qualms about imposing taxes on food of low nutritional quality that’s contributing to diet related diseases:

Ecuador Introduces Fast Food Tax

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says of the country’s proposed fast food tax, “If you want to make yourself sick, that is your problem. We are in a free country. But those who deliberately affect your health, they should contribute a little more to the healthcare system to help you once you are ill….“We're talking about these big chains where meat is cooked in pans of oil used over and over, which is a threat to public health.”

Soda Tax Working in Mexico

“Recent declines suffered by Pepsi and Coke in Mexico underscore why the beverage industry is fighting tax proposals on sugary drinks in in San Francisco and nearby Berkeley.
PepsiCo — which makes Frito-Lay chips, Gatorade and Tropicana — reported similar declines in its snacks business for the first half of the year, starting when the tax went into effect. Coca-Cola, which reports its third quarter results Oct. 21, has also reported beverage volume declines in Mexico for the first half of the year, citing a similar tax on drinks.”

7. Water

Can Going Vegan Help With The Drought?

About 80 percent of California’s water usage goes to agriculture, but different foods require wildly varying amounts of water to produce---especially animal meat , with one published estimate stating that “a pound of beef takes about 1,581 gallons of water to produce, compared with 200 gallons for a pound of rice”.

Detroit Shuts Off Water to Thousands of Poor Families

The city of Detroit is shutting off water to thousands of residents unable to pay their bills, after initially putting a hold on these shutoffs. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes stated that there is no such thing as a right to water. The city of Detroit has raised water rates by triple-digit percentages in recent years despite having one of the poorest customer bases in the country.

8. Fair Wages

A coalition of community organizations, labor unions, academics, and religious and business leaders are urging the City leadership to champion the strongest minimum wage policy in the nation, by providing:

  • $15/hour indexed to the cost of living
  • Comprehensive Wage Theft Enforcement (every week, $26 million is stolen from low wage workers when employers don’t pay them what they’re owed)
  • Guaranteed Paid Sick Days

As hunger in the United States is tied directly to personal finances, clearly these measures would help hundreds of thousands of people in the LA Area to be able to afford sufficient food, perhaps even healthy food.

From the campaign: “Los Angeles is one of the leading low wage capitals in the nation. The California Budget Project estimates that Angelenos need to earn more than $15/hour to provide for their basic needs. Yet 46% of workers in our city make less than that. That’s over 810,000 of working Angelenos trying to scrape by in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The city’s dire affordable housing stock and high demand further exacerbates the struggle of low wage workers.”

When workers earn a living wage, they stimulate the economy. They immediately spend their paychecks in their communities to sustain their families’ basic needs, allowing small and local businesses to thrive.

We look forward to working with the Mayor and LA City Council to champion, pass and enforce the nation’s strongest minimum wage policy to tackle the massive issue of poverty in Los Angeles.”

For more information, go to:

9. Food Waste

Seattle to fine residents, businesses for wasting too much food

Starting in January 2015, Seattle residents and businesses will be warned by municipal trash collectors if their trash contains more than 30% of compostable refuse. By June 2015, the city will cite violators and include a cash penalty in their municipal trash collection bill. Reaction to the proposal has been mixed; some applaud the city for taking a proactive step to reduce it carbon foot print through minimizing the presence of methane releasing compostables in landfills, while other believe that it may actually discourage participation and cause a backlash against composting.

HALA lead a campaign that resulted in a city of Los Angeles ordinance that encourages various departments such as LA World Airports, the Convention Center, plus Parks and Recreation to donate surplus food to charity. Should similar policies like Seattle's be implemented in Los Angeles?

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