Long Beach Fresh is dedicated to expanding Long Beach’s local food economy and infrastructure in ways that benefit our city’s diverse local communities. We think that everyone should have affordable access to good food – food that is nutritious, culturally relevant, and that has integrity in how it’s produced and distributed.
We host community events and working groups, provide direct consulting to local food businesses and community organizations, promote local innovation in food, and work to create systems-level changes to the food system.
Who We Serve
We support all three points of the local food economy: “Eaters,” “Feeders,” and “Seeders.” Each group requires unique strategies, but all face challenges and barriers to equitable use of resources, while holding tremendous creativity and value.
Our Vision & Mission
Our mission is to connect “Eaters, Feeders and Seeders” with resources, partners and models that can empower them to resolve their needs and use their offerings.
We envision Long Beach as a city where local healthy food is produced, distributed and enjoyed equitably. Currently, geographic and social disparities in health outcomes show a need for place-based interventions to improve local food access. Where you live shouldn’t determine your health!
What We Do
Map Needs & Opportunities
Constantly obtain wish lists, needs, opportunities from stakeholders and potential partners. Matchmake and publicize those needs & opportunities. Our goal is not to “be the solution” but instead, “bridge the solution.”
Inventory Assets & Create Directory of Local Food
Inventory local farms, businesses and organizations who comprise the Long Beach food scene. Promote, educate and recruit using this information.
Establish Relationships to Greater Community
Outreach to hundreds of businesses, neighborhood groups, city officials and education institutions to connect them to local food resources and inform them of what’s working on the ground.
Convening of Local Food Leaders
We are the primary convener of 75+ local food advocates, organizations, agencies, and businesses. Meet face-to-face with local feed leaders and whole-community open collaboration. Visit our Events page for upcoming meetings and events, or Contact Us to share your ideas.
Inventory Best Practices
Archive templates, models and best practices to help the public initiate food projects such as starting a community garden, hosting tree plantings, sourcing farm-to-table menus, etc.
Facilitate Capacity Building
Work with food community stakeholders to build their capacity, overcome obstacles, and connect with new programs, resources and people who can help them grow.
Local Food Storytelling
Leverage local news, social media and our partners to help the public find and use local foods.
Local Food Website
We organize and archive information, resources, and assets in the local food system through this website.
Local Food as Places
Working with gardens and markets to make them the heart of their communities by incorporating the arts, culture, programming, furniture and placemaking.
What We Don’t Do
Create New Bureaucracy
We enable people in the local food movement to self-start new initiatives and collaborate directly with one another to solve problems.
Gatekeep Access to Resources
We will be fully transparent about opportunities, statistics and resources that we identify, and promote opportunities widely while supporting everyone’s capacity to take advantage of them.
Dictate What Communities Need
Our goal is to help organizations fulfill their own missions and connect organizations more deeply with all aspects of the local food economy, around a set of shared values.
Our Guiding Principles
1. Food Security
Food Security is the fundamental benefit of a healthy local food economy. It can be improved through local sustainability, food incentives, and creative policies and community-driven programs. Learn more about food security here .
2. Local, Seasonal & Sustainable Foods
We believe in improving access to locally-grown, seasonal and sustainably grown food in Long Beach and the regional foodshed.
3. Food Equity
We developed a food equity statement that helps to express the context for inequity in food and land, as well as some pathways forward. To us, equity means that provisions that level the playing field are needed, from local ownership to community-driven projects.
4. Harvest Close to the Ground
Whether it’s raising money, learning how to write a press release, learning how to host a fundraiser, or finding a space to operate, each small step taken toward a goal is significant. We believe in tackling challenges one by one before they become major roadblocks. We also think that starting small is often the best way to implement a new project or idea. Prototyping and testing is key to long term success!
5. Mutual Benefit
When one part of our local food movement succeeds, we all benefit whether through affiliation, collaboration, more customers, or in other ways. We believe in a non-competitive food community where each player supports one another and we all cheer individual successes.
6. Carrot over Stick
We believe the food economy can grow faster through more win-win programs and partnerships. Typically, incentive based programs create win-win projects. We believe every member of the food community deserves a fair incentive to engage in collaboration.
Good Food Values
We align with other food policy councils in our understanding of the kind of food system we want to create. We value food that supports a local economy, is culturally relevant and authentic, is good for the environment, holds high nutritional value, uplifts and respects workers, and that improves animal welfare. While not every food offering can offer these standards at affordable prices right now, we believe that holding these values in mind can help us move the food system in a better direction.
Who coordinates projects at Long Beach Fresh?
Check out our Project Team led by Tony Damico, Ryan Smolar, and our advisory council.
Long Beach Fresh is made possible in part by the California Endowment. We are fiscally hosted by Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, a 501 c(3) non-profit organization. We are grateful to these organizations and to our local food community stewards who pledge ongoing support.