Food Forward Inc.

Rescue Food. Fight Hunger. Build Community.

North Hollywood, CA   |  foodforward.org

Mission

Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people experiencing food insecurity, and inspiring others to do the same.

Ruling year info

2011

Founder and CEO

Rick Nahmias

Main address

7412 Fulton Ave. #3

North Hollywood, CA 91605 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

90-0678872

NTEE code info

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Los Angeles County, 1 in 10 households are food insecure. For many hunger relief agencies serving this population, having a steady source of fresh produce donations from Food Forward means that they can focus resources on procuring other kinds of food and shelf-stable goods, or on meeting other needs of their clients such as housing resources or medical support. A 2019 study by the CDC revealed that just 10 percent of adults, and a mere 6.8 percent of low-income adults, are meeting the recommended daily servings of vegetables. At the same time, 35% of the food produced in the U.S. is unsold or uneaten, a total of 80 million tons each year. Food Forward’s produce recovery work bridges the gap between fresh produce and people experiencing food insecurity in Southern California. Our work is an innovative and cost-effective solution to the shortage of nutritious options available to food insecure individuals.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Backyard Harvest Program

This Food Forward flagship program provides nutritious, local fruit to direct service agencies by conducting volunteer-driven picks on more than 800 fruit tree properties across Los Angeles and Ventura counties. At Backyard Harvest events, a “solo” volunteer or small group typically picks fruit at properties with just a few trees, and larger volunteer groups harvest fruit at larger properties and orchards. Food Forward supplies all necessary tools for harvesting, as well as on-site guidance from staff or trained volunteer leaders. Harvested fresh fruit is usually picked up from the harvest site by a receiving agency immediately following recovery. Occasionally, volunteer leaders may transport boxes of produce to a predetermined agency within close proximity. Currently, more than 160 hunger relief agencies receive produce through Backyard Harvest.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Food Forward offers an organized, market-endorsed donation system for farmers wanting to help fight hunger with their unsold produce. This volunteer-driven program currently operates in 14 farmers markets: five in Ventura County and nine in Los Angeles County, benefitting more than 50 local direct service agencies. Volunteers collect surplus produce from farmers market vendors in the last 30-60 minutes of each farmers market, weighing and cataloging the vendors’ donations. The Farmers Market Recovery program enables Food Forward to serve midsize hunger relief agencies with a diverse sampling of produce on an extremely consistent basis. Last year, Food Forward worked with 200 farmers who donated their excess produce at farmers markets.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

The program operates out of the Produce Pit Stop warehouse location in Bell, CA, opened in June 2019. The Wholesale Recovery Program staff collects surplus produce with five 24-foot box trucks, from the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market and from other surrounding commercial produce vendors. Surplus produce is also delivered to the Produce Pit Stop by produce donors who often drop off produce directly, as well as third-party trucks that Food Forward hired to pick up available truckloads of surplus produce. Food is arranged into mixed truckloads of fruits and vegetables, which are sent out to agency partners in the region to distribute to clients.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Pounds of fresh produce distributed to social service agencies

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, Economically disadvantaged people, Homeless people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2021, Food Forward hosted an average of 150 volunteer food rescue events per month -- despite the pandemic's challenges.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Food Forward began around the fundamental idea of sharing abundance. With 13 years of food recovery experience, Food Forward has rescued over 225 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables that would have otherwise gone to waste and connected this bounty with Southern Californians experiencing hunger. Food Forward rescues produce from backyard fruit trees, orchards, farms, farmers markets, and wholesale produce vendors, preventing this nutritious food from going to waste. Fresh fruits and vegetables are donated to 340+ hunger relief agencies who serve families and individuals experiencing food insecurity in Los Angeles and seven surrounding counties.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed Food Forward to increase the amount of produce distributed to our agency partners and their communities. We have successfully placed historic levels of produce in the hands of organizations on the frontlines of community support as their beneficiaries face the economic and health ramifications of the ongoing pandemic. In 2022, Food Forward will rescue 60-70 million pounds of fresh produce from needless waste, maintaining historic levels of produce recovery and refining operations to better serve hunger relief organizations at scale into the future.

Food Forward focuses its efforts on three primary produce recovery programs:

Backyard Harvest - Recovers produce from 800 fruit tree properties in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.
Farmers Market Recovery - Recovers produce from 14 farmers markets in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Wholesale Recovery Program - Recovers produce from the 450 wholesale produce vendors at the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market and across the region.

The produce recovered by Food Forward is delivered to over 350 hunger relief agencies, some of whom distribute to thousands of additional local direct service agencies. Food Forward’s service partners provide nourishing food boxes, supply after-school snacks, distribute produce through pantries and free markets, and prepare healthy meals for food insecure individuals and families across Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Imperial Counties. Our corps of incredible community volunteers provides Food Forward with the power to recover produce and connect it to our partners.

In 2022, Food Forward will strengthen our organizational infrastructure and workflows to ensure we can maintain historic levels of surplus produce redistribution to fight hunger in the communities we serve. We will find efficiencies in our internal systems, seek additional sources of produce, and ensure responsiveness to hunger relief agency partners so we can deepen service to their communities. In 2022, our budget has increased to $5.5 million to level-up the staff, equipment, technology, and other infrastructure required to continue this work sustainably into the future.

Food Forward has become the largest produce rescue nonprofit in Southern California. The work our staff has done to create a leading food recovery model – building an engaged volunteer corps, creating a custom software platform and portal unique to our produce rescue needs, establishing one-of-a-kind relationships with produce donors and mutually beneficial partnerships with robust, reputable nonprofits – has paid off. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted daily life, Food Forward rose to the public health challenge, quickly launching an emergency initiative to more than double produce distribution to more than 60 million pounds. The organization was able to surpass the historic amount of food distributed in 2020, rescuing and donating more than 67 million pounds (over 240 million servings) of fresh fruits and vegetables in 2021 alone. Food Forward impacts the entire hunger relief system of Southern California and helps to spur the shift towards a food system that offers fresher food to individuals experiencing food insecurity.

Since its founding in 2009, Food Forward has recovered and distributed 225 million pounds of fresh produce and prevented emissions of over 63,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. This year, Food Forward will reach 250 million pounds (equivalent to one billion servings) of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to communities across the region! Every day, Food Forward recovers and distributes enough produce to meet the five-a-day fruit and vegetable needs of 150,000-160,000 people. Food Forward recovers fresh, surplus produce from over 800 fruit tree properties, 200 farmers at 14 farmers markets, and 450 wholesale produce vendors. Over 340+ hunger relief agency partners across the region receive and distribute Food Forward’s recovered produce to their clients, 100 percent free of charge.

Despite the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the food recovery sector, Food Forward has continued to meet our mission of recovering food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it, free of charge, to Southern Californians experiencing food insecurity. In 2022, we have continued an increased pace and volume of food recovery that would have been impossible just a few years ago. The organization also prides itself on being nimble and responsive in our service model. Core activities and models of Food Forward’s three produce recovery programs have altered as needed throughout the pandemic, making changes to streamline workflows, maximize efficiency, increase safety, and better serve our partners.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The produce recovered by Food Forward reaches people experiencing hunger across virtually all social service sectors: food banks, homelessness outreach agencies, domestic violence shelters, transitional youth homes, veteran services, family resource centers, afterschool programs, LGBTQ+ teen, adult, and senior services, programs serving people with disabilities, college student assistance programs, and many more. The population served is diverse and includes people of all ages and backgrounds. Food insecurity typically affects unhoused individuals, seniors, college/community college students, veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, single-parent households, and Black- and Latine-headed households at higher rates.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Suggestion box/email, Site visits,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, other,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    other,

Financials

Food Forward Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Food Forward Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/10/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rob Valencia

Scott Jarus

EV Connect

Neil Haltrecht

Home for Good Business Leaders Taskforce

Carol Goldstein

Department of Urban Planning, UCLA

Carla Heer

Career event planner

Rick Nahmias

Founder/CEO of Food Forward

Christy Chin

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Jedd Gold

Artkive

Crystal Frierson

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Jason Crayne

DLR Solutions

Rob Valencia

Attorney

Betty Zamorano-Pedregon

Child Care Resource Center

Mark Rhein

Glaukos Corporation

Jeff Harris

JB Harris Consulting

Shari Leinwand

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/22/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/22/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.