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 in need and inspiring others to do the same.

Ruling year info

2011

Chief Executive Officer

Rick Nahmias

Main address

7412 Fulton Ave. #3

North Hollywood, CA 91605 USA

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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

Food Forward's food recovery work is necessary because of the widespread food insecurity and malnutrition that Southern Californians face, contrasted with the 40% of food that goes to waste in our food system. According to data collected by the USDA prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2019 over 10% of all households in the United States were food insecure. At the state level, 1 out of every 9 Californians does not know where their next meal will come from. The economic and food system consequences of COVID-19 have exacerbated this existing issue and brought many of the flaws present within our food system to stark light. Typically, food insecure people lack access to the nutritious options they need to thrive. Food Forward's programs strive to bridge this health gap through food recovery. Our produce rescue programs are working toward systemic change in how we fight hunger, improve the environment, promote social justice, and strengthen community.

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 conducts 100% volunteer-driven harvests on more than 800 fruit tree properties throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. Backyard Harvest connects nutritious, surplus fruit with direct service agencies, bringing fresh produce to food insecure families.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Now operating at 25 weekly farmers markets, this volunteer-driven program offers an organized, market-endorsed donation system for local farmers wanting to help fight hunger with their unsold produce. With weekly gleans at 5 markets in Ventura County and 20 markets in Los Angeles County, Farmers Market Recovery is a dependable source of high-quality produce for 80 local hunger relief agency partners. Last year, Food Forward worked with over 200 farmers who generously donated their excess produce at local markets.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Thousands of pounds of perfectly good, surplus produce from the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market and from produce wholesalers across the region are thrown away every day. This program – Food Forward’s fastest-growing and highest-volume model—rescues fresh, unsold produce from 300+ wholesale vendor partners by the truckload to prevent this unnecessary waste and connect produce to those experiencing hunger.

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

Context Notes

Food Forward distributed over 60 million pounds of produce through our three produce recovery programs in 2020 -- delicious fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have been thrown away!

Number of volunteers

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

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Food Forward volunteers participate in food rescue events including harvests, market gleans, and produce distributions. (Metric: unique volunteers engaged per year). 2020 was impacted by COVID-19.

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

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, Food Forward hosted an average of 170 volunteer food rescue events per month -- despite the pandemic's challenges. Over 11,800 volunteer hours were donated to fight hunger and food waste.

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.

In 2021, Food Forward will rescue over 40 million pounds (160 million servings) of fresh, local produce. Surplus fruits and vegetables rescued from backyards, orchards, farms, farmers markets, and wholesale produce vendors will reach two million food insecure individuals across eight Southern California counties.

Food Forward’s pattern of sustained organization growth over the last 12 years will continue in 2021. Innovations in produce distribution and the launch of an emergency expansion initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic enabled Food Forward to more than double produce distribution from 2019 to 2020. In 2021, Food Forward aims to maintain this increased capacity, with the help of additional staff, new produce recovery equipment, and an expanded warehouse space.

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 25 farmers markets in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Wholesale Produce Market Recovery - Recovers produce from the 300+ 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 325 hunger relief agencies, some of whom distribute to thousands of additionl 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.

Food Forward will accomplish our capacity-building goals by recruiting and training additional volunteers to lead Backyard Harvest events, continuing to re-populate volunteer gleaning roles at Farmers Market Recovery gleans as it is safe to do so, and diversifying wholesale produce rescue streams through the Wholesale Produce Recovery program. We will invest in skilled program and management personnel, serve Los Angeles and Ventura County communities through 12 large-scale food hub distributions, and bolster produce distribution and volunteer management software solutions.

Food Forward’s innovative and efficient programs have a track record of success. With more than 12 years of food recovery experience, 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 our volunteer corps of 10,000 engaged community members, 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 alone, Food Forward rescued over 42 million pounds of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables and donated this bounty to hundreds of hunger relief agency partners across Southern California. An additional 18 million pounds of produce were distributed through the 2020 USDA Famers to Families food box program in response to the coronavirus pandemic. All of this fresh produce was distributed to hunger relief agencies free of charge – saving our partners money and time spent procuring food. In this way, 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 food insecure individuals.

In the last 12 years, Food Forward has rescued over 120 million pounds (more than 480 million servings) of fresh fruits and vegetables. We prevented over 33,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent from polluting the atmosphere, which is like removing 9,620 vehicles from the road for a year.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the economy and food system brought new challenges to our hunger relief work. Food Forward was quickly able to pivot operations, implement safety protocols, and launch an emergency expansion initiative in early 2020 to meet the rising need for fresh, free fruits and vegetables. Our ongoing pandemic response includes:

• Food Forward is continuing our emergency expansion initiative, launched in early 2020, which included doubling the Produce Pit Stop warehouse space, securing new equipment and loading docks, growing existing agency partnerships, hiring five new positions, and redeploying staff.

• Programs are focusing on increasing produce rescue diversification to stabilize the high level of food distribution. Last year, Food Forward rescued surplus produce from 355 wholesale vendors, 210 local farmers, and 800 fruit tree donors – a record for donor diversity that we will build on in 2021.

• Food Forward forged partnerships with over 160 new agency partners over the last year, and ultimately connected fresh produce to 325 hunger relief partners of all sizes across eight counties.

• The Wholesale Produce Recovery program remains the foundation of Food Forward’s emergency response, now distributing 1,000,000 pounds of food per week (double pre-pandemic capacity).

• The Sprout, a new extension of the Produce Pit Stop warehouse launched in July, is now operating four days a week, distributing 95,000 pounds to 50 agency partners on a weekly basis. In January, nearly 400,000 pounds of produce were distributed to hunger relief agencies via The Sprout – an all-time high.

• The Backyard Harvest program broke records in 2020, rescuing 475,000 pounds of local fruit despite a pause on group harvests. New “Solo Harvests” were highly successful, providing an ongoing way to pick fruit safely.

• The Farmers Market Recovery program has safely returned to 11 markets for weekly gleans, with local farmers donating generously. We recently broke the record for the largest-ever glean: 3,883 pounds!

• Food Forward will continue our 12 collaborative food hub distributions, with each providing 7,000-20,000 pounds of mixed produce to 8-20 local agencies on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

As the food and agriculture systems face continued stressors, Food Forward will work more deeply and directly to increase access to nutritious, free food. The pandemic has exacerbated the existing inequalities in our food system, and there is incredible uncertainty ahead. Food Forward’s focus remains on meeting the increased need for consistently available, healthy food and contributing to our community’s resiliency in the years to come.

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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  • 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 3/2/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Scott Jarus

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 of Food Forward

Christy Chin

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Jedd Gold

Artkive

SuzAnn Brantner

The Family Business

Crystal Frierson

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Jason Crayne

DLR Solutions

Rob Valencia

Attorney

Betty Zamorano-Pedregon

Child Care Resource Center

Mark Rhein

Perkins + Will

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

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. 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.