California’s food industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that consists of many different types of businesses and organizations that grow, process, and distribute food across the state, country, and around the world. Ownership across the food system has seen decades of corporate consolidation, resulting in negative social and economic impacts. From seeds to land ownership to retail distribution, profit is the driver of our conventional food system rather than nourishing our communities. It is well documented that people most burdened by chronic health issues and lack of access to nutritious food are people of color, women, children, low-income individuals, and food system workers; not surprisingly, the same people who are being most impacted by the pandemic.
With Shelter in Place orders in effect for months now, essential businesses, such as food related businesses, have been under tremendous pressure to meet a new demand with significantly different operating models. Now more than ever, California FreshWorks support an ecosystem of businesses and nonprofits that are creating a more equitable and sustainable food system. We support the leaders whose work is focused on more than making a profit — these are the people who are deeply attuned to their community’s needs, and are feeding their communities, creating quality and dignified jobs, fostering learning and leadership, building local wealth, and tending the land with care and respect.
The community partners highlighted below are a few among many organizations and businesses that have the relationships and infrastructure within their communities to pivot and restructure themselves to meet current and future food access needs; particularly for communities made vulnerable by systemic injustices. While the pandemic initially hindered operations, our partners have shifted their business models, some even forming partnerships with one another, to help ensure Californians have access to nutritious foods.