Food Forward to SMC

Every Wednesday from 2 pm to 3 pm, students line up in front of the Organic Learning Garden at Santa Monica College for the Corsair Farmers Market to get free produce that varies every week. From fresh fruits to vegetables and even herbs and bread, there are a variety of options available. Most of the produce comes from Food Forward, an organization that makes it their mission to not allow food to go to waste.

The city of Santa Monica has a farmers market earlier in the day at Second St. and Arizona Ave. from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm every Wednesday. There vendors can give away some of what they brought for a tax write-off to registered recipients. One of the recipients of the Food Forward program is SMC. Volunteers from SMC then bring the food to the weekly Corsair Farmers Market.

Leann Bogart, an SMC student volunteers with Food Forward to go around the booths and collect food before bringing it back to campus. “It makes Wednesdays one of the best days. I get to literally see the fruits of what we’ve done in people’s hands,” said Bogart. “And the people go, ‘wow this is amazing, this is what real food tastes like.’”

Natalie Flores, a manager for the garden assists with the setup and general operations for the Corsair Farmers Market. “It’s wonderful. Not only is it a good opportunity, but it also encourages students to start cooking for themselves to be more self-sufficient and eating healthier,” said Flores.

Students line up before the event starts and leave with bags filled with fresh and organic produce. Eugenia Diaz, an Illustration and Animation major liked how the market is good for people who might not be used to this type of food. “There’s a lot of variety and a lot of people don’t know how to cook or even eat, so they make poor food choices and it’ll be nice to take a look and scramble some recipes together,” said Diaz.

Ana Laura Paiva, the Director for Student Assistance has assisted with the event by handing out food and going down to the city’s farmers market. She enjoys how it helps students in a variety of ways. “You’re also educating about what it means to be sustainable. Bringing your own bag, buying local. It’s amazing how many students say how helpful it is. They get produce and they are set for the week,” said Paiva. “And everyone likes food, especially when it’s free. It’s another one of the perks at Santa Monica College.