2017 Good Food Champions at Food Day LA: Future of Food

CD 1- Sam PolkSam Polk- Councilmember Cedillo, District 1

At 30 years old, Sam Polk walked away from his multi-million dollar a year hedge-fund trading job to found Groceryships, a non-profit working at the intersection of hunger and obesity. In addition to his position as Executive Director at Groceryships, Sam is also the founder and CEO of Spring Foods, a “B” Corp social enterprise that sells radically healthy, radically affordable ready-to-eat meals in low-income communities.

In addition to managing these organizations, Sam is also a published author. His work has been published on the front page of The Sunday Review in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post,, and The Orange County Register.

He has appeared on national television shows including The Today Show, Morning Joe, Oprah, CNN, Tavis Smiley, hundreds of radio networks including NPR, WNYC, as well as dozens of international media appearances.


CD 2- Vegan Street FairVegan Street Fair- Councilmember Krekorian, District 2

From the lively street fairs of New York City to the energetic food festivals across the country, the idea for a Vegan Street Fair in Los Angeles took shape to merge these concepts with a vegan twist. In 2015, married couple Jessica Schoech- a New York native- and Ken Schoech- a Sacramento native- founded a one of a kind vegan food extravaganza that was easily accessible to the public. Living in North Hollywood for several years, Jessica and Ken knew that the only place an event of this magnitude could be sustained was right on the streets of this bustling urban city with diverse people from all backgrounds. Long time vegans, the Schoechs set out to create a party atmosphere with delicious and healthy vegan food for people of all backgrounds while cultivating the rich community that surrounds North Hollywood (NoHo). After 3 years of putting on Vegan Street Fair in NoHo, attendance has skyrocketed to 30,000 people who come from near and far to have a true vegan foodie experience. Non-vegans, vegans, and general foodies alike have traveled from as far away as France to taste veganized favorites like corn dogs, burgers, cupcakes, funnel cakes, and donuts without feeling like they are missing anything.  

The goal for Vegan Street Fair has always been to invite people to enjoy the benefits of eating a plant based diet while injecting a sense of community and light heartedness to an ethical issue that is at the center of the vegan lifestyle. With DJ sound, chalk art, a beer garden, tasty recognizable food for almost a mile in the heart of North Hollywood, Vegan Street Fair has become a mainstay in the city with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Every year, 10,000 more people flood the streets for this event and more vegan and vegan friendly locations are sprouting up in this little vegan mecca in Los Angeles. Vegan Street Fair is proud to be working with Councilman Krekorian’s office year after year on the logistics of this event and they could not be more grateful for Councilman Krekorian’s continued support.  As Vegan Street Fair continues to build this brand, they are committed to highlighting North Hollywood as a hub for vegan eats, vegan businesses, and health conscious individuals looking to make small or large changes to their lives one bite at a time.

Leichman CTC- Councilmember Blumenfield, District 3

Leichman CTC is dedicated to providing an outstanding, student-centered, rigorous, and engaging vocational program for students with disabilities on the Alternate Curriculum.  Their instructional and work programs are committed to teaching the important life skills necessary to foster independence, develop work skills, and promote the integration of students within the community they live and work.  

When Dr. Daniela Fritz, a nutritional instructor at Leichman CTC, first  expressed interest in starting a school garden to her  former principal Pauline Furman, she showed her  a large grassy and mostly deserted area of about an acre in size located in a largely unused corner of their school on Vanalden and Hart and said: “Go ahead. You can offer gardening as an elective.” Since then, students, staff and community members have built over fifty 10ft x 4ft planter boxes.

A few years ago, the school was transformed into a Career and Transition center where students with disabilities from 18-22 years of age learn and practice vocational skills in preparation for a successful adult life. Her  gardening elective turned into a real horticulture program. With the addition of chickens to the program, it’s now referred to as “Horticulture and Animal Care” program. Together with their  students, they raise plants from seeds, plant seasonal vegetables, grow succulents and take care of 26 chickens and 3 pot-bellied

pigs. They  sell fresh produce and eggs at the weekly Farmer’s Market at the Vanalden Garden Gate which is open to the public. Their  students enjoy Farmer’s Market hours as it gives them an opportunity to show off their hard work and interact with visitors from the community.

Dr. Fritz has reflected that working in their  garden and sharing her  passion as a gardener by teaching it to students with disabilities has been the most rewarding experience of her  professional life. She truly loves going to work every day and sharing what it takes to plant, take care and harvest everything they grow. Occasionally, when she tells their visitors about their  great cauliflowers or show off the biggest sugar beets, she thinks of her parents’ vegetable garden and is  grateful that they taught her how to grow and care for all living things.


CD 4-Devorah BrousDevorah Brous- Councilmember Ryu, District 4

Devorah Brous is the Founding Executive Director of Netiya. She is a community organizer with two Masters degrees in Development Studies and Israel Studies from Hebrew University and has been trained extensively in facilitation, mediation, and nonviolent communication. She immigrated to Israel and lived there for 15 years, where she organized on the front lines as the founder of Bustan (orchard), an award-winning Jewish/Bedouin environmental justice NGO. Since moving to LA in 2008, she became a UC Master Gardener, a Food Preserver, a certified composter, and a permaculture designer. Netiya has catalyzed food production on 31 congregations across racial, ethnic, and faith lines in LA County. Devorah is passionate about fermenting and canning homegrown food, aquaponics, and wildcrafting medicine for family and friends. She speaks Hebrew and Arabic and believes in the power of the land to bring us all together. She lives with her husband Laurence Weber; their two little wizards, Sela and Zeke; and seven happy hens.


CD 5- Allison KornAllison Korn, Councilmember Koretz, District 5

Allison Korn is the Clinical Director for the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy and the Assistant Dean of Experiential Education at UCLA Law School. She founded and directs UCLA Food Law and Policy Clinic, where law students develop and implement policy interventions to address challenges affecting our modern food system. The Clinic’s students have worked with local food organizations, innovators, producers, and activists across Los Angeles, and their work prioritizes local food policy development. Allison’s teaching and scholarship focus on law, policy, and practices that affect vulnerable individuals’ and communities’ access to justice, as well as interdisciplinary perspectives on policy advocacy pedagogy.

Prior to joining UCLA Law School, Allison was a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also created and taught a practicum course at the University of Mississippi that addressed systemic poverty, racism, and inequality in the region. In this role, Allison co-designed a project to identify and support the legal needs of small farmers and growers in the Mississippi Delta.   

As a practitioner, Allison was a public defender at the Bronx Defenders and a staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, both in New York. While in law school, Allison co-founded the Student Hurricane Network, a national network of more than 5,500 law students advancing the cause of social justice in communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

CD 6-Ella_s Jus-Randy and Josselyn TurciosElla’s Jus- Councilmember Martinez, District 6

Ella’s Jus is a healthy restaurant that opened in an area of Lake Balboa, that lacks many healthy options. After facing many barriers and challenges, owners Josselyn Turcios and her husband Randy made their dreams come true and opened Ella’s Jus in August 2017. Josselyn and Randy  dreamed of providing healthy and delicious food options  to the predominantly Hispanic community since there was  nothing else like it in Lake Balboa. Their menu offers a variety of freshly pressed juices from locally sourced produce. They offer a large selection of unique smoothies as well as a variety of simply delightful smoothie bowls, parfaits, and fresh cut fruit. Ella’s Jus is determined to bring delicious, hand-crafted, freshly made drinks and food to their neighborhood using 100% raw fruits and vegetables.

Ella’s Jüs is breaking barriers and helping transform lifestyles. As the business continues to grow, Ella’s Jüs will always strive to provide customers with delicious treats that won’t take a toll on their body. They are committed to being the healthy, tasty option for juices, smoothies, and much more.


CD 7- MENDMEND- Councilmember Rodriguez, District 7

In the early 1970’s, MEND – Meet Each Need with Dignity – opened its doors in an effort to transform the lives of the neediest residents of the northeast San Fernando Valley. From its beginning as a small group of volunteers working from a garage, MEND has grown, primarily by word of mouth, into the largest poverty agency in the Valley. More than 94% of the support and donations received by MEND goes directly to client services, making it one of the leanest operating non-profit organizations in existence. MEND provides stability and dignity with emergency food, clothing, homeless services and medical care, as well as tools to achieve self-reliance through job skills training, computer classes, English as a Second Language classes and youth enrichment.

MEND’s vision is for all members of their community living in poverty to attain self-reliance and contribute to society as caring human beings. With dignity and respect, powered by volunteers, MEND’s mission is to break the bonds of poverty by providing basic human needs and a pathway to self-reliance.


CD 8- Chef E Dubble _ Marshawn Peace WilliamsGrilled Fraiche- Councilmember Harris-Dawson, District 8

Marshawn “Peace Love” Williams and Chef E Dubble came together to create Grilled Fraiche, a food truck that aims to serve healthy, delicious, and affordable Caribbean-inspired food. Williams and Chef Dubble each provide their own expertise and vision  towards the work. Williams strives to provide the guidance and structure needed to help their  company grow. His mission is to remove all barriers that come their  way and to develop their team members to be all around leaders. He I aims to build stability with purpose for all. Chef E. Dubble, is a native to the inner city of Los Angeles, has paved his way in the culinary industry. He has cooked from the streets of South Central to the kitchens of comedy clubs, and has hosted tastings at different venues and has catered at private events for some of Hollywood’s elite.


CD 9- Chef Luis Sanchez of Served 2 EnjoyServed 2 Enjoy- Councilmember Price, District 9

Chef Luis Sanchez was born and raised in San Bartolomé Quialana, Oaxaca, where he began experimenting with food at a very young age. Luis vividly recalls how cooking was always an activity filled with joy, happiness and had a sense of community. The community would come together to cook for any special event. He recalls his mother and other women firing up grills, griddles and pots to make fresh tortillas, tlayudas, moles and a variety of other dishes that were prepared with the utmost attention and love.

His obsession for fresh, locally grown food stems from his upbringing as well. Growing up in the Central Valley region of Oaxaca provided Luis with the opportunity to help his mother grow a wide variety of vegetables and tropical fruits (which they would later trade for other staples at the weekly mercado).

Luis moved to Los Angeles in search for opportunities. He worked his way up to be the kitchen manager at Koo Koo Roo, Santa Monica when Koo Koo Roo was at its highest peak in the early 2000’s. Eager to learn other aspects of the kitchen, he left Koo Koo Roo to work for Bonne Bouffe catering. Luis would spend the next 6 years as the head chef for their Healthy Lunch Program. It was during this time that Luis oversaw the task of feeding over 1,000 children per day. During his free time and on weekends, Luis and his brother Heriberto started catering small private events, such as birthday parties and baptisms.Overtime, Heriberto and Luis parted their own ways and Served 2 Enjoy was born.

Served 2 Enjoy opened its door in South Central in January 2015. Luis’ goal is to provide his clients with exceptional food and incomparable service at a reasonable price. He is proud to provide his customers with the finest quality food prepared fresh with care and attention and using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

CD 10- Glen CuradoCD 10 Glen Curado, Founder of World Harvest Food Bank

Glen Curado was born in Taiwan and is a former member of the Air Force. He is the visionary behind World Harvest Food Bank, a non-profit food-assistance center. It started when Curado’s unpaid traffic tickets were offset with 200 hours of community service at a food bank where each person was given one bag that typically contained canned soup, mac and cheese, and one loaf of bread. There were no vegetables and no “good food.”

Curado created World Harvest Food Bank where for a $35 “donation,” patrons get a shopping cart loaded with food including fruits, vegetables, bread, rice, etc. They also have the opportunity to add to that cart depending on what is available that day. The food comes from many sources including Von’s, Albertson’s and Whole Foods. If patrons that cannot afford the $35, they can volunteer for four hours and get the same amount of food. Curado is also committed to reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in our landfills.

World Harvest is located at 3100 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019 and is open Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 3pm.

CD 11- David KingDavid King of Venice Learning Garden- Councilmember Bonin, District 11

With over 60 years of gardening experience and his commitment to growing food in the cities, David King has taught public and UCLA Extension classes for over 10 years. In 2002, he was instrumental in starting The Learning Garden on the grounds of Venice High School – a community/school cooperative teaching gardening to all age groups, from pre-school to adults. All that David teaches is based on a keen understanding of LA’s unique climate and its distinctly different soils, despite being a transplant from Kansas himself.

In 2009, he was the Founding Chair for the Seed Library of Los Angeles, a seed saving organization that currently has over 1400 members making it one of the largest seed libraries in the state, if not the nation. The seed library is a key effort in making Los Angeles more food secure with locally grown, locally adapted seeds. King was also directly involved in creating a new state law that legalized seed libraries in California in 2016.

He continues to advocate for local food and local seeds and to work  as a community  to find food plants on which everyone can   depend  on in a more unpredictable world with climate change.  King’s motto is “Grow some of your own food and build community.”

CD 12-Nancy Jann of New Horizons- Sam_s CafeNew Horizons- Sam’s Cafe- Councilmember Englander, District 12

Sam’s Café is home to the New Horizons culinary program and it provides training in preparation and food service in a real-world environment to New Horizons clients. New Horizons is a North Hills based nonprofit whose mission is to empower individuals with special needs. As a professional kitchen and banquet hall, Sam’s Cafe is a preferred site for many social events and capable of hosting 250 guests. Sam’s Café is also the home of “Sam’s Cookies. New Horizons clients have been baking cookies through the organization’s food preparation program since 1982. Up until recently, they have been distributed at New Horizons and at local events.

The nonprofit’s new partnership with Vons will introduce them to a whole new audience of cookie lovers, while allowing its clients to be an even bigger part of the community. The sales of these cookies go towards benefiting New Horizons’ programs and services which include job training and placement, education, counseling, residential services and social programs for more than 1,000 adults with special needs annually.

CD 13- WaxPaperWax Paper- Councilmember O’Farrell, District 13

Wax Paper, the creation of Peter and Lauren Lemos, evolved from their dream of opening a simple, but delicious neighborhood sandwich shop.  It is a place of warmth, comfort, and creativity. Their menu features homemade sandwiches, salads, and sides with an array of beverages including fresh-brewed coffee & tea and real sodas. Peter and Lauren  are dedicated to respecting our Earth’s resources, and they take every possible measure to uphold their responsibility towards the environment. Their main goal is to provide the community with a place where its members can eat, drink, relax, relate, and create — a place of happiness and the feeling of being at home.  

CD 14- Ariana AlcarazAriana Alcaraz, LA Community Action Network- Councilmember Huizar, District 14

Ariana Alcaraz is a community organizer with the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) where she coordinates the Team Food committee.  Her organizing has led to the implementation of significant policy changes that ensure people in her community have access to fresh and affordable food.  She worked with the City of Los Angeles to establish the city-wide EBT acceptance ordinance at all certified farmer’s markets and with public housing residents to create a food growing policy within the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.  In the past year, she and her team expanded LACAN’s Organic Pop-Up Market which is now operating at two locations while building out their community rooftop garden to becoming a sustainable food source in the neighborhood.  Ariana strongly believes food is a human right and will continue to build with community and create sustainable solutions to hunger and homelessness.  

CD 15- Catalina Sea RanchCatalina Sea Ranch- Councilmember Buscaino, District 15

Catalina Sea Ranch is the first federally permitted and operational aquaculture facility located in U.S. Federal waters, 6 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, CA. Catalina Sea Ranch uses remote monitoring documenting to ensure that there is no negative environmental or social impact from the facility. Launching operations with low-risk, highly profitable mussels, Catalina Sea Ranch hopes to  expand with the cultivation of additional sustainable mollusk and seaweed crops. Mollusk shellfish (mussels, scallops, oysters, etc.) are among the most lucrative and sustainable fisheries in the U.S. valued at $1 billion and the global seaweed market exceeds $10 billion.