Produce to the People! Kitchen Table Talks and CUESA Present New Ideas for Local Distribution

Kitchen Table Talks is excited to announce its new partnership with the Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). We’ll be co-hosting some events together and starting off with a great panel on Tuesday, March 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss, “Produce to the People: New Ideas for Local Distribution.” The conversation will focus on alternative models for local produce distribution and will be held in the Port Commission Hearing Room on the second floor of the Ferry Building. The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.

The Bay Area is fortunate to have abundant local produce available at multiple farmers’ markets and stores. But not everyone has access to, or can afford, farm fresh produce. Many restaurants and businesses also want to buy local, but don’t have the time or staff to shop locally. The conversation will tap into best practices and lessons learned from three of the Bay Area’s most interesting initiatives and address the creative ways these organizations are getting local produce to more people, including those in underserved and neglected communities.

Panelists include:
Grayson James, Executive Director of Petaluma Bounty, a non-profit organization that helps people grow their own healthy food, redistributes surplus food, and provides affordable fresh food to low-income families and seniors;
Melanie Cheng, Founder of FarmsReach, a new online farm food marketplace that connects farmers to business buyers; and
Christine Cherdboonmuang, Coordinator of Healthy Farms/Healthy Communities for Oakland’s East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) and the Oakland School District which works to bring farm stands directly to parents at 12 Oakland schools.

The panel will be moderated by Michael Dimock, President of Roots of Change (ROC), a nonprofit, organization whose purpose is to spawn a sustainable food system in California by the year 2030.

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Please join us at 6:30 p.m. for our conversation; refreshments will be donated thanks to a collaboration with BiRite Market. As always, Kitchen Table Talks is a joint production of CivilEats and 18 Reasons.

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View Comments (2)

  1. Monday, February 1st, 2010
    This discussion will simply be "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" unless the fundamental threat posed by the proposed inappropriate, self-styled "food safety" federal legislation is substantially revised.

    FarmsReach and ALL distributors of food that store any food are "facilities" under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act and must be registered with the FDA as required by 21USC350d. Under Sec. 103 of the proposed S 510, these food distributors (like all food facilities) will be required to develop and implement "Hazard Analysis & Risk-based Preventive Controls" covering all of the food they distribute. Under Sec. 104 Performance Standards, they will also be required to meet whatever additional standards are set up by the FDA. In addition, the existing traceability requirements will be increased.

    In my 14+ years working to revive local, healthy food (a simple a web search will clearly demonstrate who I am), I have never heard of any distributor that has even one of these HACCP-styled plans. I have never heard of such a plan having been written. As the owner of a small food distributorship in conjunction with a retail store who has worked full-time since July 2009 learning about these plans and other proposed "food safety" requirements, I have no question that our distributorship will not be to survive as a stand alone when the new regulations come into force. Furthermore, I have seen no evidence that there is any reason to believe that HACCP-style plans will improve the overall safety of food distribution in the US. In fact, because the regs will be more expensive and difficult for sustainable ag to implement than industrial ag, S 510/HR 2749 will further tighten industrial ag's control of our food system.

    Ironically, Dr. William Sperber, one of developers of HACCP and the "Global Food Safety Ambassador" for Cargill pointed this out back in 2003 in his paper, "HACCP does not work from farm to table."

    For more info or to help, please write me at
  2. Michelle
    Monday, February 1st, 2010
    Is there any way this talk will be filmed/available publicly? I live in Portland, OR, and the distribution dilemma is one of the topics I've been discussing lately with my economist boyfriend(I'm in the culinary industry).