Imagining Interconnected Foodways Across LA County

Imagining Interconnected Foodways Across LA County

By   |  Sep. 1, 2020

This is an edited blog post submitted as part of the Pando Days wrap-up from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. We asked the Cal Poly Pomona team to reflect on their Pando Days experience and let us know what’s happened since the July Finale. 

Food Within Reach is a project of Cal Poly Pomona that envisions interconnected foodways every quarter mile across LA County.

The idea of foodways encompasses critical features and functions of life – food, green spaces, health, economic development, and community engagement. 

They will be conceived and built by residents in public spaces or private land. Prototypes are being explored at Cal Poly Pomona through a partnership with the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies and the Huntley College of Agriculture with several student projects culminating in a food pantry, aquaponic food growing and a culinary garden. 

These projects form the foundation of a Countywide strategy that includes conscious and regenerative use of plant, animal, and human resources.

We were invited to the Pomona Sustainable Food Alliance in August to share our presentation and met with urban agriculture enthusiasts and activists. They’re a group of organizations with active projects in several spaces who are taking legislative action and have added creating new foodways as a goal.

Later, we had several meetings with a researcher from Pomona Environmental Advocacy for Community Health who is studying the contribution of community gardens to social-ecological resilience.  

As part of a planning grant, the Transformative Climate Communities in Pomona will conduct community engagement workshops throughout 2021. These meetings hope to offer opportunities to introduce the idea of foodways and begin to engage in community led transformation. We plan to present at these meetings.

At Cal Poly Pomona, accomplishments so far include helping a local urban farm, Growing Roots, creating a database, publishing their newsletter, and helping them do market research. 

Katherine Blakistone is the Project Lead in MS Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.