LOS ANGELES—On Thursday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Feeding the 5000 food festival will take place at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. The event will be hosted by Feedback, a London-based environmental nonprofit organization that strives to end food waste, alongside local partners including The Rockefeller Foundation, L.A. Kitchen, Alma Backyard Farms, Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Hunger Action Los Angeles, and more.
Feeding the 5000, which has organized more than 40 events around the world since 2009, aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of food waste through a free feast for 5,000 people. The feast will be prepared by top local chefs such as Monica May from the Nickel Diner, using fresh, top-quality ingredients that would otherwise go to waste.
Every day, about 40% of food across the United States goes to waste, according to Feeding the 5000’s website. The vast amount of food waste, which accounts for a quarter of all water used in the country, results in detrimental environmental and climate impacts. The campaign intends to end food waste at all levels, at farms, restaurants, retailers, and homes. Feeding the 5000 will help locals work toward meeting the national goal of halving food waste by 2030, according to a news release.
“Every piece of food that is never eaten represents an item on a growing environmental cheque – and with 40% of food never reaching human mouths and going to waste instead, that’s adding up to a sizeable bill the planet simply cannot afford to pay,” said Carina Millstone, Executive Director of Feedback, said in a statement. “Putting an end to food waste is one of the most straightforward and single greatest step businesses and residents can take to help preserve the environment and conserve precious water. That’s why Feedback is delighted to join together with partners across LA to support the city’s plans to take food waste off the menu, now and in the future.”
Other events on Thursday will include cooking demonstrations, interactive quizzes, and information stalls from a variety of partner organizations. The festival will operate under the hashtags “#offthemenu,” “#zerowasteLA,” “#foodwaste,” and “#f5kUSA” in its pledge to alleviate food waste in Los Angeles.
Other activities during the week include a volunteer event at Alma Backyard Farms on Monday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., where attendees will glean fruits and vegetables for Thursday’s Feeding the 5000 feast. Alma Backyard Farms, based in Compton, was founded in 2013 by Richard D. Garcia and Erika L. Cuellar, inspired by the ideas shared juvenile offenders and prisoners. The formerly incarcerated are reoriented as caretakers of the community through urban farming, food sharing, and horticultural therapy, according to the organization’s website.
On Tuesday, May 2, the public is invited to attend the Disco Chop at the L.A. Kitchen from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event features a food prep and chopping party with knives, a DJ, and possibly disco balls. Fruits and vegetables will be prepared for the feast on Thursday.
Feeding the 5000 will take place as part of the Los Angeles Food Bowl festival, which will span the month of May. Hosted by The Los Angeles Times, the festival will celebrate the city’s flourishing food scene through dining events, panels, collaborations with top chefs, farmers markets, and a night market. Awareness about hunger, food access, sustainability, and waste reduction will also be promoted, according to the Los Angeles Times.