Making the Jump From Food Deserts to Farm-to-Table

A new documentary about taking kids 'from fast food to slow food' is raising funds on Kickstarter.

Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

There’s no starker way to illustrate the class divide in Los Angeles then to look at food resources. Every Sunday morning in Hollywood, blocks of city streets are closed to traffic, making way for booths selling the goods of farmers and ranchers and fishmongers from throughout California. The Hollywood Farmers’ Market, and the chefs who cook with food purchased there, show the health-conscious, kale- and pressed-juice-obsessed side of the city.

Neighborhoods in the South L.A., where the corner liquor store and fast-food restaurants are the primary sources of sustinance, sufer from a dearth of good food as overwhelming at the bounty of the market in Hollywood. The Sustainable Life Project, the subject of a in-progress documentary that’s currently raising funds on Kickstarter, tries to connect the youth of those food deserts with the food culture of the farm-to-table restaurants in other parts other city—and to turn the experience of interacting with the kind of food system they were never afforded into jobs.

Farm to Fork, directed by Matthew Arnold, follows a group of kids through the three-month culinary education program offered through The Sustainable Life Project, which was started by the restaurant group Tender Greens. The curriculum not only provides on-the-job training in the restaurant business, but also connects the kids with the sources of their food through trips to visit farmers and others who make the things we eat (which entails, in part, visiting a goat ranch).

With 120 hours of footage already shot, the Farm to Fork crew is looking to raise money to finish the film, which would include not only shoot interviews with food experts, but continuing to follow the kids as they embark on their culinary careers following the internship program. Having just watched a 4:28 clip about Farm to Fork, I already want to know what happens to these graduates of the Sustainable Life Project.

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