LA Times Food Bowl: Los Angeles River giveback?

la-river-Anna-Gelb
(Courtesy LA Times Food Bowl)

As I looked through the offerings for the first LA Times Food Bowl, post Jonathan Gold, I found this:

In 2007, LA unveiled a plan to revitalize the river and restore the watershed as a place for Angelenos to gather and connect. Event participants will see the results and learn how the plan has progressed from this experience, featuring chefs from the LA area. Chefs Neal Fraser (Redbird), Austin Cobb (The Strand House) and Zach Pollack (Alimento and Cosa Buona) will help create the meal in this celebration of the river’s revival. A four-course, family-style, long-table dinner is preceded by a cocktail hour. And a portion of the proceeds will benefit River LA.

The price seems outrageous to me — $265 — especially as the event’s listing is in the “giveback” category. Although I couldn’t find a definition for this category on the website, I suppose it broadly means giving back to the community.

Other givebacks include the Santa Monica Farmers Markets visit, billed as an education of how to shop seasonally, based on CalFresh, the state program that provides food assistance to low-income Californians. This tour includes partner Hunger Action Los Angeles that “can connect people to food resources and provide information on how to help combat food insecurity in your community.” The event is free.

That same day — May 1 — includes another giveback titled The Immigrant Dinners, in which “an immigrant friend of the restaurant will share his or her family recipes.” The website doesn’t mention a price for this event.

A few days later, there’s another free farmers market event at the Crenshaw Farmers’ Market that again explores CalFresh and includes “SEE-LA farmers markets will host art projects on the same day that the Department of Public Social Services will be on-site to sign up eligible participants for CalFresh Awareness Month.”

And in the Pasadena area, there’s a giveaway event beginning May 6 entitled Pasadena Restaurant Week. Costs vary by restaurant, according to the website, but apparently part of the fee ” will be providing financial support for public high school student internships with a Pasadena-based non-profit dedicated to commercial food waste.”

Other givebacks include:

— Taste of the Nation for no Kid Hungry. Price $115.

— The Pie Hole Wheel of Pie-zes. Price $1.

— Kirby Street Project. Price $175.

— Chefs Timothy Hollingsworth and Charles Michel from Netflix’s “The Final Table.” Price $85 without wine.

— Urban Gardening and the Future of Scones. Price: $30.

— Fundraising Dinner with Chor-Man. $55.

So, you get the point — some of these events are for charitable causes and some, such as the Weekend of Prosciutto di Parma ($50), seem based more on public relations, I mean, awareness.

Question: If I do pony up for the $265, will my money go to awareness about a fishable river? I participated in 2016 Friends of the LA River’s lower river fish study and wonder when the upper river study will be completed.

Will my money go toward asking Congress when the billion-plus dollars to restore the habitat of more than 10 miles of the river will be forthcoming?

Or will my money go toward connecting the LA River to the home of steelhead trout in the San Gabriel Mountains?

What I find on the River LA website is a picture of Gov. Gavin Newsom with Supervisor Hilda Solis and “world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.” What’s missing is an image of restored nature I crave in the middle of Los Angeles, the solitude of throwing a fly line toward rising carp, the simple tranquility that is the birthright of urban kids who grow up near its banks.

As Mayor Eric Garcetti recently wrote in a letter imploring Congress to act on the funded promised for the Los Angeles Ecological Restoration Project, ‘“The L.A. River is a national treasure running through the heart of our city — and a destination where Angelenos and visitors alike can interact with nature and connect our storied history with a more sustainable future.” 

Think carefully before spending your money and see you on the river, Jim Burns

Where: The Los Angeles River (Location reveal when you sign up)
When: Tuesday, May 28, 4-9 p.m.
Cost: $265

 

2 thoughts on “LA Times Food Bowl: Los Angeles River giveback?”

  1. Seems there are more direct ways to give to the river. I want to know how much of my
    $265 goes to directly help the river and in what aspect.

    1. I wonder as well, Jane. Some of these events are inexpensive, so it really doesn’t matter, but I’d like to know how much goes and the nonprofit and how they will spend it.

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