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A Parting Message from Former Executive Director, Dana Rizer

When I stepped into our first FEAST (then Groceryships) Group over seven years ago, I knew something very special was taking place. Groceryships’ founder, Sam Polk, sat in a circle with ten women. Despite their seemingly different backgrounds and even different languages, a bond had clearly formed around the common language of food, and the shared desire to create a healthier life for themselves and their families.

Over the years, thanks to the support of so many, our team has grown and expanded, and our impact has broadened and deepened. From our first ten families served in South LA in 2014, we have impacted more than 14,000 individuals across seven different states, provided the equivalent of over 30,000 nutritious meals in 2021 alone, created new program models to serve families throughout the lifecycle from children to seniors, and successfully expanded our core wellness programs into a virtual format.

As I transition from my role as Executive Director this week, and eventually join my colleagues as a member of FEAST’s Board of Directors, I am humbled by the successes we have achieved thanks to your support.

I am also exhilarated to recognize that our growth to date is only the beginning. As we celebrate the arrival of FEAST’s incredible new leader, Ave Lambert, FEAST is poised to make an even greater impact in the months and years ahead.

Ave combines their background in global leadership and food systems sustainability, with a wealth of experiences as a professional chef, farmer and food policy advocate. Their passion for, and commitment to food justice and equity will be a driving force to move FEAST’s mission forward.

As this new year, and this exciting new chapter begins, we look forward to continuing to work together to advance health equity and increase wellness through the power of healthy food and human connection.

Welcome, Ave. And thank you, all, for continuing to be a valued member of our FEAST family of supporters.

Sincerely,

Dana Rizer
FEAST Senior Advisor,
Food Enthusiast

A Letter from FEAST's New Executive Director, Ave Lambert

Born in Woodland Hills, I grew up in Yolo county, sitting on my Dad’s lap driving the tractor, harvesting the abundant California bounty. Food was always central for our family, even when money was tight. As I began to feed people myself, I felt the magic, extending beyond mere nourishment. Food was medicine, and care, and love.

Seeing who had access to this human right, and who did not, I became devoted to changing our systems in a real way. The antidote to suffering is flourishing, and the antidotes to food insecurity and poverty are sovereignty and justice. Everyone deserves this vital magic-health and wellness-in their lives.

This pandemic has taught us valuable lessons: exposing a failing food system and unmasking systems of oppression. We’ve all been through so much these past two years; many of us have lost loved ones and livelihoods. Seeing the FEAST community grow stronger confirmed our deepest beliefs; that together we are resilient. And that the human heart, rooted in interconnectedness, mutual-aid, and equity, is the strongest tool we have to create solutions for the future.

Food is the medicine for our bodies; belonging, the salve for our souls. We can change the world for the better, and deepening our impact at FEAST is how we’ll play our part.. Through community-driven initiatives that empower agency for health and wellness, we create resilient communities and a more equitable society.

I’m humbled and grateful to stand on Dana’s shoulders and join FEAST at such an exciting time.
Walking up to the Mercado de Paloma, I immediately felt at home. As a seventh generation Californian, I have always deeply loved and been committed to serving its people.

As we enter a new year, 2022, we step into the new paradigm we've been waiting for, and we call in a future of equity and abundance. We commit to this through the power of food and human connection. We refuse to wait to create the world we want. And we commit to doing it together.

Will you join me?

We know the future is joy, interconnectedness and abundance; we know the future is FEAST!

In community,

Ave Lambert
FEAST Executive Director

Through Food, Education, Access and Support,

Together We Can Create A More Nourishing Life.