Food Waste, Accessibility, and the Relationship with Agriculture

DATE : Wednesday, June 23, 6:00 PM

Join us in addressing the issues of food waste, food accessibility and the relationship to agriculture in this important and educational event. Panelists will include LA Food Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Flood, Secretary of the California Department of Food & Agriculture Karen Ross, Jamiah E. Hargins from Crop Swap L.A., and chef & owner of Socalo and Border Grill restaurants, Mary Sue Milliken. Hosted by L.A. Times Staff Writer, Jeanette Marantos.


Karen Ross (Secretary of California Department of Food & Agriculture)

Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 9, 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom. In re-appointing Secretary Ross, Governor Newsom cited her unmatched leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California, in areas including environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, and trade.


Michael Flood (LA Food Bank President and Chief Executive Officer)

Michael Flood has served as the Chief Executive of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank since 2000. During his tenure, the Food Bank has started new programs to increase food distribution and launched new nutrition and public policy initiatives. A Los Angeles native, Michael has been in food banking since 1990 working previously for the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.


Jamiah E. Hargins (Crop Swap LA)

Jamiah E. Hargins is the founder of Crop Swap LA, which is determined to grow food on unused spaces, creating green jobs, independent economies, and nutrient-dense food. He recently opened the world’s first water-recycling front yard garden, which uses just 8% of the water previously used for grass to grow over 600 plants for 35 families, recycling hundreds of gallons of water. His innovative business and design models gained the attention of LA City officials looking for sustainability solutions around water, food, and economic sustainability, and he was named a Good Food Champion in 2019.

Mary Sue Milliken (Chef & Owner: Border Grill, Socalo)

Mary Sue Milliken is best known for Border Grill restaurants, trucks, and catering, which she runs with her business partner of more than 35 years, Susan Feniger. Milliken and Feniger brought their innovative approaches to The Food Network with the “Too Hot Tamales” and “Tamales World Tour” series, along with the Los Angeles’ popular food-centric radio show, KCRW’s “Good Food.” In 2011, Milliken competed on season three of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and won $40,000 for her chosen charity, Share Our Strength. She has also co-authored five cookbooks. Milliken leads with a staff- and community-forward approach with sustainability at its core. She has also witnessed the industry catch up to Border Grill in offering accessible, seasonal, ethnic cuisine, and empowering women to join the male-dominated realm of professional cooking.