LA’s Troubling Distinction: From 1909 to 1949, Los Angeles County produced more food than any other county in the nation. Now, LA leads the nation in having more food-insecure people than any other county in the US – nearly 1.5 million. LA also boasts the largest population of food-insecure children: nearly 600,000, or 1 in 4.
In this same region, there are more than 6000 religious congregations – many of which own land – whose founding texts obligate them both to take care of the underserved in their midst and to be stewards of the lands that sustain them. That unused land – which cumulatively constitutes thousands of acres in LA – could be used for urban food production.
Netiya is LA’s food & faith organization that brings those two things together through our mission:
With knowledge, tools, and inspiration, Netiya empowers people to grow food on faith-based lands in LA. Rooted in ancient traditions of land stewardship and earth-based wisdom, together we plant – growing food to mitigate hunger and to nourish the spirit.
Netiya engages people in LA’s faith centers to grow food for and with people in their communities so that a greater number of Angelenos have the access and the skills needed to advance stewardship, equity, health, and resilience. Netiya reframes the tenet of tithing to foster institutional-scale repair of the food system while mitigating food insecurity.
- To increase access to healthy food for all Angelenos, by growing food at L.A.’s faith institutions – particularly in underserved neighborhoods.
- To educate and inspire people in sustainable urban agriculture by increasing access to land, water, and skills to grow food at LA’s faith institutions.
- To reframe tithing by encouraging 10% of L.A.’s faith-based institutions to “green” their charitable food relief models and repurpose 10% of their underused lands to grow food.
Since 2011, Netiya has been advancing sustainable urban land use in LA by converting congregational land from water-intensive, crabgrass lawns into sites producing fresh food. Netiya has installed 32 food gardens at faith-based institutions and given 10 LA congregations microgrants to catalyze food production, and by the end of 2017, will have installed 22 food gardens and distributed 20 matching microgrants.