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In ‘Food Deserts’ Of USA, A Restaurant Chain Is Battling The Toxic Fast Food Fever

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As you scurry through your busy weekday juggling a diverse range of responsibilities, you find little time to offer yourself a balanced plate of nutrition. And when an endless variety of junk food is available at a bargain, who would opt for pricey organic leafy greens, boiled legumes or exotic fruits?


The ‘food deserts’ of USA

Healthy food – the term itself has turned into quite an oxymoron in the USA, the uncontested hub of fast food. At the same time, USA reports one of the highest occurrences of obesity and related health conditions. Comfort and convenience win over nutritional value as parents continue to expose their children to junk food from a very tender age. Eating vegetables is quite a cumbersome ritual in most homes. This practice has led to the growth of ‘food deserts’ in urban settlements across the USA, which are basically low-income areas devoid of all options to find healthy food. 

Everytable
Chefs at work at an Everytable outlet

How ‘Everytable’ is addressing the crisis

However, lately, there has been a surge in inclination towards healthy food. Conscious individuals are urging the community to switch to healthier dietary habits. But, the unaffordability of healthy food remains a major roadblock. That is where ‘Everytable’ comes in. Based in the tinsel town of Los Angeles, this ‘revolutionary restaurant’ serves uniquely crafted healthy meals, at the low price rates of unhealthy fries, nuggets, burgers or soda. In fact, Everytable offers two separate price ranges depending upon the neighbourhood, with special discounted rates for ‘food deserts’ in less privileged communities. The ‘made-from-scratch meals’, as they describe in their website, aim to dissolve the food deserts in South LA where the restaurant chain has expanded its branches.

Everytable
School students opting for healthy lunches from Everytable

How Everytable started to reach every table in LA

Everytable founder Sam Polk had earlier started the healthy food venture ‘Feast’ in 2013, to combat the nutritional crisis in South Los Angeles. It is a relatively less affluent zone dotted with food deserts, far from the glitz and luxury of the LA we see in movies. Polk’s non-profit ‘Feast’ organised healthy-cooking workshops and conducted nutrition awareness sessions among the citizens. Their primary aim to target the alarming rates of obesity and diabetes in these regions.

However, soon, the founders discovered that even after all these, people had little choice but to buy junk food on the go. Healthy eateries were scarce among the thriving fast food joints that outlined the deprived territory.

Everytable
Everything at Everytable is farm-fresh

Later, in 2015, Sam and his colleague David Foster launched their own healthy food restaurant Everytable. Their business model was aligned with that of McDonald’s, which had once brought an unwelcome revolution on America’s eating habits. Everytable stood out among all their fast-food counterparts only because of their unbelievable prices for chef-crafted wholesome, healthy meals.  

Everytable
Good food on the go

Since the menu is dependent on fresh farm produce, the meals are vibrant and vary with seasons. In addition, the restaurant also features a special menu for the kids. They can look over the heaps of french fries, pizza and burgers to dig into turkey-quinoa meatballs & spaghetti, barbecued chicken salad or superfood cookies.

Everytable
The healthy cookies

Everytable found an investor in Elon Musk’s brother

At the Everytable outlets across South LA, the price ranges vary within $5 to $8. Chefs harness the fresh, local produce for curating steaming bowls of delicacy that don’t spike the blood glucose or cholesterol levels. Their grab-and-go storefronts have been set up tactically in food deserts where the prices never go beyond $5. At more affluent areas, the dishes may cost higher, but the maximum price is capped at $8. All the leftover food is distributed for free among the homeless every day. Talking to Business Insider, Polk said, “Stores in food deserts are self-sustaining, while stores in more affluent areas help us grow.”

Everytable
The menu varies with the seasons

The idea of Everytable is definitely a laudable concept and has not taken much time to attract heavyweight investors including Acumen, Chipotle and Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk.

At a concerning time when urban areas in India are catching up rampantly with fast food fever, such a concept might seem a far cry. But this model, if conceptualised here, can solve India’s food distribution discrepancy, where one section of the population is starving whereas the other is being saturated with unhealthy food. 


Also Read: ‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

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Out of 1,00,00,000

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but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

94,06,607 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
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- Mother Theresa Quote
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