Complete Guide to This Week’s Inaugural Long Beach Food Summit, Exploring All Things Gastronomical

Above: Farm Lot 59’s farming operation in Long Beach.

Food is important—it’s really that simple. Food is sustenance, community, and a form of connection. Food brings people together and, sadly, has become political by way of food deserts and limited accessibility; food is inherently connected to the ideas behind livability and new urbanism.

Of course, food isn’t always so dire; it can and does have the wonderful power to alter communities. Places like Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland, The Nest in Bellflower, Guelagetza in K-Town, Robert Earl’s BBQ in North Long Beach… These places have permitted food to act as a connector for their communities and with it, strengthened the backbone of small business and families.

And it is under this context as to why two Long Beach lovers—Tony Damico and Ryan Smolar of Long Beach Fresh—have decided to tackle food from all its angles, both gastronomical and political, for their inaugural food summit, Foodways, taking place this week beginning on May 23.

Here’s the breakdown for this week’s events. Descriptions courtesy of Long Beach Fresh.


Wednesday, May 23 at 6PM: Opening Mixer: Women of Food

Celebrating the Women Entrepreneurs of Local Food with storytelling, resource-sharing and support.

Meet and greet with women innovators in local food, including the owners ofWide Eyes Open Palms, Rainbow Juices, Restauration, Gemmae Bake Shop, A Good Carrot and more.

Ticket includes bites from Lola’s, as well as desserts from amazing local women food businesses.


5pm, Friday, May 25th: DTLB Taste & Walk

This “Taste the Block” walk and taste event, hosted by We Are The Next, is an opportunity to “talk the block” in Downtown Long Beach, sampling tastes from local food entrepreneurs, hearing their stories and missions in creating good food businesses.

Expect local snacks, sweets, and beverages that are ethically sourced and locally crafted.

Ticket price includes tastes/activities including fresh mozzarella tasting at Michael’s Pizzeria, coffee experiencing at Recreational Coffee, beer tasting at Beachwood Blendery, and a group tour / discussion experience that will give lots of insights into local food economies.


Saturday, May 26 at 11AM: Agrihood: North Long Beach Double Decker Bus Garden Tour

Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage! This whistle-stop tour of North Long Beach’s homegrown food community will involve visiting both public and secret gardens and farms all tucked into the neighborhood.

We’re planning enticing tastes along the way from local food makers, including Gusto Bread, “Chef T” Visoth Ouk, Healing in Heels, and Califarmer. Sites to be visited include Long Beach Organic’s South 40 garden, Organic Harvest Gardens, D9 Victory GardenDominguez Elementary School Garden, Moonwater Farms and more. The tour will also include talks with community groups like Long Beach Grocery Cooperative and the Community Table.


Monday, May 28 at 3PM: Memorial Day BBQ

On Memorial Day, Foodways is hosting a pop-up BBQ with Shady Grove Foods.

They’ll be serving up BBQ classics like smoked ribs, Santa Maria-style tri-tip, and Polish kielbasa with local veggies, live music, and a casual atmosphere in a private location in Long Beach’s historic Willmore City / Drake Park neighborhood. Ticket purchase covers your plate cost.


Tuesday, May 29 at 5:30PM: Wasted!

Robert Egger of The LA Kitchen will host a panel discussion of local experts focused on maximizing our opportunities to end hunger, reduce waste, and propel food access forward!

Panelists include:

Jackie Fuller, Harbor Area Farmers Markets
Allison Slay, Director of Harvest Partners LB of City Heart
Patti Larson, Executive Director of Food Finders
Larry Rich, City of Long Beach Office of Sustainability
Alison Spindler, City of Long Beach Development Services
Chef Paul Buchanan, Primal Alchemy Kitchen


Wednesday, May 30 at 6PM: Transforming School Food

Lets talk lunch! Learn about school food history and possibility with a panel that includes LBUSD Nutrition Services, LA Food Policy Council, Food Finders, Marketlovr, GroundEducation, Chef Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy Catering.

We’ll discuss how we can improve nutrition and food awareness for local kids from kinder through high school in our city. Healthy snacks will be provided for attendees, and all ages are welcome.

Thursday, May 31 at 6PM: Closing Reception at The Hangout

We’re excited to offer tastings from some of Long Beach’s most exciting food innovators such as Do Good Donuts, Chef T, and much more to be announced, at Retro Row’s new indoor/outdoor event space and store, The Hangout.

We’ll also showcase few emerging projects that could change the landscape of our local food culture and improve food access in Long Beach, such as the Healthy Market Partnership.

These change-makers will mix with foodies, activists, and some of the best regional food media as we point toward pathways forward in our regional good food movement, ensuring that our local food communities get the attention they deserve!

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.