Top Ten Los Angeles Locals Creating Change

The past year has drastically changed how we live. Instead of focusing on the present situation, these ten companies devote their efforts to the future of our world. They serve as a light for us and for what is to come. Together, they are creating a huge impact on the Los Angeles community and the world: Some focus on sustainability and eliminating waste to combat climate change and others focus on nourishing the community to overcome food insecurity and homelessness.

All of these organizations are unique in their own way, but what unites them is the passion and motivation to implement change and make a difference in our world. 

Reformation

Did you know that creating a single pair of jeans requires about 2,866 gallons of water? The textile and fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Reformation is determined to change this.

Reformation is an eco-conscious clothing company for women that is committed to using sustainable materials and conserving water while still creating remarkable clothes. They made Los Angeles’s first sustainable sewing factory and in 2020, they saved 1.5 billion gallons of water and 229 metric tons of waste.

Photo: Reformation on Facebook

Sustain LA

S-U-S-T-A-I-N: to provide with nourishment, to keep going. In 2009, Leslie VanKeuren Campbell launched Sustain LA with the intention of “disrupting the concept of convenience” by promoting a zero waste lifestyle and mindset. Sustain LA created Los Angeles’s first Refill Station, a shop designed for refilling soap, shampoo and other hygiene products to reduce plastic and waste. Customers bring refillable containers and have access to a plethora of different products or have the option to ‘DIY’ and create their own soap or shampoo. Additionally, the Refill Station serves as a sustainable event space available for rental. Sustain LA is challenging the Los Angeles community to ponder the disconnect between convenience and disposables and the impact converting to a zero waste lifestyle can have on the world.

Photo: Sustain LA on Facebook

 Mama Hanh’s Face Masks

Mama Hanh came to the U.S. when she was 33 and attended college in Orange County to become a teacher. After teaching kindergarten and first grade for nearly 25 years, she retired due to COVID-19. Mama Hahn decided to use her sewing skills to design masks to sell in the Los Angeles community. She originally picked up sewing during the Vietnam War as a means to support her family. For every mask sold, Mama Hanh donates one to a person experiencing homelessness through community organizations and shelters. Her small business also collects donations to create hygiene kits for the homeless. Her mask designs range from princesses, to Star Wars, to sequins- she even takes custom orders! Mama Hanh is impacting the greater Los Angeles community with literally the touch of her hands!

Photo: Mama Hanh’s Masks on Facebook

FoodCycle LA

What does community mean? For Food Cycle LA, community means working together to create an impact. Food Cycle LA recovers food from households and restaurants that would otherwise be thrown away and uses it to feed people who need it most. Over 1 million people in Los Angeles are food insecure, this is an alarming number of people without knowing where their next meal will come from. As a solution, Food Cycle LA’s sustainable approach helps fill people instead of landfills and in the past year, they have kept 400,000 pounds of food from going to landfills! Food Cycle LA is working to combat climate change, eliminate hunger, and create a community that physically and spiritually nourishes the people of Los Angeles. 

Photo: FoodCycle LA on Facebook

ALT Linen

U.S. homes use more than half the world’s paper towels each year. Paper towels require gallons of water, chemicals and energy to produce, making it one of the leading contributors to climate change. ALT Linen is saying ‘control, ALT, delete’ to paper towels by replacing them with cotton linens, made with zero waste. The company sells washable cotton linens that are replaced for free if stained and then upcycled as cleaning towels for restaurants. 24 million trees could be saved if every American household used one less roll of paper towels each week. Make the switch and take their ‘Paper Towel Challenge’ today!

Photo: ALT Linen on Facebook

LA Compost

Almost 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted, which causes severe environmental damage. Composting is a way to transform food waste into rich soil. Michael Martinez founded LA Compost to create a composting community to “connect the people of LA to the soil and each other.” In 2020, LA Compost diverted over 700,000 pounds of organic food waste from landfills. LA Compost is bringing the people of LA together through community and composting, while simultaneously implementing sustainable change in the world.

Photo: LA Compost on Facebook

Thirst Project

At only 19, founder of the Thirst Project, Seth Maxwell, asked himself, “What can one person really do?” Ten years later, Seth and his team have raised over $10 Million and funded projects to provide over 400,000 people with safe, clean water. Although founded in Los Angeles, the Thirst Project travels the country educating middle schools, high schools, and college campuses about the lack of access to clean and sanitary water, the #1 global killer of children. Check out their projects in Uganda, Kenya and El Salvador and learn how you can take action today. 

Photo: Thirst Project on Facebook

Food Forward

In 2009, Rick Nahmais started Food Forward with the hopes of harvesting fresh and local fruits and vegetables to reduce food waste and to share the bounty with hunger relief agencies. Their first harvest yielded 800+ pounds of fresh produce with 100 percent donated to SOVA’s food pantry in Los Angeles. Since then, Rick has recruited over 4,000 volunteers to help harvest the produce and donate to organizations like SOVA. The volunteers of Food Forward come together to build community. In a recent blog post Rick reflected on what it is like to harvest: “After a half-day of clipping your way around a tree, covered in mandarin juice and pulp, boot treads full of citrusy muck and mulch, you can’t help but feel satisfied. You are physically drained, but also spiritually connected from helping to rescue thousands of these tangy orbs, knowing they would be enjoyed by people struggling to make ends meet.” So far, Food Forward has fed over 2 million people.

Photo: Food Forward on Facebook

PATTERN

Pattern is a black-centered hair product company that celebrates and empowers authentic beauty. Founder Tracee Ellis Ross said: “When I hear the word pattern, I think of the unique dance and song that lives in all of our hair. I think of the power it takes to wear your hair in its natural glory.” Ross founded Pattern “to make a line of products that gave my hair the support it needed to be its true self.” Pattern also empowers and supports women and Black communities by donating to organizations like Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative and Black Lives Matter. Being involved, donating and supporting these organizations is a part of the Pattern’s vision to make a difference. 

Photo: PATTERN on Facebook

Farm 2 People LA

Farm2People LA works with local farmers to support underserved communities and local food growers in Los Angeles. Farm2People is connecting farmers, who are using ethical and sustainable practices, to local food providers to establish a ‘community-driven food network.’ Farm2People serves organically grown and fresh produce from these local farmers to communities in Los Angeles who need it most. They are sharing the bounty and making an impact while doing it!

Photo: Farm 2 People on Facebook
Written by Ellie Howard
Featured Photo: PATTERN on Facebook
Read Next: Fashion’s Inevitability to Change

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