Food justice means making healthy food available for everyone, independent of their income, skin color, or zip code.
Food Justice Coalition works to increase healthy food access throughout Utah utilizing direct outreach, advocacy, and education on the importance of creating sustainable and intersectional food equality.
Our kitchen is the heart of our operation, we need your help building it.
-Jeanette Padilla Founder/Executive Director
Food Justice Coalition is a volunteer-operated collective championing food sovereignty for all.
Food justice also means supporting people with the tools and resources they need to make the food choices they want. We also understand that to create true food justice; we must address the root cause—wealth inequality. Sustainable solutions for food insecurity must be rooted in creating income equality, providing people with agency to make the food choices that best support them and their families. Our programs focus on direct relief, education, advocacy, and long-term solutions to address the root cause of food insecurity.
Food Justice Coalition is focused on increasing healthy food access throughout Utah by creating fresh, nutritionally-dense, plant-based, meals to benefit food-insecure families and people experiencing homelessness.
Food Justice was formed in December of 2020 when our founder decided to create a Christmas dinner for 200 people experiencing homelessness. Five days before Christmas, a fundraiser was launched to raise $400. The community came together to give over $4,000 in 48 hours. A plant-based menu was created, tables, chairs, place setting and linens were rented, a Christmas tree was erected, and Christmas stockings were filled with gifts and hand-written cards.
On a frigid Christmas afternoon, dozens of volunteers gathered to set up tables, chairs, linens, place settings, and festive decor over a decommissioned railroad track beneath a freeway overpass known as Camp Last Hope. It began to snow as we served Christmas dinner to 200+ unhoused individuals and their pets. Our unhoused neighbors filled their bellies and felt the warmth of the community wrap their arms around them in support.
After the Christmas dinner, we had ample leftover funds. We kept making plant-based meals and distributing them directly to folks experiencing homelessness. The community recognized the need for this work and kept donating funds, so we kept providing food. Nearly a year later, we applied for non-profit status, and Food Justice Coalition became an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Since our inception in December 2020, we have created and served over 35,000 meals to people experiencing food insecurity in Salt Lake County. Along with direct outreach, Food Justice Coalition focuses on advocacy and education by engaging with local businesses, organizations, and universities on the importance of creating sustainable and intersectional food equality.
Justice in food means making healthy food available for everyone independent of their income, skin color, or zip code. Food justice also means supporting people with the tools and resources they need to make the food choices they want. An often excluded but integral part of creating real food justice is addressing income disparities. Sustainable solutions to food insecurity must be rooted in creating income equality which provides people with agency to make the food choices that best support them and their families.
Meals served to date
Volunteers to date
How we help our community
We have three programs to make sure that every individual has access to nutritionally dense, plant-based meals.
This program teaches K-12 students food access, food security, and healthy eating. We aim to give students culturally responsive and age-appropriate experiential learning initiatives that provide them with an opportunity to discover new foods, learn about agriculture and food science, while making the connection between nutritious food and social-emotional health.
Our free lunch program helps support our community with fresh, healthy, prepared meals. With rising food costs, this program aims to support people most impacted by food insecurity. Meals are offered to the general public at zero cost to the recipient.
We provide fresh, nutrient-dense, plant-based meals to people experiencing food insecurity. We work with local farmers and restaurants to take surplus/donated food and turn it into beautiful meals. Our amazing volunteers distribute the meals directly to folks experiencing homelessness and to families experiencing food insecurity.
How a member of the Utah Homelessness Council upended a feed-the-hungry program
Providing prepared food rather than shelf stable pantry basics “solve[s] a lot of issues for families and students who are really short on time and can’t eat nutrient dense food because of budget.” Padilla said. “They don’t have time to prepare their meals into something healthy.”
FJC's Jeanette Padilla talks on RADIOACTIVE
'Tis the season for an attitude of gratitude. Roundtable Tuesday convenes a panel to talk about food insecurity and community resources, featuring Utahns Against Hunger, Salt Lake Community Fridges and the Food Justice Coalition. Plus, Eugene Tapahe's Jingle Dress Project.