San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group Partners With Local Chef Phillip Esteban To Provide Meals To Those In Need

San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group, local award-winning chef – Phillip Esteban – and self-sustaining food recovery non-profit organization, Open Gym, have established Fish to Families, a meal distribution program for the food insecure during the COVID-19 crisis. Having served over 2,400 meals in the first five weeks of the thirteen week program, this pilot project provides healthy, tasty, sustainable seafood to people in need while supporting the local hospitality and fishing industries.

The San Diego Foundation, which inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve quality of life in the region, is supporting the initiative through the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Additionally, NOAA Fisheries and California Sea Grant are providing educational materials to inform San Diegans about local sustainable seafood fisheries.

Nearly A Dozen Fishermen Activated

Heading into week 7 of the program, Fish to Families has activated nearly a dozen local fishermen, including David Haworth, Antonio Estrada, Martin & Jordyn Kastlunger and more. Craft Meals has prepared 2,400+ meals from locally sourced grains and produce and a variety of sustainable seafood provided by the fishermen, including Albacore Tuna, Thresher Shark, Black Cod, Opah and more locally-landed species.

San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group Partners With Chef Phillip Esteban

This program has served food-insecure communities from around the San Diego area, including Downtown homeless outreach programs, Downtown Senior Centers Luther Tower, Good Neighbor Projects in Barrio Logan, among others, with the help of Third Avenue Charitable Organization and I Love to Glean, all while supporting the fishermen and hospitality workers as a whole.

Zero Food Waste

Fish to Families is also instilling the ethos of ZERO Food Waste into the program. Within the process of fabricating the local seafood into meals, Craft Meals has implemented practices to utilize all parts of the fish, with chefs exploring using otherwise discarded fish product to poach and preserve and to serve as ingredients for future meals, such as fish bones and heads which are used for fish stock and soup, respectively. The goal is to utilize the whole fish in creative ways to continue to feed as many people in need.

Strengthening Our Community

Everyone deserves to stay well-fed with fresh, healthy, locally sourced meals, and those without the means – especially during this crisis – are no exception. In addition to helping those in need, Fish to Families supports two industries hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis by sourcing fresh, sustainably caught seafood from local fishermen and providing job stability to hospitality staff. Such local food system connections will continue to generate benefits well beyond the current crisis and will strengthen food security into the future.

San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group Partners With Chef Phillip Esteban

For more information, follow the San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group and Open Gym.

Stay healthy, San Diego!