Tony Damico

Professor and Community Activist, Long Beach Fresh

As a dedicated college professor and community activist, Tony Damico is keenly aware of the issues that many Long Beach residents face. These issues include poverty, food insecurity, and pollution. Driven by wanting to find a solution, Tony became a founder of Long Beach Fresh in order to bring together the different elements of the food justice movement in Long Beach. Tony explains, “We started by trying to convene folks who wanted to create change in the local food system. We reached deep into Central and West Long Beach and sought to change local policies that can be a hindrance to equitable food production and consumption by bringing together diverse stakeholders including local businesses, residents, and urban farmers.”

Tony joined Don’t Waste Long Beach after drawing the connection between Long Beach’s waste management system and its broader implications on the environment and food production. “For me, I find it compelling that Long Beach sees itself as being a progressive city, but to me that sentiment provokes thinking around all of the ways the city is falling behind when you compare it to other cities in the U.S. that are ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability and equity. I think that through this effort we have an opportunity to change this. As a Long Beach resident, it is absurd to me that we don’t have compost collection and that in the commercial sector, haulers have to sort through large mixed bins to find recyclable materials and there are not many measures to ensure that those are quality jobs.”

Another issue that Tony points to is that even if Long Beach residents want to recycle any materials or compost their food scraps, having access to these services is a challenge. He says “It should not be this difficult to have to recycle or compost our waste. Transforming our waste and recycling system will help to put Long Beach on track to increase recycling and make our communities better places to live for generations to come.”