Zuri Thompson is a woman who wears many hats. Under the brim of today’s hat, she is a food rescuer through an organization she created called Pearly Peas. Her mission is to use this organization to improve food access to populations with limited availability for fresh produce in Chicago.
She began this journey eight years ago while running a farmer’s market through the non-profit Quad Community Development Corporation; an economic development agency ultimately led her to food rescue. Working in the food industry she saw how seniors would come to the market for fresh vegetables religiously, and became concerned what would happen to their supply when the markets ended for the season.
Currently her office is based at Partners In Community Building in Bronzeville, but the reach of her dedication flows all over Cook County in food insecure areas. She picks up donations of fresh salad greens from Metropolitan Farms and other farms and restaurants in the city that have surplus they’d like to see go to helping feed the underserved. Collaborating with South Loop Campus Ministry and the UIC Campus Collective, she prepares dinner for 70 people, including seniors, every Sunday night in the Loop at Grace Place.
The prepared meals are different every week depending on the donations offered. Last week, Zuri made a delicious chicken baked rice with stir-fry veggies alongside a fresh salad and assorted desserts. Each Sunday after everyone has a plate, everyone present sits down to enjoy a loving meal together, connecting and closing a loop of sustainable agriculture. Metropolitan Farms is grateful to be able to donate our surplus to such a devoted food rescue superhero such as Zuri Thompson, a community cultivator and advocate for food access for everyone.
You can learn more at Partners In Community Building’s website: picbchicago.org. Look under the senior services tab and find Zuri’s brainchild, Pearly Peas. If you’d like to volunteer, there are needed positions for social media, pick up and delivery, presentations, and more. Email Zuri Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.