Urban Farmstand

Posted on February 1, 2010 – 10:00 AM | by OldManFoster
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By Niki Kangas

The Urban Farmstand Project began In 2006 in response to a meaningful shift in one Sacramento neighborhood’s commercial landscape: the Albertson’s  at 22nd and F closed and gave way to a Rite Aid. Suddenly, there was nowhere within walking distance of Alkali Flat to obtain fresh produce.  Alkali Flat, like many neighborhoods, is peppered with liquor and junk food stuffed convenience marts, but no grocery stores, let alone a bustling farmers’ market.  Without a car, many in the community had limited access to nutritious staples for their families.

Enter Alchemist Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization of one. Davida Douglas, a dedicated neighborhood empowerment activist, teamed with neighborhood associations to gather feedback which led to her finding that the lack of access to healthy food was a real problem in low-income areas. With the financial backing of numerous agencies including the California Wellness Foundation, as well as volunteer support provided by the communities to which the project caters, Alchemist CDC was able to launch Urban Farmstand in Alkali Flat, a model that is now being replicated in Oak Park as well as Del Paso Heights.

The fact that volunteers provide the labor to man the tables at the event is integral to the success of the project, as well as the fact that a non-profit can swallow the loss associated with the sale of perishable goods, being funded by grants and all… so you won’t get to shake hands with your local tomato grower but you will get to purchase farm fresh produce at an affordable price from a participant in the youth leadership development program.

Urban Farmstand came to Oak Park in 2009 and takes place at McClatchy Park (at the corner of 34th St. and 5th Ave) on Saturdays from 10AM-2PM.  In addition to providing the neighborhood with youth opportunity, inexpensive and healthy food, bicycle safety and maintenance education, and a venue for local artists and musicians, Urban Farmstand is now accepting EBT, or food stamps!

Look for more information on the 2010 season at http://www.urbanfarmstand.org.

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