Ecology Center's Farm Box
The Farm Box is a service providing a curated assembly of locally grown produce, available for contactless curbside pick up at the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets. It is led and operated by youth staff (Youth Environmental Academy). Each box is filled with produce grown on small, sustainable farms within a 100 mile radius of Berkeley.
The Farm Box addresses safety and food accessibility challenges in our communities caused by the pandemic, including safe access for those in higher risk categories for COVID and families who may be experiencing financial hardship. It also alleviates some of the pandemic-related challenges experienced by farmers’ market vendors. The produce in every Farm Box can cover many meals in a variety of ways and comes from some of the best farms in Northern California. Additionally, we accept CalFresh (EBT), making Berkeley Farmers’ Market produce more accessible and affordable than ever. Our current goal is to reach 50 Farm Box customers a week.
We’ve also incorporated a fundraising option into our service, allowing members of the public to make donations, which we use to purchase and distribute produce to local organizations working towards mutual goals of healthy food accessibility, nutrition, equity, and youth development.
Additionally, we aim to build upon the success of our recently launched virtual cooking sessions for youth, using Farm Box ingredients. Youth of color and youth from lower income households in Berkeley are disproportionately impacted by diet related illnesses like type 2 diabetes and obesity (Berkeley Health Status Report 2018). Nationwide, the crisis is urgent – 50% of Black and Latinx children born since 2000 will get type 2 diabetes, unless we do something about it (Praxis Project 2020). By providing hands-on experiences with cooking, nutrition, and access to local produce Farm Box provides ingredients and resources to support a healthy diet among all youth in our community.
Funded by Oakland, CA (March 2021)