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ThanksGiving Back 2013-2014 - Growing Change: Urban Food Solutions in the Bay Area

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Growing Change: Urban Food Solutions in the Bay Area
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Bay Area, CA
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While some families debate whether to buy organic strawberries from Whole Foods or local strawberries from the farmers market, there are others nearby who have never tasted a fresh strawberry. San Pablo Avenue is a street that runs through West Berkeley down to West Oakland.  While West Berkeley includes Berkeley Bowl, an extensive local grocery store with myriad organic and vegan options, West Oakland is often cited as a textbook example of a food desert. Food deserts are defined by the USDA as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.” How is it possible that access to healthy, nutritious food can be so readily available at one end of a street and nearly impossible to find a short twenty-minute ride away? Why is this community defined as a food desert if there is a full-access grocery store within a half-hour drive? And what can we do to address economic and cultural barriers to nutritious food?c
Our TGB trip examines the intersection between agriculture and urban social justice, using West Oakland and other locations in the Bay Area as examples. We will spend our trip exploring different avenues towards equality in food access across the Bay Area. Some of these potential solutions include community farms, school garden programs, food banks, and other urban food programs. We hope trip participants will be inspired, coming away with a better understanding of the food access challenges that many of our neighbors face, and with a drive to continue pushing for positive change in our own communities.

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