Oakland Food System Facts

What Do We Know About Oakland’s Food System?

Compiled by OFPC Member, Renee Roy Elias, PhD

PRODUCTION

• City of Oakland has a goal of producing 30% of Oakland’s foods needs from within the city (City of Oakland, Economic and Workforce Development, 2014)
• In 2012, there were 425 farms within Alameda County in 2012, down from 525 in 2007. This represents an overall 14% decrease in agricultural production in Alameda County (U.S. Census of Agriculture, County Profile, 2012)
• $57 million dollars worth of agricultural products sold in Alameda County (U.S. Census of Agriculture, County Profile, 2012)
• City of Oakland Parks and Recreation Department manages 16 community gardens and 23 youth gardening sites within city bounds (City of Oakland, Parks and Recreation Department, 2014)
• 100 school gardens in Oakland established through UC Cooperative Extension and CA Department of Education’s Garden in Every School Program (UC Cooperative Extension Alameda County, School Garden Assessment, 2009)
• Around 20 organizations, academic institutions, and government programs focused on food production in Oakland (McClintock and Cooper, Cultivating the Commons: An Assessment of the Potential for Urban Agriculture on Oakland’s Public Land, 2010)
• 487 potential urban agriculture sites and 800 acres of arable land on publicly owned land within the City of Oakland (McClintock and Cooper, Cultivating the Commons: An Assessment of the Potential for Urban Agriculture on Oakland’s Public Land, 2010)

PROCESSING

• 65 food manufacturing companies within the city of Oakland, which accounts to 16% of Oakland’s manufacturing industry (U.S. Census, Economic Census, 2007)
• 2149 food manufacturing jobs and a combined payroll of $80 million (U.S. Census, Economic Census, 2007)

DISTRIBUTION

• 22.3 million meals (57% of which comprised fresh fruits and vegetables) were distributed to 240 organizations by the Alameda County Food Bank (Alameda County Food Bank, Annual Report, 2013)
• 49,000 children, adults, and seniors are served every week by the Alameda County Community Food Bank (Alameda County Food Bank, Annual Report, 2013)

RETAIL

• 1 supermarket for every 8175 people living the affluent Oakland Hills compared to 1 market per 42,350 people in Oakland’s poorer flatlands (Alameda County Public Health Department, 2010, California Department of Finance)
• 13 farmers markets located within the City of Oakland (USDA, 2011; PolicyMap.Org)
• Between $400-$600 million spent on groceries annually by Oakland flatland residents. $375 million in food retail leakage in Oakland’s flatlands—money spent outside of residents’ immediate neighborhoods (HOPE Collaborative, A Place With No Sidewalks: An Assessment of Food Access, 2009)
• $140 million in grocery retail leakage within the City of Oakland (Social Compact, 2011, HealthyCity.Org)
• Over 4 times as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores compared to grocery stores and produce markets in Alameda County (Alameda County Public Health Department, Life and Death from Unnatural Causes Report, 2008)

FOOD ACCESSIBILITY

• 49% of low-income residents (earning less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level) were unable to afford enough food in Alameda County (California Health Interview Survey, UCLA 2009)
• 53% of Oakland farmers markets accept SNAP (CalFresh) while 62% of Oakland farmers markets accept WIC and Senior Nutrition Checks (USDA 2011, PolicyMap.Org)
• 74% of Alameda County farmers markets accept SNAP, WIC, Senior Nutrition Checks (Alameda County Food Bank, 2010)
• 55% SNAP participation rate among eligible individuals within the State of California- the lowest statewide participation rates in the nation (USDA 2010)
• 51% of Alameda County residents eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program resulting in $182 million in lost benefits and $327 million in lost of potential economic activity (California Food Policy Advocates, Lost Dollars Empty Plates Report, 2014)
• 100% SNAP participation would bring in $72.3 million of nutritional support and an additional $129 million in economic activity countywide (California Food Policy Advocates, Lost Dollars, Empty Plates Report, 2012)
• 68% eligible Oakland residents were enrolled in SNAP in 2008, marking an 8% increase from 2007 but $23 million in unclaimed benefits (Food Research and Action Center, SNAP Access in Urban America, A City-By-City Snapshot, 2010-2011) • In the low-income Oakland “flatlands” southwest of the 580 freeway, residents travel 20-30 minutes to access full service grocery stores (HOPE Collaborative, A Place With No Sidewalks: An Assessment of Food Access, 2009)
• Alameda County ranked 21st in the state Food Stamp enrollment, 54th for the National School Lunch Program, and 52nd for the School Breakfast Program (Alameda County Nutrition and Food Insecurity Profile, 2010)
• 39 non-profits, faith-based organizations and institutions working on food access issues in Oakland (Oakland Food Policy Council, Plan for Action, 2010)

WASTE MANAGEMENT AND RESOURCE RECOVERY

• 17% (54,931 tons) of Oakland’s total waste stream was food waste, making it the most common material in the waste stream (CA Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, 2009)
• 34% (18,797 tons) of waste from single family households and 27% (13,944 tons) of commercial waste were made up of food scraps that could have been diverted to make compost (StopWaste.Org, Alameda County Waste Characterization Study, 2008) • 33,300 tons of residential food waste and yard trimmings from Oakland were diverted from landfills by the Green Cart curbside food waste collection program (City of Oakland Public Works Agency, 2009)
• 38% of Alameda County residents are aware of the availability of commercial composting programs in 2009, compared to 31% in 2007 and 26% in 2004 (StopWaste.Org, Public Attitudes Toward Food Scrap and Curbside Recycling, 2009)

PUBLIC HEALTH

• More than half (55%) of Alameda County residents and a third (35%) of school aged children are overweight or obese in 2011 (Alameda County Department of Public Health, The Health and Economic Impacts of Obesity in Alameda County, 2014)
• Diet related diseases (heart disease and diabetes) are among the 10 leading cases of death in Alameda County in 2010 (Alameda County Department of Public Health, The Health and Economic Impacts of Obesity in Alameda County, 2014)
• Diabetes and metabolic/nutritional disorders were among the 10 most common reasons for hospitalization of children in Alameda County between 2007-2011 (Alameda County Department of Public Health, The Health and Economic Impacts of Obesity in Alameda County, 2014)
• 42% of Oakland children are overweight or obese in 2010 (Overweight and Obesity Among Children By California Cities, UCLA, 2012)
• 36% of children enrolled in the Oakland Unified School District were overweight or obese compared to national average of 27.8% (CA Dept of Education, Fitness Gram, 2008)