Last Saturday, I volunteered at the North Oakland farmers’ market with an organization called Phat Beets Produce. Phat Beets Produce is a food justice collective that was started in 2007 as a means to “close the gap between small farmers of color that lack market outlets and urban communities that lack access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food.”[i] One way in which they work to achieve this goal is through the distribution of community supported agriculture (CSA) boxes, called “Beet Boxes.”
The Beet Box contains pesticide-free and/or organic fruits and vegetables contributed by small farmers. The Beet Box not only helps under-supported farmers market their products, but also supports those in Oakland who are suffering from diet-related diseases.[ii] For each Beet Box purchased, a $2 coupon is given to doctors in community clinics to distribute to their patients. The voucher can be used at three farmers’ markets in North Oakland, one of which is located right outside of the North Oakland Children’s Hospital.2
Each Beet Box costs $24 and includes 11 to 14 items of seasonal produce, along with a newsletter that shares healthy recipes and nutritional information. A “half share” box is also available for $14, as well as a fruit only box. People who subscribe to the boxes can pick them up on the weekend at any of six locations in the Oakland area. In addition, those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) can use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to purchase a Beet Box.1 To sign up and/or find out more about the Beet Box, visithttp://www.phatbeetsproduce.org/order-a-beet-box/.
[i] “Phat Beets Produce | Food Justice.” Phat Beets Produce. Web. .
[ii] Tian, Ye. “Phat Beets Produce Launches the Beet Box CSA Program.” Oakland North. 29 Dec. 2010. Web.
By Alexa Zimbalist