Truth bomb: Every dietary recommendation I offer carries the unspoken assumption that you are privileged enough to have access to healthy food.
The fact is fresh, organic, good quality food is expensive. Highly processed, shelf stable, industrialized junk food is cheap. Not only is the price of food a barrier, but merely having access to healthy food is another one. The quality and variety of healthy food that I can choose from at my local Wegmans is a stark contrast to what I might find in a predominantly black neighborhood or inner city market where it is considered a food desert.
In addition, African Americans are at a higher risk of developing diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke, at younger ages than white people. African Americans are also more likely to die at younger ages compared to white populations. You can read more about this here. Part of the disparity is a result of having limited access to healthy food and health education. I want to live in a world where everyone has access to healthy food, regardless of their location, race, and financial well-being, so what can I do to help?
While there are many ways to help with this particular problem, one type of program that has an enormous impact on local food security are community based farms, particularly those found in urban landscapes. Most major cities in the US have several of these urban farms, often run by volunteers who turn vacant land and parking lots into flourishing greenscapes. Urban farms enrich communities with educational opportunities, provide access to nourishing food and are a place of safe recreation among nature.
Even though I don’t live in a big city or area designated as a food desert, I feel compelled to support these urban farms and programs. If you're like me, you might be looking for an organization to donate to but you want to make sure that your financial contribution will make the biggest impact and go directly to helping those in need. When you donate to these farms you are putting healthy food directly into the hands of those who lack the privilege. For this reason, I have compiled a list of non-profit urban farms located all over the country to make it easy for you to contribute to.
As I was putting this list together, almost all of these farms mention on their website that they have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic hit during a crucial part of the planting and growing season and so food production will be limited or halted this year. Most have reduced numbers of volunteers due to the pandemic and a few mentioned that their funding has been interrupted. This means urban farms need our help now more than ever!
In an effort to help in my own local community, for the rest of June, I’m offering all initial nutritional therapy consultations for half the price and will donate ALL proceeds to Healthy Food for All, a local non-profit program here in Ithaca that makes fresh, organic produce accessible to low income families of Tompkins County.
An initial consultation with me is the first step in learning how to take better care of yourself. We meet for an hour to discuss your health history, current symptoms and where your body could use the most support in order to achieve optimal health. It’s up to you if you’d like to navigate my findings on your own or if you work with me on making gradual changes over time (Nutrition visit packages are also on sale now, an additional $145 savings). In other words, you save $50, while also investing in your own health and that money goes directly to helping someone else receive healthy food. It's a win-win-win!
So without further ado, here is the list of farms that I put together. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as I mentioned before most major cities have several urban farm organizations. I have included a brief description of each farm based on the information from their websites. While I have never visited any of these farms, I took care in compiling this list to make sure they are legitimate organizations that actually benefit their communities.
1. Urban Ventures Farm, A faith based organization in South Minneapolis with 70 local partners who have one main goal: Break the cycle of poverty and send every child in the neighborhood to college. Offers neighborhood residents 50% off locally grown produce.
2924 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
2. City Farm Chicago, Chicago’s oldest sustainable farm that has transformed vacant urban lots into vibrant organic farms. A portion of all produce goes directly to local food banks.
550 West Division Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
3. Urban Farm, Located in Chicago offers after-school work programs for highschool students, internships, community garden plots for folks who don’t have land of their own. They also offer CSA shares and a farmstand.
Chicago Lights Urban Farm
444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
4. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, Located in Detroit’s north end community, it has redeveloped a 3 acre piece of land into a sustainable farm. This organization uses urban agriculture to promote education, sustainability and community.
7432 Brush St.
Detroit, MI 48202
5. Farm Alliance of Baltimore, a collective of nearly 20 farms in the Baltimore area that utilize vacant urban lots to serve as green community spaces for diverse neighborhoods. You can donate to the alliance or check out any of their 17 participating farms to donate directly to the farm.
6. The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, located in the College Park community of Atlanta, this organization reduces barriers to healthy living in urban communities through health education and sustainable gardening training.
3271 Main Street
College Park, GA 30337
7. The Growing Experience, located in a known food desert in California, provides sustainably grown, affordable produce, community workshops and a safe green space for recreation.
750 Via Carmelitos
Long Beach, CA 90805
8. La Finca Del Sur, located in the south Bronx is an urban farmer cooperative led by black and latina women. This organization is committed to building healthy neighborhoods through economic empowerment, nutritional awareness, education and advocacy for social and political equality and food justice in low-income communities.
138th Street and Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY http://bronxfarmers.blogspot.com/
9. Common Good City Farm, Located in Washington DC, whose mission is to create a vibrant, informed and well nourished community through sustainable urban farming.
PO Box 26030
Washington DC 20001
10. Urban Roots, Located in Austin Texas, offers paid work opportunities for youth to learn farming practices, community cooking classes and donates 40% of the food produced to local hunger relief agencies.
4900 Gonzales Street
Austin, TX 78702