Good food for a better ‘hood

In 2004, volunteers planted 60 fruit trees at the Kennedy Estates in south Sacramento, creating an edible landscape for residences of the low-income housing complex.

“When the fruit tree is right outside your door, all you have to do is go outside and pick from it,” said Nisha Kapadia with the Sacramento Hunger Coalition. “There’s no reason why people in California shouldn’t have fresh produce year-round.”

Instead, low-income Californians who face food insecurity and limited access to healthy food often must resort to neighborhood mini marts and fast-food joints for meals.

On Saturday, December 9, Kapadia and other local grassroots organizers will attempt to turn public dialogue about underlying socioeconomic causes of food inequalities into community-based action with “Building Healthy Communities Through Food.” The all-day workshop will be hosted by the Grant High School Environmental Organization and is being co-sponsored by the California Food and Justice Coalition. The event will be held at Grant High School.

“We’re holding this workshop in a setting where the work is being done so attendees can see the programs firsthand,” said Heather Fenney, a CFJC organizer. “A small setting allows people to build connections that will provide support long after the workshop has ended.”

Participants will attend one of two round-table discussions. The first round-table features talks on inner-city farmers markets and how to get healthy foods into your corner store. Melissa Guajardo of the Health Education Council, UC Davis Professor Diana Cassady, and Christy Jacobs of the Yolo County Food Bank will lead the discussion.

The second round table will focus on urban farming and community gardens—and will include Kapadia, Shawn Harrison, director of the Soil Born Farm Urban Agriculture Project, and Bill Maynard, founder of the Sacramento Area Community Garden Coalition.

“More and more people are paying attention to community organizing around food, but they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Fenney said. “Organizers who have been doing this work can pass on lessons and put us one step ahead.”

For more information or to register, visit The workshop is free for individuals and $30 for organization representatives.