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  • Ben Gellman

    This is a tried and true success story. So many cities are investing in edible models of social impact - Detroit, where I'm from, is seen as a force to be reckoned with in developing innovative strategies for fair food.

    I grew up grocery-shopping in the suburbs, because the city I come from is a food desert. When I was in high school, a community group I was involved in established the East Warren Avenue Farmers' Market. We talked to local leaders, urban farmers, folks from the agricultural areas that ring Metropolitan Detroit (check it out here: How can we leverage the ecological resources of urban regions to promote community-based, grassroots food ecosystems that feed cities?

    Having gone to Oakland last summer, my hometown has a long way to go in owning up to the nutritional needs of our population. Oakland and the East Bay region features over a dozen markets that offer fresh produce to local residents year round. This expansive network, similar to what Crawford managed to piece together in Birmingham, is an inspiration that I believe any vulnerable urban region can learn from, duplicate, and scale.

  • Lisa Chen

    I'm so glad to hear that this story resonates with communities' experiences elsewhere, and thanks to the folks on the forum for sharing other awesome examples!

    I wanted to post a follow-up: one day after this story was posted, we learned that one of the main changemakers profiled in the story, Samuel Crawford at REV Birmingham, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is looking for a bone marrow donor. Sam is an amazing leader, and has contributed so much to the community he serves.

    The ideal match would be an African-American male between the 18-44, but only 7% of people registered to give marrow are African Americans. Check out the facebook page created in his honor to learn about how you can help:


  • Lindsey Smith

    This is so cool! Thank you for sharing this awesome story. I love that after two years, the community already has solid learnings that can be used to improve their strategy and help other communities build a market like this one. I wonder if there are reactions from the consumers available!

  • Alison Kaprielian

    Loved this article! Relevant to a social innovation project I am working on with my class in the San Joaquin Valley. We are currently trying to develop product-based solutions to tackle some of the health challenges of this "food desert." Hopefully these guidelines can help us implement incremental changes.

  • Noel McKenzie

    Great article and resource for our city, Richmond, VA.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Excellent. Wondering if it might also be beneficial to incorporate some sort of "fun ways to use this produce" especially since so many are eating packaged foods and may no longer know the old recipes. Just a thought. Love the work you are doing. Every one deserves healthy food!

  • jmpowers

    An idea that's taken off in the UK is the 'Fresh Box', which means for a set price, customers get a box with the best, freshest local produce each week, picked, packed and delivered by local producers. the contents may vary, but the aim is to provide a healthy selection of local vegetables without the transport and middleman costs. Buyers can indicate how many people the box is to provide for, cutting out the typical supermarket 'designed waste' of forcing customers to purchase pre-packed produce in quantities which don't suit their consumption rates. This cuts the amount of food going straight to compost or the dump!

  • Bradley Urso

    =) so happy to read something like this happening.