Broccoli, Collards, and Carrots, Oh My!

Guess where this is!!!

CYMERA_20140123_134056If you’re an employee at Hayward Wellness, you might know the answer.

Dig Deep Farms has partnered with Alameda County Social Services to bring a beautiful farmers’ market to the building that houses Hayward Wellness Center every Thursday from 10 to 2pm.

Hayward Wellness shares a building with a number of other county functions, which means that a huge cross-section of the Alameda County community now has access to inexpensive, pesticide-free, and locally grown produce, which can be purchased using SNAP and EBT funds.The fruits and vegetables are grown either through Dig Deep Farms (check out this video showcasing their farms, farmers, and their mission and vision) or through the local network of farmers at Veritable Vegetable.

I spoke with Hilary Bass, Executive Director at the Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League (DSAL), Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Prevention non-profit which started Dig Deep Farms, to learn more about this remarkable project. “We currently have five and a half sites … and [are] working on funding to be able to double down,” she said this morning when I called to talk about the project. “Doubling down” would entail increasing capacity and be able to run two sites concurrently. Three of the sites are at Social Services agencies around the county, perfect places to put affordable, healthy choices at the fingertips of folks who might not otherwise have access. The other two are at St. Rose Hospital and the Alameda County Library in Fremont.

According to Bass, two more sites are lined up for launch in February, one of which is of special interest to us at Alameda Health System: the Eastmont market will open on February 24th and the market at Social Services on San Pablo will open on February 14th. Having farmers’ markets on site at AHS locations that provide Health Education Services to patients and family is a wonderful opportunity for us to further promote healthy eating choices to those we serve.

It’s also a great opportunity for us as employees of AHS to save a trip to the grocery store and support local farmers and at-risk youth by picking up produce at our work sites. Not a bad deal! I encourage everyone to check out this beautiful display of locally grown and extremely affordable fruits and vegetables. Yesterday, I purchased 3 large broccoli tops and 3 onions for $3.50. And if you happen to forget your lunch on a day when this market is set up, you can check out easy ways to make a healthy lunch with raw ingredients and nothing but a microwave with our Microwave Gourmet/Working in an Office series.

Right now, Dig Deep is mostly growing leafy greens and other vegetables, including chard, kale, collards, tomatoes, carrots, and herbs, but Bass says that they will be expanding and adding in fruit trees this year. “Fruit sells better, and we only grow vegetables right now, so we’re hoping to change that as we grow.” That’s not to say that there aren’t baskets of local, organic fruits at these markets. Veritable Vegetable fills in the gaps to create a market with plenty of choices at just the right price.

CYMERA_20140123_134618The Details:

Mondays: Eastmont SSA office starting February 24th 10am-2pm

Tuesdays: St. Rose Hospital in Hayward 12-4pm

Wednesdays: Alameda County Library in Fremont from 12-4pm

Thursdays:  Amador SSA office in Hayward 10am – 2pm

Fridays:  San Pablo SSA office starting February 14th 10am – 2pm


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