Phat Beets Produce Strategic Plan
Phat Beets Produce aims to create a healthier, more equitable food system in North Oakland through providing affordable access to fresh produce, facilitating youth leadership in health and nutrition education, and connecting small, disenfranchised farmers to urban communities via the creation of farm stands, farmers’ markets, and urban youth market gardens.
Our Vision. What we want, what we work for:
Phat Beets Produce was started 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. We work to accomplish this through the creation of a local food system that empowers low-income families of Oakland to be leaders in the food movement through the creation of school farm stands, clinic based farmers' market and clinic based gardens.
1. Healthcare without harm
We work to connect community and individual health with our food system, hoping to motivate healthcare providers and institutions to move to action for a healthier food environment. We also work to improve healthy food access for those most dramatically affected by the obesity epidemic.
2. Strong Economic Opportunities for small, disenfranchised farmers
We work to provide economic opportunities for small, historically disenfranchised farmers by creating new economic avenues for farmers to distribute their produce in the Oakland Flatlands. These avenues include the creation of wholesale accounts at local schools and hospitals, distribution through our CSA program, farmers markets, and produce stands. These efforts aided through community organizing campaigns and use of social media.
3. Edible parks, Edible communities
We want to eliminate barriers that prevent people from growing their own food, and abolish policies that prevent access to healthy food and green spaces. We are working on policies via the Edible Parks Task Force to allow for food cultivation in Oakland Public Parks as a means to food justice.
4. Neighborhood Based Food Micro-Enterprise
We are working to stimulate our local economy via our programs. We want to create a sustainable business model that provides space for local urban entrepreneurs to pursue their vision in creating a viable economic enterprise around sustainable healthy foods. We are a founding member of the Kitchen Co-Op, a North Oakland based community commercial kitchen that will allow residents to grow out their cottage food business using our commercial kitchen and distribution networks.
5. Empowered Youth that Shape their Food System
We work to help youth empower themselves to transform their food system, personally and globally. We believe that through an understanding of food justice comes dietary sovereignty. This work is centered around our “Fresh Fellows” program at the Obesity Prevention Clinic housed at the Children’s Hospital Oakland.
6. Restorative Justice: Resilient Communities Organized Through Food and Healing
Phat Beets Produce is working to create a holistic, equitable food system for North Oakland. Our farmers' market project and food and justice workshop series uses community organizing as a tool to build power among those affected by diet related disease within the North Oakland Flatlands. The model is based on the Freedom Schools, free classes taught for the community by their peers.
Phat Beets Produce, How we Operate:
Phat Beets Produce is organized into 4 levels of participation: volunteer collective, working committees/groups, allies, and a few paid positions. We are working to establish a board of advisors.
Phat Beets Produce uses a working group based model to organize our programs. Our programs have a community based steering committee, called a “working group” that helps shape and drive the program by reflecting the needs of the neighborhood it is housed in. We currently operate 5 programs: Certified Farmers’ Markets and Community Produce Stands, Healthy Hearts Youth Empowerment, Community Celebrates!, Beet Box Urban CSA, and Get Organized!
At the core of our organization is our volunteer collective. Our volunteer collective has the decision making capacity for our organization. We make decisions based on consensus.
Our volunteer collective is comprised of 8-12 members. Volunteer membership includes:
Much of our work within the community happens within our working groups. From our collective we operate a series of working committees that are comprised of collective members and community members. Our current committees include Farmer’s Market Committee, Garden Steering Committee, CSA committee, and Fundraising Committee.
Our working committees:
Phat Beets Employees
Our Goals and Strategies:
We will work to achieve our goals and realize our vision through the work of the following programs:
Certified Farmers Market and Community Produce Stands
Phat Beets Produce currently operates two clinic based certified farmers’ markets and two community produce stands, one at a clinic and the other at a local elementary school. We use the markets and produce stands as way to create economic opportunities for the farmers we work with while creating a safe and inviting space to organize, build community and share knowledge around food and healing. All of our stands and markets partner with the Beet Box Veggie Program, which allows teachers, doctors, and nurses to “prescribe” for veggies for at risk patients and students to redeem at the market.
Farmers Markets: Tues @ Children’s Hospital Oakland and Sat. @Kitchen Coop (Standford and Lowell)
Community Produce Stands: Mon. in front of Arlington Med Center, Weds @St. Martin De Porres Elementary
We are consciously working to create a community space at the market that naturally invites and entices new people. We plan to slowly grow the number of vendors and incrementally raise the stall fees charged to farmers to help cover the cost of running the market. We have held “Flea Markets” at the farmer’s market as a means of financially supporting the market, while pulling in a greater cross section of the community we are working to engage.
Healthy Hearts Youth Empowerment
Phat Beets Produce operates a 10,000 sq. ft plus vegetable garden in Oakland’s 1st edible public park at the Dover St. Park behind the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. This garden is in partnership with the Dover St. Neighborhood Group and the Healthy Hearts Youth garden hosts 3 intensive youth teen programs each year that works to empower youth ages 13-19 to engage in and shape their food system using participatory, food justice based curriculum.
To strengthen and grow the garden internship, we plan for further collaboration with healthy hearts clinic and the neighborhood. We feel that it is essential that the program stays at no cost to youth and currently offer a stipend to those youth that participate in the program. Currently the work in the garden with the neighborhood and the teen program is funded through grants and donations. We will likely continue to be somewhat dependent on grant/foundation funding, however we have a plans to create a donor base. We plan to create a venue for doctors to sponsor a youth for a session. We also plan to offer garden memberships to neighbors as way to grow support of the garden and have regular financial sponsorship. We also plan to offer a garden-based workshop series as a fundraiser to support programming.
Phat Beets Produce believes that celebration is a big component of community organizing. We work to gather people around food and celebration of resistance to get neighbors to meet each other and build bonds are common values around health, wellness, and urban greening. Below are the celebrations we facilitate in partnership with various neighborhood groups.
-Cesar Chavez Youth Day Celebration
-MLK Day of Service
-Indigenous People’s Day “Decolonize Your Diet”
-Outdoor film screenings
-Monthly Free Community Breakfasts
Beet Box Urban CSA
The Beet Box CSA is the backbone to the providing financial support to the small farmers we work with. This innovative CSA model economically supports farmers markets in communities that would not normally have access to farmers’ markets, while supporting small marginalized farmers in addition to creating “Beet Bux” free veggie vouchers from a portion of the box sales to distribute in the schools and clinics we work in.
-Market produce for small, marginalized farmers to Emery Unified School District
-Run 100+ CSA to better support our urban and rural farmers
-Provide support for urban farmers to acquire land to grow on for sale to the Beet Box CSA
We plan to expand our CSA from 100 current members to 200 members within 1 year. We plan for recruitment of new members through street outreach, door-to-door canvassing, trade with local advertisers, and media exposure through social media campaigns. Retention of customers will be
through engagement in community events, like our Pancake Breakfast, and seeking customer feedback.
In order to build a more equitable food system that supports both the marginalized farmer as well as the marginalized consumer, investment in political education and policy work are essential.
We focus our organizing in the following four areas:
-Food N’ Justice Workshop Series (Peer-to-Peer, Popular Education weekly workshop series at our farmers’ markets)
-Community Wellness Forum (work that brings together neighborhood leaders, policy makers, service providers, and religious leaders to build more resilient neighborhoods)
-Urban Agriculture Policy work around legalizing and normalizing edible landscaping and urban farms on Oakland Parks and Recreation and East Bay Regional Park Land
-Partner in the Deconstructing Oppression in the Food System Inter-Organization Working
Thus far, our workshop series has been supported through grant writing and foundation support. We understand that we will likely still need to seek outside support for our workshop series cultivation. We plan to ask workshop participants to volunteer, donate, or shop at the market at the end of the series. We also hope that through cultivation of the CSA, the profit will be able to spill over and support the activities of the market.
We have working relationships with:
Children’s Hospital Oakland
City Council person Jane Brunner, Mayor Jean Quan
USC Credit Union
Bethany Baptist Church
Healthy Hearts Clinic
Dr. Watson’s North Oakland Medical Clinic
Saint Martin de Porres Elementary School
Emeryville Unified School District
We receive financial support from:
East Bay Community Foundation
Foundation for Youth Investment
Lawrence Levine Charitable Foundation
We have inherent support:
8 collective members
100 CSA members
3 neighborhood organizing committees
Market equipment $500
Office space with commercial kitchen $10,000/year
Experiential education booth $2500