Welcome to Oakland Food Connection, Inc.
The Oakland Food Connection promotes nutritional awareness, access to healthy foods, and connections between people and our planet. Since its founding in 2005, we have established programs that support school and community gardens, community-based farmers markets, and youth entrepreneurship projects. Our health-focused economic development approach is intended to combat high rates of chronic community challenges- preventable diseases (such as diabetes, asthma, cancer and obesity), mental disorders, homicides and high unemployment rates that plague our communities. Through our work, we improve access to health-promoting resources such as healthy food and green space, while empowering youth to develop as skilled leaders and change agents capable of creating healthy environments for their communities.
Low income communities of color throughout the flatlands of East Oakland strugglewith high rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, as well as high rates of domestic violence and unemployment!
1. Youth have a one in three chance of developing diabetes in their lifetime.
2. There is an 87 percent chance that they are receiving free or reduced-rate school lunch, which is often the most nutritionally-balanced meal of the day.
3. A family in Oakland typically has a one in five chance of living below the federal poverty level, where grocery stores are non-existent, and access to fresh and nutritious food is limited all throughout the flatlands of East Oakland.
4. The current unemployment in East Oakland, CA is projected at a staggering 27.9%, almost twice the rate of employment for the whole City, which is 16%. The unemployment rate among youth shockingly is 50%.
All of these factors are related to Oakland’s food system, a complex series of relationships between food producers, processors, marketers, and consumers, and are influenced by policies that regulate their interactions. Through the lens of food justice, OFC emphasizes the perspectives and interests of people of color and their communities when addressing concerns about food access, jobs, policy and education.
To help youth draw connections between environmental stewardship, personal health and community health, OFC provides programs that develop the leadership capacities of Oakland youth to create environmental and socially-just green jobs for their communities. These include outdoor garden-based education, micro-enterprise skills training, catering, food preparation and urban gardening with trips to rural and urban farms. We seek to thread together themes of integrating agriculture with the environment through agro-ecological restoration within the urban streetscape, all based within a model of youth leadership development.