We had a fantastic time with the Google Serves Tomorrow youth group on Monday and Tuesday this week! They got to do a variety of fun garden projects like composting, varnishing picnic tables, painting terracotta pots, mulching, building a planter box, preparing our edible greens garden plot, sowing seeds, and harvesting! Check out the pics to view all the fun!
Blanca, native from Mexico but a long time East Palo Alto resident, has always been interested in giving back and helping her community. She is eager to grow her new baking business so that she can increase her earnings and help families in her community that are going through financial struggles. Her passion of baking dates back to the days when she used to help her great grandmother in their farm in Mexico to knead the masa on a big wooden table together. After being a regular customer of the market and Market Match participant for many years, she recently got her permits to sell her home-made tortillas and other special mexican bakery, including whole grain gorditas, tamarindo, champurradas at our market.
Our annual greenhouse project was a major success this year! We grew over 500 seedlings in our NEW on-site greenhouse and provided them to the East Palo Alto community as well as neighboring communities, who donated at our various tabling events. Check out the photos of the whole process below!
Last Saturday, we had a wonderful guest speaker present our first workshop of the spring season. Gladwyn d'Souza taught us the fundamentals of microbial life in our soil and the importance of creating your own homemade compost.
We also had a hands-on experience turning and sifting the compost pile at our 1785 Woodland Ave. Community Garden and office. As well as starting a worm bin by worm farming.
Please join us for our next workshop of the Growing the Foundation workshop series on Thursday, March 16 from 6 PM - 8 PM. Our next topic will focus on Clean Eating – Learning why & how we should “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” - Michael Pollan
Register for our workshops at collectiveroots.org/workshops
“This farmers’ market has deeply changed the way I eat. I started to eat more fruit and vegetables. For example, I started to eat chard and kale, which I’ve never had before. The doctor said that my diabetes has improved thanks to the changes I took in my life.” (Yazmin Garcia, EPA resident and regular market customer and volunteer, 2016).
What a year it has been for us at Collective Roots, and in particular for our EPA Community Farmers’ Market. The market not only provides increased access to healthy, affordable produce for the community, but also offers a valuable gathering place that encourages connections and thoughtful consumption. Families from East Palo Alto and surrounding neighborhoods gather together to meet up with old and new friends, while buying fresh vegetables and fruit, delicious bread, and local eggs. Here is a glimpse of what we accomplished this last season, and where we’re heading next!
Let’s take a look of our main accomplishments:
- Increased overall attendance (almost 4,600 families in total, which includes repeating customers) by almost 45% and average monthly attendance (542 families) by more than 20% over last year (in 2016 over 990 families are enrolled in the Matching Programs)
- Provided over $15k of matching funds, which doubled participants’ purchasing power, enabling them to purchase $30k worth of produce
- Almost doubled enrollment to 991 Matching Programs participants, an almost 68% increase over previous years’ enrollments
- We doubled number of vendors from three to six, adding eggs, bread, and honey vendors. Vendors generated over $53,000 over the season
- We improved our market operating, reporting, and evaluation systems by utilizing an online database service.
- We improved weekly volunteer support by securing a group of 4 dedicated volunteers.
Looking forward to the upcoming market year, we will be starting the market in the latter part of April and are working on some new ideas to continue to improve the market, add variety, and increase community connections.