Food insecurity, or lack of access to adequate, nutritious food, is a prevalent, yet preventable, social condition that has been linked to numerous adverse health outcomes. While it affects individuals at every age, it can be particularly detrimental to children: those who are food-insecure are more likely to develop diet-related chronic diseases, have impaired social development, and have reduced success in school compared to their food-secure peers. The Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) serves 1 in 5 Alameda County residents, two-thirds of whom are children and seniors. 20% of the households they serve have at least one member with diabetes; 39% have at least one member with high blood pressure.
All In’s Health Care Strategies team seeks to build a strong bridge between healthcare and food systems networks through a deliberate and thoughtful process involving various Alameda County stakeholders including family and pediatric physicians, food justice representatives, community activists, and local lawmakers. The team has a multi-faceted approach:
Food “farmacies” supported by this effort have been running at La Clinica de la Raza and Native American Health Center since 2018. In late 2019, new farmacies will begin at West Oakland Health Center and Roots Community Clinic, and we are exploring partnerships with additional community clinics.
In May 2019, the team published Rooting Food as Medicine in Healthcare, a toolkit for primary care clinics and other healthcare settings to help build their own Food as Medicine programs. These interventions are one mechanism for addressing the link between food insecurity and health outcomes. They can also bridge standard healthcare interventions, like medicine and individual patient education, with the surrounding food system via various levels of community engagement, as the image depicts.
On May 31, 2019, the Healthcare Strategies team hosted a convening of over 50 Alameda County stakeholders in the Food as Medicine work, including primary care providers, community and county agencies, farmers, healthcare leaders, community members, elected officials, and funders to synergize the county’s resources and experiences to address food insecurity and diet-related health conditions. The full-day event produced long-term goals and identified resources from participants that ALL IN will integrate into this work in the coming year.
Thank you to Ecology Center for compiling this information!
Thank you to the Alameda County Community Food Bank for sharing these recipes.
Thank you to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland for sharing these videos!
Our neighborhood-led strategies, are community education and participatory action projects focused on promoting healthy eating and healthy food systems in a centralized neighborhood, currently the San Antonio and Fruitvale neighborhoods of Oakland. Community and neighborhood-led strategies are complex social processes that move beyond single interventions and outcomes at the individual level of short-term change. The Healthy Food Healthy Families Neighborhood Strategy has three main components: the Neighborhood Steering Committee, Healthy Food Champions, and the ‘Projects.’
The Neighborhood Steering Committee (NSC) is made up of members and directors of nonprofit organizations in the neighborhood, community residents, County and City department representatives, and leaders from local clinics. The NSC meets once a month and is a collaborative process for the above-named stakeholders to identify the direction, actions, and evaluation of the progress. ALL IN convenes and facilitates the NSC meetings, each of which are held at different community partner sites.
The second component is the Healthy Food Champions (HFC), who work through the Community Engagement Hub (La Clinica). There are currently 6 Healthy Food Champions, all women of color mothers who have a passion for promoting health. They are all from either the Fruitvale or San Antonio neighborhoods. Through the Community Engagement Hub and ALL IN the HFC’s have been going through a collective process that brings their own knowledge and various cultural backgrounds together, getting to know one another, learning new skills, sharing with one another. The new skills they acquire take place through weekly trainings and topics have included the following:
Through this process the HFCs have identified Projects to implement or strengthen in San Antonio and the Fruitvale neighborhoods. They created a blueprint for each project, presented them to the NSC, and received feedback from the committee before deciding on the following Projects:
Primary Contact: Hannah Moore
Alameda County is adjacent to one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. More than half of the fruits and vegetables grown in the United States come from the Central Valley, which is less than an hour’s drive away. However, food insecurity and related economic and health challenges are prevalent in Alameda County, particularly in East and West Oakland, parts of Hayward, and unincorporated Ashland/Cherryland. Unemployment, crime, incarceration and parole rates, and chronic health issues are higher in these communities as well, perpetuating the cycle of poverty, poor health, and lack of economic opportunity.
On the production side, small farms struggle to meet demands, in both volume and variety, of retailers and institutional buyers. At the same time, the amount of edible produce rotting in California’s fields is increasing as the farm labor pool disappears due to recent changes to immigration policy.
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities’ League (DSAL) is just one of the county’s organizations dedicated to improving food security for low-income residents. DSAL, a nonprofit project of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), has a 13-year history of working with low-income Ashland/Cherryland residents to holistically address community needs in a larger framework of social equity, community-led economic empowerment, and creative placemaking.
One of their programs is Dig Deep Farms (DDF), a 17-acre urban farm and 3,500 square foot community-based food hub and commercial kitchen in San Leandro, which opened in 2019.
The food hub food is designed to create jobs and connect the local community with seasonal, healthy, fresh food. DDF offers paid internships to youth and adults returning from periods of incarceration to grow, distribute, and sell produce at several Alameda County locations, including hospital farm stands and County buildings. The Food as Rx program is designed to increase the health and wellness of local residents experiencing food-related health issues. Our emergent Food Recovery Program will work to fight hunger and prevent food waste by rescuing fresh, edible surplus produce from farmer’s markets, schools, municipalities, and produce wholesalers and delivering this food to low-income families throughout Alameda County.
When fully operational, the food hub will benefit community health, and particularly the health of low-income residents by:
Primary Contact: Mika Tesfaye
In 2018, ALL IN welcomed the Interagency Children’s Policy Council (ICPC) under its umbrella. In this newly formed alliance, ALL IN continues to carry on ICPC’s core mission of working across County systems to improve outcomes in the health, safety, and success of our children. ALL IN collaborates with County agencies and stakeholders to improve outcomes for Alameda County’s low-income and vulnerable children, youth and their families by: 1) Promoting and providing a venue for communication and coordination between key partners and 2) Making recommendations on children and youth policy issues that span multiple systems and prioritizes preventative and front-end investments. In addition, ALL IN workgroups serve as a platform and incubator inclusive of multiple perspectives that ensure for a deliberate and broadly represented vetting process on complex, interagency issues that affect children, youth and families.
Primary Contact: Julie Hadnot
The Alameda County Pre to 5 Collaborative serves as an overarching advisory body and think tank to influence and guide efforts across the County that assure the health and well-being of pregnant women, children under the age of five, and their families. This collaborative effort focuses on advocating for promising strategies and investments that improve outcomes, align and integrate work, and inform County leadership on the importance of improving outcomes for Pre to 5-year olds.
The Interagency Fatherhood Work Group helps to monitor, guide, and institutionalize the work outlined in the Alameda County Fathers Corps (ACFC) expansion plan. This cross-agency work group provides guidance and ensures that the ACFC is meeting the needs of member agencies. The work group strives to institutionalize father-friendly policies and practice throughout Alameda County Public systems and community-based organizations.
ALL IN convenes youth-serving organizations to engage in systems planning and coordination around youth homelessness. The group is focused on developing a county-wide plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, advocating for increased resources and infrastructure to serve youth in Alameda County at-risk of or experiencing homelessness, and ensuring youth have leadership opportunities and are seen as key experts and decision-makers about policies and programs that impact them.
Youth Action Board ALL IN is leading a collaborative effort to develop and sustain a Youth Action Board (YAB) with the goal of cultivating youth voice and infusing that voice into policy and program planning in Alameda County to prevent and end youth homelessness. Through participation on the YAB, youth will be empowered to take the lead in voicing their support, concerns, ideas, and more. YAB members are youth with lived experience of homelessness, with an emphasis on youth not currently connected to County systems.
Primary Contact: Jessica Blakemore
The San Antonio Family Resource Center (SAFRC) is a community-led multi-generational approach to increasing school readiness and empowering parents and is a key element of ALL IN’s work to support community-led neighborhood transformation in the San Antonio neighborhood. The project is a partnership between ALL IN Alameda County, Lotus Bloom, Trybe, and EBAYC and is supported through First 5 Alameda County’s Neighborhoods Ready for School grant initiative.
The Neighborhoods Ready for School (NRFS) initiative aims to strengthen the coordination of existing services and programs, increase access to early childhood programs, opportunities for economic development and family strengthening, and support infrastructure investments to enhance and create community assets like Family Resource Centers. The SARFRC aims to ensure families 0-5 in the San Antonio community have access to these essential experiences and resources, and are key leaders in the development and implementation of the programs and services offered, and drivers of change in the community. To achieve this aim, we are designing and implementing a number of key strategies, including:
At the SAFRC, families have access to early childhood programs, parent education and training programming, case management and family navigation services, and related resources such as food distribution and cooking demonstrations. During the 2018-2019 School Year, the SAFRC served 88 families with children 0-5 through playgroups and provided case management to over 60 unique families. Now entering its second year of development and implementation, the SAFRC project team is looking to continue to develop partnerships to enhance our community connections, programming and service offerings for families 0-5 in the San Antonio neighborhood.
Primary Contact: Jessica Blackmore