[Berkeley, CA] Starting October 22nd, the Ecology Center will operate a farm stand at the new BART Plaza in downtown Berkeley, offering fresh produce to the public year round, Monday through Friday, from 3:00 -7:00 pm. The Berkeley Farm Stand’s mission is to provide healthy, affordable, locally-grown food to those who work and live in Downtown Berkeley and to serve as job training for local youth.
The Grand Opening of new BART Plaza, which is the culmination of the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza and Transit Area Improvement Project, will take place Thursday October 18th, from 4:00 – 8:00pm. The revitalization effort created a vibrant commons that maximizes BART user safety and comfort; provides space and infrastructure for arts and entertainment; and features improved lighting, landscaping, and green stormwater treatment.
The following Monday, the Berkeley Farm Stand will begin operations, offering a variety of vegetables, fruits, and other agricultural goods, primarily sourced from the small, independent farms that sell at the Ecology Center’s three weekly Farmers’ Markets in Berkeley. Produce will also be sourced from UC Berkeley’s Gill Tract Farm and other local farms. “This location is an epicenter of Berkeley life,” says Farm Stand Program Manager Dante Alnas-Benson. “Having our stand at this crossroads allows us to connect a lot more people with healthy, sustainably grown food, while creating job training opportunities for youth and supporting small farms.”
The Berkeley Farm Stand evolved out of the Ecology Center’s Farm Fresh Choice program, which has operated youth-led produce stands on Tuesdays in Berkeley since 2001. The stand will continue the Farm Fresh Choice tradition of offering Ecology Center youth interns on-the-job training that supplements their learning about food systems, nutrition, and food justice issues. The stand will feature EBT access for CalFresh (food stamp) recipients, as well tastings and recipes. “We want to make sure that the food we sell is as accessible and affordable as possible,” says Alnas-Benson. “This farm stand is for everyone.”