Youth Environmental Academy Announces Farm Box Pilot Program

As the year transitions from summer to fall and into winter, COVID-19 remains in our communities, requiring changes in many areas of our lives. Here at the Ecology Center, we too are embracing change as we make adjustments to ensure that our community continues to receive essential services rooted in sustainability, health, and justice.

To this end, Ecology Center’s Youth Environmental Academy (YEA) is excited to announce the launch of a weekly produce box pilot program in partnership with the Berkeley Farmers’ Market and funded by the City of Berkeley’s Healthy Berkeley Program. The YEA pilot program offers curbside pickup of produce boxes on Saturdays at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market!

The Youth Farm Box project is designed to serve people who are in a high-risk category for contracting COVID-19, such as being 60+ years old or having an underlying health condition. We aim to provide a way for these members of our community to continue to shop for fresh, local, and sustainably-grown produce from the Berkeley Farmers’ Market.

And for customers and supporters who want to give back to the community, the Youth Farm Box pilot program is also set up to accept donations that will pay for farm boxes for food-insecure community members, helping to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

When you participate in the Youth Farm Box Pilot, your purchases support farmers in our local food system and provide employment opportunities for youth in our community.

Youth Farm Boxes are available for preorder on our Square site. They are curated to include a supply of farmers’ market fruits and vegetables, sourced from market vendors who do not currently run a box program, such as Avalos Farms, Golden Rule Organics, and Billy Bob Apples. Through our previous youth food accessibility programs, such as Farm Fresh Choice, we’ve developed strong working relationships with each of these vendors.

We are excited to deliver healthy, affordable produce in a safe and contactless way. A Youth Farm Box has enough produce to feed 2-4 people for a full week. To begin, the Youth Farm Boxes will be available in limited supply.

The obstacles we’ve faced in 2020 have been challenging to say the least, but within great adversity can be found great resiliency in ourselves and our community of support. From the vendors to the shoppers, to the volunteers and market operation staff, the effort that goes into caring for our farmers’ markets brings life and celebration to our shared spaces. May we all share in the bounty that is found at the farmers’ markets.

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