This April, Collective Roots reopened its East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market for a seventh year. At its most recent market, the organization held a free cooking demonstration. Collective Roots, a food justice nonprofit, organizes the market, which takes place every Wednesday from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Ravenswood Family Health Center. Kris Jensen, executive director for Collective Roots, describes East Palo Alto as a “food desert.” The Farmers’ Market is designed to encourage healthy and sustainable living, in an area of the Peninsula where fast food chains outnumber grocery stores.
Collective Roots operates its Fresh Checks program at the farmers’ market. Anyone who qualifies for food stamps may participate in Fresh Checks. Collective Roots matches up to $20 each month for every dollar spent at the Farmers’ Market.
In addition to the weekly Farmers’ Market, Collective Roots offers a range of other community-based programs, including the Backyard Gardener Network, the East Palo Alto Seed Library, as well as cooking and nutrition classes. Since 2000, the organization has operated a school garden program, which supports school and community gardens in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Redwood City. By using both community and school-based initiatives, Collective Roots seeks to promote healthy living for people of all ages living in lower-income communities.