the food project

Boston Nonprofit Focusing on Equity in City's ‘Fresh Food Desert'

Urban farmers sell locally grown veggies at the Food Project's winter farmer's market inside of a greenhouse located right in the Dudley neighborhood -- which has been labeled a fresh food desert.

NBC Universal, Inc.

There are some families that are priced out of quality fruits and vegetables simply because of their zip code. The lack of access to healthy produce is called a food desert. But how do you address this challenge?

There's a greenhouse in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood that is serving up food equity with a side of compassion.

The Dudley neighborhood in Boston has been labeled a fresh food desert, but don't tell that to Apolo Catala.

Catala is one of the urban farmers selling locally grown veggies at the Food Project's winter farmer's market inside of a greenhouse located right in the Dudley neighborhood.

“The farmers like it because we get paid what we deserve to get paid for bringing in locally grown nutritious food and our community is happy because they get to access this great produce,” Catala said.

Low-income families can pay for their food with EBT and SNAP benefits, which offer a cash back incentive called HIP -- it's all part of the Food Project's focus on equity.

"It's astounding. We grow over a hundred thousand pounds of food a year, we distribute it through a lot of different channels and our young people are essential to that work,” said Danielle Andrews, a manager for the Food Project.

Civic minded workers as young as high school age cultivate and harvest at the Food Project's greenhouse, farms and gardens.

People from all over the city apply at the community bay, but only 32 groups are chosen to grow food there. Some are novices. Others are experienced. But they all get lessons in making connections to the neighborhood.

“They get to interact with one another, share conversation, but as well as to develop the agricultural skills that they need to maintain self-sufficiency and be able to grow and eat healthy food” said Yasser Aponte, a manager for the Food Project.

The Food Project is one of the local organizations selected to receive a $4,500 donation from NBC10 Boston's employee resource groups to further its work in the community.

“I love growing food so much” Andrews said.

The winter market runs every Thursday from 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

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