GOOD

It started as an empty lot on 41st and Alameda. It became, with care and patience and the hard labor of hundreds of families, 14 acres of productive farmland, a source of fresh food and pride for an underserved community. A decade later, in 2003, the City of Los Angeles decided to sell that land in South Central, which had been transformed from urban wasteland to arguably the largest community garden in the country. And then there was shock, anger, organization, fundraising, negotiation, rejection, a zucchini in a tailpipe, and finally, the bulldozers roared.

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When his grandmother died from diabetes, Ashel Eldridge, a 32-year-old Oakland-based educator with the Alliance for Climate Education, set out to educate himself about healthy eating. A Green For All fellow, Eldridge has combined his food knowledge with community organizing skills picked up from working with Alli Starr and Van Jones. "I started realizing that juicing was a way to get the Earth to the people," he says.

To reach the community, Eldridge takes his message directly to the streets by teaming up with Phat Beets Produce. "We're on 35th and San Pablo and we're serving juice," he says. "Some people are spitting it out and they're like, 'this is garbage, you need to put more sugar in it,' and so we have a conversation with them." Eldridge says they "tell them what's in it and why we didn’t put sugar in it, and really have an educational moment with the people." Eldridge—who's also the cofounder and health and sustainability coordinator of United Roots, a green-focused youth community center—isn't just giving boring nutritional lectures. "We do it with hip hop, we do it with culture," he says.

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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Marketing Healthy, Local Food

Hurricane Katrina decreased access to healthy food by more than half in New Orleans. How to get fresh local food into the hands of those who need it?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmVahZBBbHo

Getting healthy, affordable food to urban residents is a challenge in most major U.S. cities. In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina not only affected the output from local farmland, it severed distribution channels, destroyed existing markets, and increased socioeconomic inequality. How can the city rebuild those food connections in an even stronger way, empowering those who need it most to choose fresh, locally grown produce? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities New Orleans, a team created a campaign to showcase the diversity and availability of healthy foods.

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