Microfarms push back against ‘food apartheid’

On a recent Sunday morning in South Los Angeles, Crop Swap LA volunteers and staffers harvested bags of freshly picked produce from the front yard of a residence. Located just steps from Leimert Park Plaza, the Asante microfarm is the first of what will be numerous microfarms created by the organization, which is dedicated to growing hyperlocal food on unused spaces “in the neighborhood, exclusively for the neighborhood.”

“Everything we’re growing is nutrient-dense, and the food remains in the neighborhood,” says Jamiah Hargins, who founded Crop Swap LA in 2018 as a small monthly swap of surplus produce. After spending years in finance and consulting, Hargins decided to create a local food distribution system to address the fact that his neighborhood was a food desert, meaning most residents have little access to healthy food. It’s now one of many Bipoc-led groups across the US that are reclaiming their agricultural heritage and redefining the local food movement by growing on traditional farms and unconventional spaces such as yards, medians, and vacant lots as a way to increase food security and health in their own communities.

Crop Swap LA members live within one mile of one of the organization’s microfarms and receive their weekly bags of produce within hours of harvest – which Hargins says is far more nutritious than buying produce that’s been sitting on trucks or in storage for days and weeks – for $50 (£40) a month (Cal Fresh/EBT users pay $25).

Read more at theguardian.com

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