With support from parent volunteers and staff, Community Action Marin is embarking on a new program this fall to advance equitable climate action efforts in Marin. Thanks to a grant from Marin Community Foundation and the insights of community members, Apetito de Cambio (Appetite for Change) will focus on racial and environmental justice by investing in a diverse pool of leaders and sustainable land use.
Apetito de Cambio will create educational curricula, transform green spaces through access to agricultural and watershed management expertise, and educate a group of parents with children enrolled in the agency’s childcare program to help foster the next generation of climate action leaders and build trusted relationships across families and community.
Liz Valone, VP Program & Strategic Initiatives at Community Action Marin notes that over the past few years, the agency has expanded its programming to tackle the intersection of food security, racial equity, and climate justice. She shares:
“We know that people of color are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity, diet-related illness, and other food system issues. We believe that connecting people of low income back to land and providing a space to engage with the environment and food is essential in helping promote healthy eating. It can also help to end the structural inequities that lead to unequal health outcomes.”
The agency has extant programming and a network of local partners and community groups to help this effort to reach scale and foster needed policy change.
Background: A Production Farm & Edible Learning Gardens
Leveraging USDA, private, and national innovation funding, Community Action Marin has two established Production Farms and multiple edible gardens where the agency grows organic fruits and vegetables, incorporating them into daily meals. These meals are prepared in the agency’s Commerical Kitchen, going into culturally appropriate foods for the over 500 children in its early education classrooms (Community Action Marin is the county’s Head Start grantee and largest provider of state‐subsidized childcare).
The Production Farm measures 15,000 square feet and includes a hoop house and orchard, while other program sites include a greenhouse and edible gardens. The spaces provide children and families a place to play, learn, and grow while increasing food security for enrolled families of low income. Children visit the learning gardens daily, participate in growing organic fruits and vegetables, engage in our Garden of Eatin’ curriculum, and learn how to care for plants using environmentally friendly farming methods.