Written by Devin Kapalla
I was inspired to work with the farm at the Alameda Point Collaborative after I spoke with the manager of the farm about the APC’s mission and how work on the farm is making a difference in the community. The Alameda Point Collaborative is an organization which provides transitional housing and resources to formerly homeless individuals and families and the farm is one of the several sites for a job training program that is offered to residents. Participants in this job training program learn valuable job skills through their work on the farm. However, the program did not offer any sort of discussion of the broader societal structures that contribute to the inequities that often contribute to homelessness. This was particularly concerning to me as it was to the manager, but she explained that the program did not have the resources to add this element to the existing program. I was motivated to aid with the incorporation of this element and as the program was located on a farm, I was inspired to structure this element around the theme of food justice. With permission from farm administrators, I began reaching out to local organizations working in food justice to help create a food justice curriculum that could be worked into the job training program. This process has been lengthy and is still not yet complete but I have been successful in finding an organization that is willing to collaborate with me and we will likely have a product within the coming weeks!
Additionally, my efforts in this partnership consisted of creating and planning a permaculture workshop that will be open to the residents of the APC as well as the general public. The idea for this workshop came about through a partnership between the farm and the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco. The co-founder of UPI, David Cody, agreed to be the speaker at the event and we discussed that having a facilitated discussion on food justice would be a fantastic way to get several perspectives on the many barriers that limit access to nutritious foods. The permaculture workshop will take place on the 21st of May. I still have many arrangements to make for the event including food donations and flyering, but I believe it will be a success and I am grateful for the support I have received from the farm.
Through my partnership with the Alameda Point Collaborative I have gained many invaluable skills and formed several strong relationships with my coworkers. Over the course of this semester, I have been repeatedly challenged through my work with the farm. The physical and mental exercise was often difficult to manage, but ultimately it was worth it as I have a real sense of accomplishment and my partner is grateful for my assistance. As well, this experience has taught me how to be flexible as time constraints and bureaucracy often make it difficult to accomplish some goals. With support and collaboration, however, some of these goals were able to be completed and I am very proud of the outcomes.