HKHC: Oakland, California


Excerpt from Lessons for Leaders:

In Oakland, pilot testing and scaling of weekly, school-based produce markets in food desert neighborhoods helped inform and support a larger systems change within the public schools and the community.

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November 2013

In Oakland, CA, the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities project focused on transforming disadvantaged public schools into neighborhood hubs where children, youth and families can regularly buy fresh food and enjoy safe physical activity. Many school campuses sit in a high-poverty neighborhood without a full-service grocery store. Liquor and convenience stores serve as an important source of food for many residents. Many schools also lack adequate recreational space, and the space they have is closed to the public evenings and weekends because of crime problems.

Led by the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), the Oakland partnership built on the learning, community engagement and capacity it developed during the earlier Active Living By Design grant to launch two successful systems change initiatives. Oakland FRESH was a network of weekly, school-based, parent-led, organic produce markets with nutrition education, WIC/SNAP redemption, student incentives and other services. The Oakland Schoolyards initiative engaged the community with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) to redesign and renovate schoolyards with organized sports and outdoor education programming after school, on weekends and in the summer.

“Those initial years with Active Living by Design provided us the “runway” to match our desire to achieve ambitious systems change with the necessary preparation and capacity,” explains EBAYC’s Director David Kakishiba. “Consequently, during HKHC we were able to devote much of our time working with our public agency partner (OUSD) to enact long-term institutional change.”

Key accomplishments:

OUSD is now engaging in a systematic and comprehensive effort to expand daily access to fresh foods, particularly by children, youth and families who reside in Oakland’s food deserts.  And it has established the construction of schoolyards, playfields and community gardens as a funded strategic priority in its 2012 Facilities Master Plan and bond measure in order to foster daily physical activity and outdoor learning for 46,000 students.