What do you get when you mix an outdoor market, workshops on healthy eating and food justice? A Phat Beets farmers’ market. This new farmers’ market officially opened on Saturday in the parking lot behind the Arlington Medical Center on 57th and Market Streets. For the volunteer collective that helped organize the event, Phat Beets Produce, and their partner, North Oakland Pediatrics, this market is more than just buying food locally—it’s about education, health and the community.
“Our whole mission is to bring small farmers and farmers of color to urban communities,” said Max Cadji, the food system coordinator for Phat Beets Produce. “We are trying to focus on lots of stuff that’s relevant to the community.”
Not only is fresh, local and organic produce for sale but there’s also live music, face painting, educational booths about food, health and nutrition, anti-police brutality workshops and free cooking demos. The organizers say their goal is make all food for sale affordable—prices are kept low and all vendors accept WIC vouchers.
“It’s not that people don’t want to eat healthy,” said Jen Matthews, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Oakland who is also working on the Phat Beets market, “it’s that it can be hard to find affordable healthy food.”
A few months ago, Matthews was approached by Dr. Gary Bean, who runs the Arlington Medical Center, who wanted to know if she’d be interested in helping start this farmers’ market. She jumped on board and believes that it will be a success in the neighborhood “because the community is so ready for this kind of stuff,” she said. “It makes our job easier.”
The Phat Beets farmers’ market will now be a permanent fixture behind the Arlington Medical Center every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm.
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