Alchemist Community Development Corporation
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Organization Details


Alchemy Kitchen addresses the main barriers to success for emerging food businesses through a two-phased program structure, which provides support and builds business acumen. Alchemist Microenterprise Academy (AMA) is a 12-week business training course covering the fundamentals of starting a food business. Topics range from financial literacy and legal business structures to recipe development and safe food handling. After graduating AMA, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to apply to the Incubator Program.

The Incubator Program provides customized technical assistance, mentorship, and low-cost commercial kitchen access. Incubator businesses work closely with Alchemist CDC staff to further develop their businesses, build assets, and create individualized benchmarks to ensure accountability and a progression plan for eventual graduation. Consistent with Alchemist CDC's mission, Alchemy Kitchen primarily serves entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds and under-resourced communities.
Program Successes
- Alchemist Microenterprise Academy launched with a very successful pilot cohort in 2019.
- 16 food businesses graduated from the program, receiving education on food business fundamentals and creating a community of food entrepreneurs.
- The Incubator Program also began with its inaugural cohort of entrepreneurs.
At Alchemist CDC, we believe that farmers' markets are a community asset that all should have access to enjoy. To make this possible, we operate CalFresh/EBT payment processing at 11 Sacramento area farmers' markets, connecting families and farmers (CalFresh, formerly known as Food Stamps, provides qualifying lower income individuals financial assistance in purchasing food for themselves and their families). This program brings equitable access to farmers' markets by providing systems necessary for CalFresh recipients to use their benefits to buy fresh, healthy, local produce. This program also adds to local farmers' direct sales and stimulates attendance at farmers' markets, enhancing the local economy. We also offer CalFresh enrollment application assistance at our farmers' market CalFresh booths.
Program Successes
- In 2018, Alchemist's partner markets accounted for almost 2% of SNAP (CalFresh) spent at all farmers' markets nationwide!
- In that year, we issued $235,000 of CalFresh to low-income shoppers at farmers' markets, which then became direct revenue for local farmers.
- On September 19, 2019 we set a new record for transactions at a single market day with 286 transactions at the Florin Farmers' Market with over $3,800 CalFresh issued in a single day!
Market Match is an incentive program offered to CalFresh (food stamp) recipients to motivate them to eat more fruits and vegetables, and helps stretch their food budget, while also supporting regional farmers. Alchemist CDC provides Market Match funds, outreach support and Market Match operations training at 20 farmers' markets and farm stands in Sacramento and Yolo Counties. When someone spends their CalFresh benefits at these markets, they receive extra funds in the form of vouchers to buy fresh produce (Maximum Market Match offered per person per market day varies by location, between $5-$20). By spending more of their CalFresh benefits with California growers, these funds help support our farmer families and local economy. Bringing more funds to our farmers' markets makes them more sustainable, which has a positive economic impact in the surrounding community as a whole.
Program Successes
At a total of 20 farmers' markets and farm stands, Alchemist CDC facilitated over $95,000 in Market Match distributed to low-income families last year to spend with our small-midsize regional farmers, injecting even more dollars into the local economy and providing low-income families access to affordable fresh and healthy, local produce.
Alchemist CDC is partnering with community residents to re-imagine community spaces and reclaim previously blighted spaces by transforming them into community assets.

Current land-based revitalization projects include:
- Pansy Community Garden Park: A community-supported and designed effort to reclaim a previously refuse-strewn lot in a residential block of south Sacramento. Alchemist CDC and partners administered surveys door-to-door, held community events, and carried out one-on-one interviews with residents. The result was a design for a mixed-use public gathering space. The design includes a teaching garden, picnic area, a playground, and the opportunity for programming that focuses on health, environment, and community building.

- Oak Park Art Garden: This project is utilizing a land lease agreement with an option to buy to gain access; the property is privately owned. Families and residents from Oak Park and surrounding neighborhoods have been invited to join us for wide array of interactive art and garden projects that will begin the transformation of this high visibility corner lot in the heart of Oak Park. Fruit trees were planted in early 2019 and this will become Sacramento's first publicly accessible Community Food Forest project.

- 34th Street Off-ramp: Working within the CalTrans Adopt-A-Highway program for the neighborhood-lead transformation of this gateway location. Project goals include: low maintenance, habitat design developed through resident input; ongoing maintenance and upkeep managed by Alchemist and neighborhood stewardship team; working with District 5 City Council office to explore possibility of a public art/"Welcome to Oak Park" project in the space.

- Oak Park Sol Community Garden: This is a publicly accessible community garden. This garden grew out of a neighborhood desire to have a creative green space that could serve as a place to grow food, demonstrate sustainable practices, share knowledge, and build community connectivity. Available at the garden: 15 individually owned garden plots (including limited mobility raised beds); outdoor kitchen and community gathering space (available for community use); children's garden/creativity space; grape arbor and pond "sitting space"; secure tool shed; community composting area; Art Fence; perennial flower and herb beds.
Program Successes
- Oak Park Art Garden has become a vibrant art space with rich community participation;
- Pansy Community Garden Park has held multiple neighborhood gatherings building community around the space;
- Oak Park Sol Community Garden continues to operate sustainably with active gardener and community participation.
Over the past four years, Alchemist has had two different private partners fund pilot Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Programs to promote fruit and vegetable consumption to their clinic patients via farmers' market vouchers. We are currently seeking funding and implementation partners to expand this program and add more robust evidence-based tracking of health outcomes. This program serves to engage patients in their own prevention and treatment through healthy eating by utilizing the strong "Farm-to-Fork" movement in Sacramento. The clinicians and wellness educators give patients "prescriptions" to purchase fresh produce from farmers' markets. Patients "fill their prescriptions" at Alchemist's Cal-Fresh booths at participating farmers markets by exchanging them for vouchers for free produce at the market. Patients then return to the clinic office for additional "prescriptions" and follow up nutrition education and wellness programs.
Program Successes
- In 2019, 10 individuals took advantage of the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program through a partnering health agency.
- Each participant received $10 to spend at farmers' markets on healthy, fresh, local produce.
- We look forward to developing additional partnerships with health providers in order to expand this program in the future.