Alchemist CDC


Alchemist Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Sacramento area residents in their efforts to create vibrant, equitable, healthy and diverse communities.

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Programs

Description
In late 2016, Alchemist CDC was awarded a Local Food Promotion Program Planning Grant by the USDA to assess the viability of Alchemy Kitchen - a food business incubator serving low-income populations in Sacramento.

A food business incubator supports local food entrepreneurs by offering needed resources such as low-cost access to a licensed commercial kitchen, assistance complying with food safety regulations, business planning support and opportunities to grow their local food business successfully. Alchemy Kitchen will also focus on connecting low-income food entrepreneurs to local farmers for sourcing ingredients.
Budget
$100,000
Program Successes
The Local Food Promotion Program Planning Grant issued to Alchemist was one of only 19 given out nationwide. We are finalizing the Alchemy Kitchen feasibility analysis and business plan, and are in the process of site selection and formalizing project implementation partners.
Description
Alchemist CDC operates CalFresh payment processing at 11 Sacramento area farmers' markets (CalFresh provides qualifying lower income individuals financial assistance in purchasing food for themselves and their familie.). This program brings equitable access to farmers' markets by providing systems necessary for CalFresh/Food Stamps 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 and referral at our farmers' market CalFresh booths.
Budget
$77,000
Program Successes
-In the United States in 2016, Alchemist's partner markets accounted for 1.75% of SNAP (food stamps-known as CalFresh in California) spent at all farmers' markets nationwide! -Over $250,000 of CalFresh was issued to low-income shoppers at farmers' markets where Alchemist CDC facilitates CalFresh processing. Our markets contributed a significant portion of the $14.59 million of SNAP funds spent at farmers' markets last year. This, despite only accounting for 13 of the 3,500 farmers' markets (0.37%) that accept SNAP for payment.
-August 2017 was the largest single month of CalFresh sales Alchemist CDC has seen at our partner markets since we began operating CalFresh systems at farmers' markets, with $28,825 in CalFresh spent at these markets in one month alone.
-September 2017 saw the most CalFresh transactions in a single calendar month since Alchemist CDC began CalFresh operations at farmers' markets, with 1,829 transactions at our 11 partner sites.


Description
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 19 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.
Budget
$122,200
Program Successes
At a total of 19 farmers' markets and farm stands, Alchemist CDC facilitated over $90,000 in Market Match distributed to low-income families 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.
Description
Alchemist CDC is partnering with community residents to re-imagine community spaces and reclaim previously blighted spaces by transforming them into community assets. The Building Blocks program is currently comprised of two primary projects: Pansy Community Park and Garden and Green Alley Project. Pansy Community Park is 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. Additionally, Alchemist CDC is seeking to replicate this model of vacant space reclamation through community engagement, and foster the creation of communities that are responsive to residents' needs. This will help to create new and creative opportunities for use of vacant blighted lots.

The Green Alley Project aims to reclaim blighted public space through hands-on participation of residents. Alchemist CDC is working with residents who live adjacent to public alleys that have become blighted dumping grounds. Through our engagement with impacted residents, we have formed plans to transform these alley ways into vibrant community space through regular clean-up activities and installation of planter boxes or other amenities. If initial pilot projects are successful, we will work with partners and City of Sacramento to develop streamlined permitting process so that individuals and other community groups can replicate this model at additional sites.

Budget
$125,000
Program Successes
In May 2016, Sacramento City Council voted to approve disposition of a vacant parcel in the Oak Park neighborhood to Alchemist CDC for development of the Pansy Community Park and Garden. We are currently awaiting finalization of the deed transfer.
Description
Alchemist CDC is proud to partner with local Sacramento retailers to increase the offerings of fresh produce and other healthier items available in their stores, provide related nutrition/food preparation information and promotional support. Alchemist CDC is also conducting "Healthy Shopping on a Budget" educational store tours to neighborhood residents in order to introduce them to the healthy options at these retail sites and bridge any cultural barriers that may prevent all residents in a community from accessing healthy food options in their community. We also perform healthy food preparation demonstrations with tour participants. After completing the nutrition education session, participants receive $10 to spend on healthy foods at a partner store.
Budget
$27,300
Program Successes
-Alchemist CDC completed over 100 Healthy Shopping on a Budget store tours, disseminating useful healthy shopping information and $10 of free healthy groceries to each tour participant.
-We partner with 6 local small grocery stores and ethnic markets to highlight the healthy options at these stores, and provide tips for reading nutrition labels, and simple healthy meal preparation.
Description
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.
Budget
$50,000
Program Successes
In 2017, 20 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.