Irvine Urban Garden and Food Bank fight hunger

IRVINE, California – At Second Harvest Food Bank in the parking lot in Irvine, all good things start at their roots.

What you need to know

  • Alegría Fresh, Second Harvest Food Bank and Bank of America have teamed up in an innovative food security and resilience initiative to grow produce and create jobs in an urban area
  • Alegría Fresh grows ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich products with no waste in 3,000 unused square meters of the parking lot of the Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine
  • Product comes in $ 30 worth of FarmBoxxes that Second Harvest can use to purchase up to £ 85. of groceries per box – or an estimated over 300,000 pounds a year
  • Every FarmBoxx is delivered on site every Friday

But where are these roots?

Some of these roots are in the “regenerative organic” planters called SoxxBoox Gro Systems. They are above ground and the farmers who take care of them are nutrient growers.

The managing director of Alegría Fresh is Erik Cutter. He is able to grow ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich products with no waste in the 3,000 unused square meters of the parking lot.

“We have now created the ability to grow incredibly nutritious, premium, top quality foods right on top of it. I mean what’s wrong with that? I mean, no excuses, ”said Cutter.

The root of the company is helping the community. Cutter and Alegría Fresh have formed a public-private partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank and Bank of America.

Products ship in pre-sold $ 30 FarmBoxes on Fridays, which Second Harvest can use to buy up to £ 85 of groceries per carton – or an estimated over £ 300,000 per year – to distribute to the community.

This is the equivalent of around 250,000 meals.

“I said you know the lowest hanging fruit is really nutrition. People don’t have access to this type of food – it’s a single word. So my goal is to provide access wherever we can. And it turns out that parking lots are the land of the future for farms, ”said Cutter.

The pandemic has weighed on food banks at the national level. Second Harvest distributed over 26 million pounds of food from March 1 to July 31 of this year, which is nearly £ 13 million more than they distributed over the same period in 2019.

While the state’s unemployment rate is 15 percent and the prices for grocery stores rise to 5.6 percent compared to the same period last year, the initiative offers jobs and food.

Cathy Wayman, who lives in Costa Mesa, has been subscribing to the initiative for about a month. She looks forward to her Friday deliveries, and besides knowing that some of the excess produce will be distributed back to the community, helping to give back to the less fortunate means so much.

“Just knowing that it helps people who are unemployed, lost their jobs and lack access to these amazing products that some people can afford just means the world we can help,” said Wayman.

Cutter is committed to bringing urban agriculture to more spaces and communities.

“Our goal is to educate people and show them the opportunities that these types of farms can give everywhere,” he said.

This proves that there is always a room to bloom.

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