“Transforming the Hood for Good!” is the motto of the Yisrael Family Farm, a Sacramento based organization started by two people; Chanowk and Judith Yisrael. Chawnok says that a while before beginning the Yisrael Family Farm, he heard rumors going around about a national economic collapse.
“I just designed the scenario if it did happen,” says Chanowk. “What if I was cut off from grocery stores? How would I support myself? How would I support my family? That’s when I became more self-sufficient.”
A food desert is an urban area or neighborhood with limited or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables within a 1-mile radius. Regionally, parts of Oak Park along with Land Park, Florin, sections in Carmichael, Rancho Cordova, Rio Linda and Antelope are considered food deserts.
Living in Oak Park, Chanowk realized that his neighborhood was a food desert. That’s when he first thought that he could begin a farm in his backyard. Initially, Chanowk wasn’t successful but still he pushed forward and studied urban farming. Over many attempts, Chawnok began to get the gist of urban farming and it finally started to bloom.
The Yisrael farm currently includes many types of organic foods and vegetables such as fruit trees, persimmons, figs, cacti, and more. Now, Chanowk and his wife Judith are able to serve their neighborhood the fruits and vegetables that they grow and produce in their backyard.
“Some people say they can’t believe they’re in Oak Park,” Chanowk says. “The stigma of Oak Park – people think someone might kill them if they come here.”
Chawnok and Judith annually host a farm-to-fork event with five course meals for only $20, giving a chance for the people in his food desert neighborhood to try out fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price. Not only do they offer fresh food to their neighborhood, but they also gives volunteer opportunities for the area youth. Their volunteer program is a great way to bring various people, especially youth, together to learn about urban farming and continue to help the city they live in. The Yisrael’s believe this a is a way to “Transform the Hood for good!”
The Yisrael Family Farm’s ultimate goal is to change the neighborhood they live in, and as well as other neighborhoods that are considered food deserts, in the Sacramento area in way that everyone has access to fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price.
This month, the Yisrael family farm is bringing an award winning documentary film to Sacramento called SEED. SEED is a documentary revealing the dramatic loss of seed diversity and the motivation to restore future food. A screening of this film will be shown at the Yisrael family farm if they can get enough reservations. For information about how to buy tickets for this event, click here.