Logically, if something is broken, people tend to throw them away. However at the Oak Park Fix-it Cafe, they are trying to change that tradition.
City Rising is a documentary featuring the effects gentrification has in California cities. Gentrification is the process of revitalizing a lower income area to meet the needs of the middle class, and it is typical that the current residents get displaced because they can’t pay the rising prices.
One of the cities featured in this documentary is Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, specifically in the revitalized area rebranded the Triangle District.
Oak Park was originally a suburb consisting of predominantly white families and a handful of black and Mexican-American families until the 1940s. After World War II, community growth decreased dramatically, forcing white business owners and families to sell their properties. Minorities quickly settled into Oak Park after that because it was one of the few neighborhoods that allowed non-white homeowners.
By the late 1960’s the California State Fair Commission decided it would be better to move the fairgrounds into northern Sacramento, which was the primary source of Oak Park’s economic activity. The documentary explains how Oak Park’s continued economic decline increases crime rates and police presence and eventually adopted the reputation it had in the 1980’s.
This all changed in the 2000’s when the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and the St. Hope Development Corporation collaborated in turning downtown into an economic engine, starting with renovating the Woodruff Hotel and Guild Theater into lofts and small businesses.
“This project is a much-needed catalyst that will boost the economy and vitality of the Oak Park community,” said former council member Lauren Hammond.
However, not everyone in the community agrees with that.
The founder of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, Tanya Faison, is concerned on how changes in the community will affect its current residents as newer residents begin to flood into the area.
“The area, which used to be mostly, predominantly black… I go there and I don’t even see black people anymore,” Faison expressed in the documentary. “Our mayor has taken it and flipped it and renovated it. People are being criminalized. People are being paid to move out of their apartments.”
Balancing the needs of residents while also trying to stimulate economic activity through a renovation is a struggle for cities, Manuel Pastor, director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity explained. “How can you get in the economic activity that you need to provide to your residents? Public investment is a sign of our public commitment to particular areas and particular people.”
The documentary KCET City Rising: Documentary on Gentrification and Displacement can be watched here.
Recently, Oak Park Sol held a free demonstration cooking class for the community. The goal was to build a healthy community and educate the public on healthy food.
“The purpose of the Oak Park Farmers Market is to provide a space for community members around Oak Park and within Oak Park to actually access healthy fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese,” said Joany Titherington, Oak Park Farmers Market Manager.
During the beginning of the day, a cooking demonstration was being held to show shoppers different dishes they could make with their farm-fresh ingredients.
Suburban Harvest had a booth selling vinegar, and The Drunken Loaf sold various types of bread. Heavy Dirt Farm had a vendor selling lettuces, strawberries, and herbs along with many other farmers, including RHJ Organics who offered strawberries as well.
“I am selling all sorts of mixed fruits and vegetables here at the Oak Park Farmers Market because I love the Oak Park community,” said Sarah McCamnan, a farmer with Heavy Dirt.
The market also had a live band playing at the festival, under a patio with tables to eat at. There were food stands to buy from as well as tables set up handing out pamphlets about other programs in the park.
The farmers market will be every Saturday until October, starting at 9:00 am and running until 12:00 pm. Different farmers come by every week to sell their produce offering different options to residents of the farm fresh foods this season.
On March 6th, in the chambers of the Capital of California, District 7 Assemblymember Kevin McCarty named community representative Tamika L’Ecluse as his “Woman of the Year”.
L’Ecluse has a 13-year history working with children at the early childhood age, roughly age 6 and younger, and reducing African-American child mortality is a focus of her efforts as she currently works as the program Manager for the Greater Sacramento Urban League.
“We can’t forget our most vulnerable and often that’s our children,” said L’Ecluse. “It all comes down to the children and making sure they’re in an environment where they can thrive.”
L’Eclise has also volunteered as a board member, Vice President, and President of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association, and as an appointed member of the Sacramento Promise Zone Resident Council. Although her background is in work with children, her main emphasis is on helping the community at large.
“Supporting the people in the community is definitely my number one priority,” L’Eclise says.“I’ve always grown up in struggling neighborhoods and I think it gives me a more grounded perspective.”
L’Eclise has advocated for women’s rights, including reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and gender equity. In 2000 she campaigned for marriage equality against Proposition 22.
“Tamika L’Ecluse is a bright light in the Sacramento region, giving inspiration and hope to people in our community and throughout the 7th Assembly District,” commented Assemblymember McCarty. “I am pleased to honor Ms. L’Ecluse for her commitment and dedication to help students maximize their potential, to build a strong and diverse workforce and to improve the lives of residents throughout Sacramento County.”
The Yisrael Family Farm is offering cooking classes for seniors, families, and teenagers in February, March, and April at the Oak Park Community Center on 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The class are free to attend and offers multiple time slots for each age group, aiming at ease and accessibility for the general public.
“The type of audience I hope to see at the class is the kind that eats,” says cofounder Judith Yisrael. “I’m looking forward to meeting people who are ready and willing to try new foods and are not afraid to be pushed outside their comfort zone.”
The Yisrael Family Farm was founded by husband and wife team Judith and Chanowk Yisrael in 2007 and is based in the Oak Park area of South Sacramento. The farm was created in part, according the website, in response to the declaration of Oak Park and nearby areas as a ‘food desert’, what the U.S. Department of Agriculture declares as “a low-income census tract where either a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store”.
The farm, run by Chanowk, Judith and their children, now has over 40 fruit trees and free-roaming chickens. Since its inception, Yisrael’s have founded programs and community outreach efforts, such as We Diggit Urban Gardens, aimed at building gardens for South Sacramento residents at no cost through funding from the California Endowment, and Project GOOD (Growing Our Own Destiny), an educational outreach program for youth field trips and hands-on events. Project GOOD is also the program through which the upcoming cooking classes will be run.
In addition to specific recipes and dishes, the class will teach food safety, nutrition, and basic cooking technique. Each different class will also cater to their respective audience.
“The series for seniors will focus on delicious meals and snacks that won’t take too much time while Family Night Out series will bring families together in the kitchen and focus on teamwork and collaboration,” Judith told Access Sacramento. “Our TGIF Teens will focus on great tasting easy to make meal ideas, such as our Three Sister Tacos and homemade pico de gallo!”
The Seniors Group will be meeting Tuesdays from 10:30am – 12:30pm on February 7th and 21st, March 7th and 21st, and April 4th and 18th.
The Families Night Out group meets Wednesdays from 5pm – 7pm on February 1st and 15th, March 1st, 15th, and 29th, April 12th, 19th, and 26th.
Lastly, the Teen Scene group will be meeting on Fridays from 5pm – 7pm on February 10th and 24st, March 10th and 24th, and April 14th, 21st, and 28th.
The Oak Park Farmer’s Market is a big part of the Sacramento community. This was their last event for the season. Let check up on them to see what they been up to!
Volunteers are needed to pitch in for a Hallo “Clean” Community Clean Up Day and lend a hand throughout the Oak Park Community. Clean up restoration activities will be happening all over Oak Park from MLK Blvd, 8Th Ave, 44th St, and 12th Ave. The Oak Park Neighborhood Association plans to bring volunteers together to clean neighborhood streets on Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 10a.m -2p.m starting at the Oak Park Community Center at 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This special event is sponsored by Council member Jay Schenirer, the City of Sacramento Development Department, the City of Sacramento Neighborhood Services, the City of Sacramento Solid Waste, the City of Sacramento Parking Enforcement, and Republic Disposal. For any questions, contact James Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 832-3538 to RSVP or if you have questions.
On Saturday October 29th, the Oak Park Farmer’s market will host the “Harvest Festival”, a Halloween-themed event. It will take place from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This event is in partnership with the Neighborworks Homeownership Center.
Oak Park Farmers Market is a place where many diverse groups of local farmers come to vend their fresh fruits and vegetables and more, to the food desert within Oak Park. The market also provides a variety of interactive activities each week including live music from local bands and activities for children.
The Oak Park Farmer’s Market is located at McClatchy Park. This event will have many fun activities for children such as a scavenger hunt, zombie tag, and boo toss. They will also have many fun and creative artistic activities such as apple pop making, cider making, face painting, and pumpkin painting and even a raffle with giveaways. Make sure to wear a good costume because they also will have a costume contest.
“Yeah, I’ll definitely be heading out to this Harvest Festival and taking my kids to go have fun,” said Esperanza Mercado when asked if she will go to this event. “It definitely seems like something enjoyable for me and my kids.”
For more information please go to https://www.nwsac.org/