Non-profit retail operation aggregates from urban growers and producers
FoodCaresBOSTON, a program of Baraka Community Wellness, has opened a produce-based retail storefront at the Boston Public Market. Dubbed “FoodCares Urban Market,” the stall features fruits, vegetables, and value-added products from a variety of Boston area growers and small businesses.
Baraka Community Wellness is a non-profit headquartered in Roxbury, MA that engages, educates, and empowers individuals and families in at-risk communities to improve their own health and wellness and close the gap of health disparities. Founder and Executive Director Raheem Baraka is a seasoned wellness professional and health advocate, previously serving as the Director of Fitness for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Community Health Centers. He is actively involved in population health efforts, holding positions including: delegate for Food Solutions New England, Healthy Boston Ambassador for a joint project between Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Alliance for Community Health, board member for Health Care Without Harm, and chairperson of The American Heart Association’s New England Health Equity Consortium.
Last year Baraka and his team successfully launched FoodCaresBOSTON, a Baraka Community Wellness initiative that provides free healthy food and educational resources to families and children in low-income communities, specifically within public housing. Since the summer of 2016, the program has distributed 161,882 pounds of healthy food to 2,753 family members, including 1,744 children in need
The Urban Market retail presence at the Boston Public Market will support these food access efforts while simultaneously creating financial opportunities for small local producers. The stall showcases everything from tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers to Chinese broccoli, edamame, tatsoi, and dandelion greens all sourced from urban growers including Urban Farming Institute, Hannah Farm, Nubia Farms, ReVision Farms, and several farmers from the Three Rivers Farm Alliance. In addition to fresh produce, FoodCares Urban Market features value-added products made by local entrepreneurs such as spices from OKO Naturals and a range of sauces and spreads from Fresh Zen, No Joke Smoke, and many more.
“FoodCares Urban Market is honored to partner with the Boston Public Market to showcase and highlight many urban and local growers as well as the food entrepreneurs in Boston,” said Raheem Baraka, Executive Director of Baraka Community Wellness. “Additionally this incredible relationship helps our organization bring the conversation of local food access, food insecurity issues and the importance of stimulating urban economies to create equitable opportunities for the whole of Boston to the forefront.”
“The impact of FoodCares Urban Market is twofold,” said Cheryl Cronin, CEO of the Boston Public Market. “Their unique stall concept supports the economic development of a variety of hyper-local food producers, and increases access to fresh healthy food both inside and outside Market walls. We are proud to partner with an organization whose mission aligns so closely with ours, and are excited to offer our customers a range of products grown and produced right here in Boston.”
Click here to read Boston Magazine’s feature on our newest vendor, and stop by the FoodCares Urban Market stall (located next to Soluna Garden Farm) to learn more about their community initiatives and see what fresh, local food they have in store!