After arriving at the local grocery store, you may be intimidated into changing your tune. Navigating the aisles of produce can be daunting for those who are clueless in the kitchen, and paying for fresh fruits and vegetables can leave quite a dent in your wallet. But don’t let a hectic afternoon in the grocery store stop you from eating healthier. A perfect alternative to the linoleum flooring and bright fluorescent lights of a supermarket lies just a block away from campus in the form of an urban garden.
Located on Bill Robertson Lane, the Village Marketplace is a project funded by Community Services Unlimited (CSU) a non-profit organization geared towards helping communities in Los Angeles address problems of inequality and unsustainability.
The kind people of the Village Marketplace serve local restaurants and caterers with fresh, seasonal and organic produce at competitive prices.
By only buying produce from small local farms or harvesting from CSU’s own mini-farms, the Village Marketplace helps increase access to healthy food in the LA community while supporting marginalized farmers.
This is all good and dandy for the businesses, but at the end of the day, your fridge is still empty. How can locals directly get a hold of all this fresh food?
Gotta Bag It Up
With CSU’s latest endeavor, LA residents can subscribe to the Farm Fresh Produce Bag Program and receive a bag brimming with locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Bags are picked up weekly and come in two sizes: small (serves 1-2 people) and large (serves 3-4 people). At as low as $10 a week for a full grocery bag of fresh organic produce, CSU’s prices definitely beat the local grocery chains.
Though there are pick up spots as close as right by the Coliseum and even on campus at the United University Church, the Village Marketplace also offers a produce bag delivery option. Check out this map to see if your home is an eligible delivery location.
Panic! In the Kitchen
So you subscribed and had your groceries delivered straight to your door. Warm feelings are passed all around—you’ve shown your support for the Los Angeles community and you have a bag full of fresh produce to show for it.
Wait, an eggplant? Sweet potatoes? Kale? As you pull out your new loot, you realize that your cooking expertise really does stop at ramen noodles. Before you have a minor mental breakdown on your kitchen floor (or at the very least bemoan your loss of ten dollars), check your email.
Every week, CSU sends all its subscribers recipes and how-to’s so that all the items in the produce bags can be fully utilized in delicious and healthy meals. Subscribers also receive newsletters with articles on the nutritional value and health benefits of featured produce bag items.
Being healthy never felt so good.