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Dig Deep Farms

Dig Deep Farms (DDF) was founded in 2010 (just a year prior to joining the Food Dignity research project as a community partner site) by residents of the Ashland and Cherryland communities of unincorporated Alameda County in partnership with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the non-profit Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League (DSAL). DDF is a non-profit, social enterprise founded on the conviction that integrated community involvement, healthy food access, and job creation raise the quality of life––individually and collectively––of a community. Dig Deep Farms launched with the vision of becoming a network of integrated food businesses that provides access to healthy food and jobs in the local community where access to both has historically been limited. Through the course of their participation in the Food Dignity research project, DDF’s program services included the following: 1.) the development of two neighborhood production gardens and one large-scale orchard, berry, and produce farm; 2.) the development and operational success of farm stands in partnership with the Alameda County Social Services Agency, through which they provide access to fresh, organic, and healthy foods at two different Social Service and County Administration buildings, and in part source pesticide-free produce from small farmers in the Central Valley to support local and sustainable agriculture; 3.) the development of food-hub style entrepreneurial pipeline opportunities for food-related businesses, groundbreaking on a food hub site designed to increase food access through area-wide distribution; and 4.) the creation of DDF retail food products featuring DDF produce. At its core, DDF added a unique core and conviction to the mix of community partners in the Food Dignity research project, by presenting itself as believing that community-engaged sustainable food systems work can be an integral part of effective, innovative community policing.  As Dig Deep Farms self-proclaims about the starting line for its unique vision: “Residents wanted to start community gardens. The Sheriff’s Office wanted to reduce crime and recidivism. Dig Deep Farms blossomed from the alchemy between the two.”

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