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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California


A non-profit farm in San Jose is providing an alternative to pricey vegetables.

The wealth gap in Silicon Valley is hitting an all-time high as tech companies continue to expand in the Bay Area.

The Bay Area has the fifth highest concentration of millionaires in the United States but according to the annual Silicon Valley Index the average income for Hispanics, who make up one in four Silicon Valley Residents, fell to $19,000 a year.

While upscale markets like Whole Foods are often the grocery store of choice, a non-profit farm in San Jose called Veggielution is providing an alternative to pricey vegetables.

“Whole Foods is very expensive, they have very nice vegetables but they’re very pricey and food here we try to make accessible, for example if you volunteer here on your own time you can bring back vegetables,” said Dave Chang, a farm hand at Veggielution.

For example, a summer squash from Veggielution cost $1.50 for a pound and a half. The exact same amount of squash from Whole Foods cost over five dollars.

Veggielution is located in the heart of San Jose in an area that houses many low-income families.

“We have a couple families that are on subsidized farm boxes so that facilitates them to have a fresh box of vegetables and they don’t have to worry about it being a strain on their family budget,” said Lydia Martinez, the community organizer at Vegielution.

Maria Gerronimo lives in San Jose and comes to the farm every week to get fresh produce.

“I thought it was going to cost a lot of money but I discovered it was only thirteen dollars and was like ‘wow!’” Gerronimo explained.

She takes her children to the farm with her where they get to play on the farm while she shops.

The farm also houses cooking classes to teach San Jose residents how to eat healthy.

“We have cooking classes called Nutrition Matters during the week so they’ll do an hour of nutrition class in the science center and then they’ll come over and do an hour of onsite cooking demonstration,” Martinez said.

From the cooking classes to the volunteer work, Veggielution is working to grow a community.

“We're a non-profit, a community farm," explained Colleen Hotchkiss, a farmhand at Veggielution. "We're building a community around that farm."

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