Transforming Military Bases Into Community Farms

An aerial view of the former Alameda NAS– the former military base was closed under BRAC in 1997 and is now a community farm project.

Alameda Naval Air Station experienced its heyday during WWII and somewhat during the Cold War. Under the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC), the base was closed in 1997 but a portion of the land was still set aside to be utilized by non-profits and government agencies for “public benefit conveyance”. The closing of the base allowed for the urban area to further develop and expand within city limits.

Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) mission is to assist in providing the homeless with homes, job training and other services. The APC Farm was brought about due to the city being located in the midst of a food desert. A food desert is considered an area that has minimal amounts of produce and nutritious foods available. Sadly, these regions are often in low income areas where medical insurance is an unattainable dream and preservative packed foods are the norm. Upon learning of the community’s food desert status in 2008, the APC has been active in educating the community about the benefits of healthy eating. The APC is now active in the local farmer’s market, provides produce to local restaurants and serves the community kitchen.

The APC has been proactive in its mission and even traveled to Philadelphia to assist in drafting the Youth Food Bill of Rights.

Military bases are normally seen as positive economic stimulation for a city–the increased populations help local commerce. Often when bases close communities suffer from the population loss and the revenue generated by being near a base. The APC is what’s right with communities. Taking these defunct economic stimulants and transforming them into community builders will further secure a community’s future. Hopefully more bases impacted by the BRAC program are transformed into burgeoning community projects.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
Source: Organic Consumers

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