By Chinyelu Mwaafrika, Kheprw Institute Intern
With the loss of Double 8 foods in our communities last year, the people searched for an alternative means of obtaining affordable produce without having to drive all over creation to access them. From that need, the Community Controlled Food Initiative (CCFI) was born.
CCFI is a community led initiative that was started by the Kheprw Institute shortly after the closing of many Double 8 stores throughout the city. Although initial support for the initiative was small, it has grown exponentially since its inception.
Eulalia Johnson, another member of the CCFI team said, “I was very excited about the food feast and next event I’m going to be even more excited because we’re getting more people.”
CCFI partners with local gardeners/farmers to provide produce, so that not only do community members receive fresh, affordable food, but local growers profit off of their produce which strengthens the local economy.
The amount of money you pay for food depends entirely on your household income. A single person that makes less than $22,000 a year will pay $12 a month and someone making more will pay $25 (EBT/food stamps are accepted). Everyone gets the same amount of food which they pick up at Kheprw Institute on the second Saturday of the month, where they can also participate in a cooking demonstration and a shared community meal.
Mimi Zakem, of the CCFI organizing team said, “The first CCFI Food distribution was just a beautiful thing, and it was really special to partner with a grower from the neighborhood so we had food grown by community, distributed by community, purchased by community, eaten by community. We really have a wonderful grassroots thing going here and we’re excited to keep growing it.”
So far, CCFI has tremendous momentum behind it, and from the looks of it they have nowhere to go but up. Paulette Fair, a member of CCFI’s management committee said, “I was so proud of meeting a bunch of residents and community people who came together to bring produce fresh off the farm into our community.”
Tysha Ahmad, another committee member said, “Our goal is to continue to grow so that people can continue to come and be able to pick up healthy food.”