Alchemist CDC

A Catalyst for Change

Alchemist CDC - A Catalyst for Change

Alchemist staff, interns and volunteers are hard at work!

If you’d like to volunteer with Alchemist CDC at the farmers’ market, please contact us today!

Although our mandate as a community development organization is broad, demand has kept us focused on access to healthy food for all. We facilitate the use of CalFresh (food-stamp) benefits at farmers markets year round; in neighborhoods that lack fresh food, we help convenience stores learn to sell quality produce; and we work with a community garden in Oak Park. In addition, we promote access to healthy food — for example pre-screening folks for CalFresh (foodstamp) eligibility and promoting farmers markets in 6 different languages — and we provide education on eating fresh, seasonal, local foods. Access to healthy food helps those who eat better and contributes to the local economy, too.  To carry out this work and optimize our impact, we rely on wonderful volunteers and interns for a huge portion of our work and then depend on just 2.5 employees for the rest. You can support our work by donating any amount. Please click on the link in the right sidebar to donate online.


Market Match!


We have just launched this year’s Market Match season at the Laguna Gateway Market! Other markets will be joining in soon! Stay tuned for more information. Meanwhile, you can check out how the program helps CalFresh beneficiaries buy more fresh fruit and vegetables by clicking here.

We’re Famous!

Making Healthy Choices Convenient

Thanks to the California Endowment, Alchemist CDC is featured in the davida at ECMSacramento News and Review, in a big, bold, full page feature by Mike Blount covering our work converting convenience stores to healthy, produce-selling stores. Blount writes, “In the past, finding healthy foods in South Sacramento required a visit to a grocery store, which could be more than a mile away. One nonprofit is working to change that through a new program funded by the Building Healthy Communities grant of The California Endowment.” Click here for the full article.

Alchemist CDC: Connecting Families to Farmers

And thanks to the City of Elk Grove, Comstock’s, a regional business magazine, has featured our work at farmers’ markets, administering Alchemist in Comstock's 01-14Market Match, and converting convenience stores to healthier food sellers.  Click here for the full article.  In their “Capital Region Cares” section, the text quotes Elk Grove Mayor, Gary Davis, saying, “Alchemist CDC is helping our residents to make healthy choices with nutritious, locally grown produce from the region’s farms.” Elk Grove also sponsors our EBT-processing intern at the Laguna Farmers’ Market, so we are delighted to have their support and collaboration.

CA Food Policy Council Presents Legislative Report Card at State Capitol

To learn how legislation and legislators stack up on food and farming issues, read the CA Food Policy Council’s report It is the state’s first review of food and farm legislation with an eye to reform. It calls on the Legislature do much more. Better policies will make food and farms solutions to many challenges in the 21st century.
The CA Food Policy Council is led by Michael Dimmock (at the left in the photo), president of Roots of Change, a generous and supportive grantor to Alchemist CDC. “The California Food Policy Council is a collaborative of local food policy groups working to ensure that California’s food system reflects the needs of all of its communities. The purpose of the California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) is to build the capacity of local food policy bodies to find common ground on policy priorities, generate public support for those policies, educate policymakers on issues in our food system, and advocate for food systems change in California.” For more info:

Celebrity Chef and Healthy Food Advocate, Jamie Oliver Brings Healthy Cooking to Sacramento

Jamie Oliver  (seen here inside his big rig with Mayor Kevin Johnson and Guerilla Gardener Ron Finley) is in town, and his organization is providing free cooking lessons. His local crew includes former Alchemist intern, Everett Lacey. The California Endowment and Mayor Kevin Johnson launched the program at a press conference today – lots of our BHC friends were in attendance. And Guerilla Gardener Ron Finley was there too! Jamie’s great big trailer, with an amazing kitchen inside, will be in Oak Park/South Sacramento soon to offer classes and spread the word about how to prepare fresh food. Sign up for classes online. And check out Jamie’s Facebook for some good-looking recipes!

Alchemist’s Annual Vegan Dinner a Delicious Success!

Thanks to all our guests for a wonderful evening! Thirty-three people attended, and we raised over $1500! 

This year’s vegan fundraising dinner, prepared by Chef  Joshua Ploeg and Chef’s assistant Rene Strawser featured fresh produce from local farmers M&L Campuzano, Pao Khang, Phan Farm, Busalacchi Farm and Toua Khang, as well as candied kumquats from Harvest Sacramento.

Fundraising through events like this one is especially important as it provides unrestricted funds for operating that our grants don’t cover. It’s the glue that holds our work together. Thanks for your support!

Market Match will be back in 2014 and Alchemist CDC will be facilitating once again.

The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) will expand the popular and effective Market Match Program this year. Last year, in 2013, California’s healthy food SNAP (CalFresh/food-stamps) incentive program, ran at over 130 farmers’ markets and created over $1 million in revenue for produce farmers, attracted new CalFresh shoppers to the farmers markets, and added nutrition and flavor to the diets of market matchlow-income shoppers.

Alchemist CDC works as a funded partner of the Ecology Center to facilitate the implementation of the Market Match program at 13+ farmers’ markets in Sacramento and Yolo Counties. We want to make the biggest possible impact – get more customers to the farmers, get more fresh food to low-income folks, and promote the use of CalFresh benefits at farmers markets – with the funds provided, so we need to raise significantly more funds for Market Match. Customers often tell us how delighted they are to have the additional fresh and healthy food – just before they rush off to buy baskets of strawberries, a bag of fresh walnuts, or a pound of jalapeños. We hate to turn people away and tell them the program has ended for the year when the funds run out.

You can help extend the benefits of Market Match to more people, help those who need the assistance to get fresh produce, and help more farmers increase sales of their quality foods. Please go to our donation page, where you can write “Market Match” in the notes field to earmark your donation for Market Match funds.

Market Match – Making Fresh Affordable!

Market Match logo

Making Fresh Affordable

Market Match

Helps CalFresh Recipients Stretch
Food Dollars at Farmers’ Markets

From May through September 2013, fourteen farmers’ markets in Sacramento and Yolo counties will offer Market Match bonuses, giving thousands of CalFresh recipients increased buying power to purchase fresh fruits & vegetables from local farmers.

CalFresh provides eligible families with benefits to purchase food and food-bearing plants by using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Market Match offers CalFresh recipients an even greater opportunity to use their benefits for fresh produce. CalFresh customers received an extra $5 that can be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts when they spent at least $10 with CalFresh at the farmers’ market.

The Market Match incentive is being administered in Sacramento and Yolo Counties by Alchemist CDC (in partnership with Roots of Change and local farmers’ markets) with funds from the CA Department of Food and Agriculture. [With the exception of the Oak Park Farmers’ Market, which offered a 100% ($1 for $1) match with funding from Rabobank].

Click here for a list of participating farmers’ markets.