The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation will complete its THRIVE Campus, which will consist of an urban farm built and managed by local residents and students; a commercial kitchen business incubator for mostly low-income or minority culinary entrepreneurs; and a marketplace made from retrofitted shipping containers to sell produce from the farm and local entrepreneurs. These upcoming additions to the Campus will enhance an already opened community and cultural events space (The Arts & Recreation Center (ARC)), an arts charter school opening in fall 2017 for local middle and high school students; and a public wifi hub.
Opa-locka, like many communities plagued by high poverty, crime, and low educational level attainment, is a food desert. The small city has two discount grocery stores to serve its 16,000 residents, but many more fast food joints, corner stores, gas stations, and walk-up counters where people can easily grab pre-packed, processed, and quickly prepared, yet mostly unhealthy foods. Until there are accessible and affordable alternatives, the cycle of bad eating habits and correlated health problems will continue into future generations.
The need for local agriculture and healthy food opportunities in the community is great, and Opa-locka has an advantage over many other urban food deserts: its location and climate in South Florida can sustain a variety of rotating produce during a long outdoor growing season.The THRIVE Campus project aims to create an urban farm-to-table sustainable model that effectively addresses this challenge and opportunity.