Alchemist Community Development Corporation was founded in 2004 by three graduate students in the UC Davis Masters program in Community Development: Wendy Carter, Lisa Nelson and Chris Aguirre. As students in the field of community development and residents of downtown Sacramento, they were intrigued by the urban challenges and opportunities arising from the growth and development of the city. They felt that that all residents should have a voice in, and the opportunity to benefit from, community development in Sacramento. They also believed that the resources of the University could be shared to support the revival and preservation of the rich ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity in Sacramento’s historic and unique urban neighborhoods.
Since it’s inception, Alchemist has been focused on food access issues. Based on results from a visioning workshop conducted by Alchemist in the Alkali/Mansion Flats neighborhood, we opened our first Urban Farm Stand in 2007. Urban Farm Stands bring fresh, locally grown produce at affordable prices to underserved neighborhoods. The Urban Farm Stand model was developed in response to those residents expressing a need for improved access to healthy food in their neighborhood after the closure of an Albertson’s grocery store left the area with no source for fresh produce. Based on the success of this project, Alchemist received funding in partnership with Sacramento Mutual Housing Association (SMHA) to re-open the Alkali Flat Urban Farm Stand, and expand our services to six additional locations over the course of 2½ years.
In the years that followed we have continued to be responsive to residents and community partners that continue to express a need for improved access to healthy foods through projects such as healthy convenience store transformations and CalFresh processing at Farmers’ Markets, combined with opportunities for youth development and nutrition education.