Signature Projects

CCREC established core design principles for regional "Signature Projects" that aimed to embody best practices and become long-term laboratories for testing the efficacy of equity-oriented collaborative community-based research. See below for the details on the "Signature Projects."

Growing Equity booklet Dec15 2014 v2.pdf

Growing Equity from the Ground Up

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

- George Washington Carver

Growing Equity from the Ground Up will establish an urban gardening and farming training program to prepare community leaders to advance equity. The project aims to become the premiere national site for developing expert gardeners and farmers who are cross-trained in the knowledge and skills needed to make sustainable, healthy food production the foundation for strategic and comprehensive interventions that address the multiple interconnected economic, employment, educational, environmental, health, and nutritional challenges facing urban communities.

Apprentices will learn to transform urban communities literally from the ground up, taking direction for building healthy and sustainable communities by restoring the fertility of the land, growing and distributing organic food in an ecologically and economically sustainable way, and living a healthy lifestyle. Growing Equity from the Ground Up will not simply create the nation’s most comprehensive urban garden and farm network and urban ecological horticulture program, but it will leverage the resources of its graduates and affiliated organizations to untangle the policy knots that bind responses to the many problems undermining the wellbeing of urban communities.

Project Partners

The program is grounded in a network of established food justice organizations in Oakland, CA, and builds on nearly fifty years of experience of the internationally recognized CASFS Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture program at UC Santa Cruz, as well as the innovative approaches of the University of California Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC).

Oakland, CA, Community Partners:

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project

Alameda County Office of Education Project EAT

Allen Temple Baptist Church

Bay Localize

City Slicker Farms

Communities for a Better Environment

Community Food & Justice Coalition

Emerald Cities Collaborative - Oakland Council

Food First (Institute for Food & Development Policy)

HOPE Collaborative (Health for Oakland’s People & Environment)

Merritt College Urban Agroecology Program

Oakland Food Policy Council

People’s Grocery

Phat Beets

Planting Justice


Public Health Institute

PUEBLO (People United for a Better Life in Oakland)

Roots of Change

Youth Uprising

University of California Partners:

Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC)

Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS)

UC Cooperative Extension, Alameda County

Project Goals

Graduates of the Growing Equity from the Ground Up program will possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to develop programs that can achieve the following outcomes:

  • Reclaim unused land and restore it to productive purposes
  • Establish economically and environmentally sustainable food systems
  • Mitigate environmental hazards
  • Reduce urban blight
  • Eliminate food deserts
  • Foster economic and employment development
  • Expand healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • Strengthen civic engagement
  • Develop school gardens and farm to school programs
  • Improve diets and multiply healthy activities for youth
  • Expand educational and employment opportunities for youth
  • Reduce neighborhood violence
  • Enhance healthy neighborhood pride

As an inter/national training program, Growing Equity from the Ground Up seeks to prepare leaders who will be capable of transforming urban landscapes, improving nutrition, health, and educational outcomes, and upending economic and social structures that currently reinforce inequities for low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse urban populations.

yace booklet_26FEB2014_FINAL.pdf

Young Adult Civic Engagement (YACE) Project

"We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community."

-Cesar Chavez

The Central California Young Adult Civic Engagement (YACE) Project will establish a Community Leaders Fellowship program for young adults recruited from low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities from the eastern border of the San Joaquin valley across to the central coast of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties. This often-neglected region has many shared demographic, economic, and social characteristics that can be mobilized to access a high level of latent political power that can be strategically deployed to meet the pressing needs of these communities.

YACE was developed through an in-depth, two-year long collaborative process facilitated by the University of California Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC). Three research centers and more than 20 community organizations participated in analyzing the needs and strengths in the region and developing YACE as a strategic intervention to create more equitable communities. Beginning with a two-year pilot phase, the YACE Fellowship Program is aimed at increasing the civic engagement of 18-30 year olds in the Central California region by preparing a new generation of Community Leaders with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to bridge social, cultural, and economic divides, to utilize data and research in organizing efforts, and to foster healthy, caring, and sustainable communities. At the same time, YACE will enhance the capacity of key community-based organizations to educate and mobilize community members typically left out of public deliberations and policy formation about issues of central importance to their wellbeing.

Project Goals

1. Recruit and train two cohorts of 10 young adult Community Leaders.

2. Enhance the capacities and effectiveness of the four host community organizations to address issues negatively impacting the social indicators of health in their communities.

3. Conduct research and generate knowledge about opportunities for and barriers to increased civic engagement for young adults in the region.

4. Conduct research and generate knowledge about transforming the school-to-prison pipeline and about improving reentry for formerly incarcerated young adults in the host communities.

5. Build a “Data-Hub” to support a regional network of community organizations and young adult activists seeking to advance equity for low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities.

6. Test the efficacy of the Fellowship design and inform best practices for community-university partnerships seeking to enhance civic engagement among under-represented populations.