News & Blog

Food Access and Cultural Inclusion

     From the rise of farm-to-table restaurants to the frequency of farmer's markets in cities across the country, the local food movement has expanded significantly in recent years. In states throughout the country, nonprofit organizations and small businesses are working hard to decrease food miles and provide an alternative to corporate food. However, these organizations and businesses often struggle to effectively address issues of access and cultural diversity. Rachel Slocum, an environmental justice advocate, has noted, “In alternative food practice is the possibility to make food production more ecologically sustainable, just and humane and, more broadly, to enable thinking about ethical relations. But community food efforts currently also enable an intimacy that results in collective sadness because it is based on the closeness of similar people.” The plethora of organizations, individuals, and businesses that comprise Rhode Island's local food infrastructure have done incredible work to increase access to healthy, local foods and support small-scale farmers and food producers. However, many of these markets, restaurants, and small businesses have been slow to address the needs of underserved and underrepresentative communities.  

     Here at Urban Greens one of our seven guiding values is Equal Access, which we define as: “Every person, regardless of economic or social status, deserves access to healthy, affordable food that is also culturally relevant and produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.” Urban Greens is dedicated to prioritizing local sourcing, and we are excited to work with farmers and producers in Rhode Island. At the same time, Urban Greens will be a full-scale grocery store commited to offering products that are representative of the diverse cultures and traditions in the state. As a large scale buyer, Urban Greens will be able to incentivize local farmers to diversify their product selection and experiment with different crops in order to better meet the needs of communities in West and South Providence.

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Recipe: My Chef Lara's Rote Grütze!


If you want a dish that screams summer time this is the one! This is a summer time staple dessert in Germany, and takes advantage of the fresh berries of the season. The flavors of the berries comes out loud and clear, and while this is definitely a dessert, it is not overly sweet. Enjoy the flavors of summer!


Rote Grütze (German Red Fruit Pudding)



Yield: 6


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Conversation: Elizabeth Hoover

We recently had the chance to sit down with Elizabeth Hoover to chat about food justice and inclusion in the local food movement. Elizabeth Hoover is the Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University, where she teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, indigenous food movements, and community engaged research. Professor Hoover is currently working on a book manuscript entitled “The River is In Us: Fighting Toxins in a Mohawk Community,” which is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research. Her second book project, “From ‘Garden Warriors’ to ‘Good Seeds:’ Indigenizing the Local Food Movement” explores Native American farming and gardening projects around the country, the successes and challenges faced by these organizations, the ways in which participants define and envision concepts like food sovereignty, and the importance of heritage seeds. More information on this exciting project can be found on her blog.


The local food movement in the United States has, in large part, struggled with issues of inclusion, access, and outreach over the past few decades. For example, whereas many organizations have encouraged customers to "buy local," they have failed to take into account the importance of promoting and increasing access to culturally appropriate foods that might not grow nearby.


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$384,500 from 98 investors!

Your Store, Your Investment

A unique way to earn a return on investment and support your community.


Community Investment Campaign Recap

Since our June Investment Campaign and with support from over 98 investors, we raised over $384,500 in community investments! That means that we've raised almost 2/3 of the equity needed to make sure Urban Greens not only opens, but thrives as a community owned and operated business. The success of this campaign is a testament both to the impact of community capital and to growing excitement around the Co-op. 

Without so many committed and excited individuals, we would never have made it this far. Thank you!

It's not too late to invest! 

Urban Greens is ready to be an anchor community business:

  • A leader in local sourcing
  • Dedicated to being inclusive: from leadership and hiring, to local food sourcing, to our Food For All program
  • Offering farmers market quality, 7 days a week

An opportunity to invest where you live and see your investment grow.

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