What is Veggielution's Eastside Grange?
Veggielution’s Eastside Grange will be a community food hub connecting local food entrepreneurs and residents to economic opportunities and events that celebrate East San José. Modeled as a 21st century grange, a historical term for a country house with farm buildings, our Eastside Grange project will bring the community together at the historic City of San José Emma Prusch Farm Park through an outdoor market; cooking classes; a monthly barn dance; a commercial incubator kitchen and work space; mentorship opportunities; and technical assistance and micro-enterprise workshops. In an effort to help East San José food entrepreneurs grow their businesses and then connect those businesses to local consumers, we will bring a food truck/trailer onsite at Veggielution to serve as a micro-incubator for local food entrepreneurs.
Based on the input from a local advisory committee and successful San José food entrepreneurs we will design a diverse roster of programs to support and complement the incubator kitchen. In collaboration with SJMade, we will foster mentorship opportunities between new and more seasoned entrepreneurs. Eastside Grange will be a culinary and community centerpiece that celebrates East San José by bringing diverse cultures and local leaders together to promote economic development, cross-cultural exchange and shared learning opportunities at Emma Prusch Park, a unique gem, located between downtown, Little Saigon, and vibrant Latino neighborhoods.
While working at Veggielution, food entrepreneurs will be exposed to every aspect of our urban farm operation, from harvesting with the farm crew to developing farm box/farm stand recipes and generally bringing the chef-and-farmer/farm-to-table experience that is often reserved for high-end restaurants to East San José. As part of the incubator program, food entrepreneurs will have access to a small co-working area in the Veggielution farm stand where they can work on business planning/recipe development. They will be invited to showcase their products at Veggielution First Saturday activities as well as lead Veggielution Cocina cooking classes. Live music by local artists will complement their participation, followed by Art in the Garden.
Eastside Grange will further Veggielution’s role as a culinary and community centerpiece that celebrates East San José by bringing diverse cultures and residents together to promote economic development, cross-cultural exchange and shared learning opportunities at Emma Prusch Farm Park. This project aims to address the challenge of social isolation and economic segregation in San José by encouraging residents to spend more time outside together meeting people whose experiences are different from their own. It is intentionally built upon a familiar and historical platform—food and farming—in a publicly accessible space. While individual elements of Eastside Grange—farmers’ market, art workshop, cooking class, community gardening and live music—currently exist, there is no single place in San José, much less the historically-rich, working-class immigrant neighborhoods of East San José, that brings them together in one location.