Growing Social Change in South Phoenix
at Spaces of Opportunity
Growing Social Change in South Phoenix at Spaces of Opportunity
Nonprofit collaborations at the Spaces of Opportunity urban farm are paving the way for economic development in South Phoenix.
On a 19-acre urban farm in South Phoenix, change is being made. It can be seen in the students learning STEM lessons or heard in the languages of different cultures. It can be felt among farmers making their living from the land or tasted in a bite of a sweet ear of corn. The food, education, and economic programs that have appeared here were just a dream, years ago, but a community vision brought them to life. This place is Spaces of Opportunity.
Community Wellness & Empowerment
Spaces is made up of various nonprofits sharing in the mission of bringing greater health to South Phoenix. Recognizing the impact Promotoras or “health promoters” have in the Spanish-speaking community, more than 130 individuals have been trained in basic public health roles. “Spaces of Opportunity provides a real-life laboratory, where community members learn and teach all of the social determinants of health” said Executive Director, Emma Viera of Unlimited Potential. “We have the farmers market with fresh, organic produce right next to where someone is getting their blood pressure taken and learning about diabetes. It helps people see how it all fits together.”
Nutrition Education & Nutrition Access for Children
As the pandemic was causing job loss and food access challenges last fall, Spaces’ stepped in to provide emergency relief. Through the Fresh Connections and Feed Phoenix programs*, 30,000 pounds of produce was harvested and distributed to roughly 18,000 food-insecure children. TigerMountain Foundation, a Spaces founding partner, provided an additional 13,500 pounds of produce to nearby food pantries. In an area where 90% of students qualify for the free or reduced-price meal program at school, such distribution programs can have remarkable impact on their current and long-term health.
Social and Economic Mobility
Amidst the groups of farmers at Spaces, you’ll also find youth and mentors maintaining the site. Together, they’re nurturing the land and their own personal growth to create social and economic mobility. “We’re educating young people about personal strategies and community building skills to help them rise above poverty,” explains TigerMountain Foundation Founder, Darren Chapman.