Phoenix Brownfields to Healthfields Project: Transforming Community Health through Sustainable Development
OEP has been awarded a $400,000 community-wide brownfields assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Phoenix Brownfields to Healthfields Project. The overall goal of the project is to remove hazardous substances and pollutants from identified brownfield properties and to redevelop these properties for uses that improve public health. The EPA grant will fund development of a city-wide brownfields inventory, environmental site assessments, health monitoring, and cleanup planning activities. Proposed reuses include, healthcare facilities, clinics (permanent and mobile), healthy food outlets; supermarkets, temporary food retailers, mobile markets, urban agriculture, food hubs, community/school gardens, and farmer's markets. The impact of this project results in improved community health due to the elimination of exposure to hazardous substances and creation of opportunities for improved access to healthcare and healthy foods, which positively impacts environmental and health equity.
For urban agriculture, community gardens, and other uses that would directly involve the growing of food, hazardous substances and pollutants would be removed prior to food production. In addition, soil testing and evaluation will be conducted according to regulatory standards and best management practices by project partners, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Arizona Department of Health Services to ensure the safety of residents who grow or consume food.
Grant activities will be focused in areas with inadequate health care, food deserts, and designated infill incentive, neighborhood initiative, and redevelopment areas. Focusing on these areas within Phoenix meets EPA's social and economic requirements for sustainable and equitable development, in addition to building upon existing brownfields efforts previously funded by EPA. The three year grant began on Oct. 1, 2016.
Pueblo Viejo Fields and Food Hub Opens
The City of Phoenix is proud to be a partner with a first-of-its-kind development, the Pueblo Viejo Fields and Food Hub project by Quincea-Green on Purpose Alliance (QPGA). The partnership with the QPGA, resulted because of the Phoenix Brownfields to Healthfields (B2H) Initiative focused on the reuse of brownfield sites for food and healthcare assets. The QGPA worked with Phoenix to develop the urban farm, food hub, and agricultural vocational training facility.
The QGPA is a dynamic combination of an urban farm that also operates a vocational training facility for developmentally-disabled adults, while simultaneously providing the logistics and infrastructure to other small scale agriculture operations. These efforts increase the access of fresh, locally grown produce while offering educational opportunities. Pueblo Viejo Fields and Food Hub is located in a food desert area of the South Phoenix community, thus serving those with the least access to healthy food. QGPA also provides education to community members on nutrition, and the positive health benefits derived from making better food choices. This process is enhanced by including demonstrations of how to grow, prepare, and cook healthier food in consideration of cultural preferences.