Family Farm Thrives In Oak Park [Capital Public Radio]


Vacant lots and decaying apartment buildings are scattered through Chanowk Yisrael’s neighborhood in South Oak Park. Across the street is the shuttered Fruit Ridge Elementary School.

But even though Yisrael’s neighborhood lacks many things, his home is a scene of abundance. Fruit trees fill his front lawn and grapes line the chain link fence. A passing woman stops to eat the fruit.
“My husband is diabetic," she says. "We stop here and get some grapes when his diabetes is acting up."
Diabetes and cancer plague impoverished neighborhoods. In South Oak Park, health statistics show twice as many people die from the effects of diabetes than in Sacramento County as a whole.

Yisrael switched to a plant-based diet after both his parents were diagnosed with cancer. 
“My dad made a comment to me a few months ago that ‘You eat all this complex food now,’” Yisrael says. “'When you were young, I used to be able to feed you with a pack of hot dogs and a loaf of bread.’ So no, I didn’t grow up with a plant-based diet. Of course there was some vegetables on the plate, which of course I didn’t like at the time. But it was just a regular type of meal that you would get from this type of neighborhood . . . inner city neighborhood.”

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