Alchemist Public Market (APM) will be an all-electric site, built without natural gas utilities. The shared-use commercial kitchen will help familiarize Sacramento’s food entrepreneurs with electric appliances and provide a cutting-edge, safe cooking environment. Buildings will be constructed with high levels of passive energy efficiency and a major solar installation will generate a significant portion of required energy. Native trees and plants will provide greenery and shade. With the incorporation of shade structures, shade trees, and drinking fountains, APM will also function as a sort of climate resiliency hub, where residents can find respite and hydration during summer heat waves. These plans align with many regional climate plans, including the City of Sacramento Preliminary Draft Climate Action & Adaptation Plan and Electrification Ordinance and the Sacramento Local Foods, Local Places Report.
Alchemist Public Market is designed to promote both active and public transit access. This design begins with ample, well-designed bicycle parking accompanied by a permanent bike repair stand and tire pump. The site will also feature secure parking for skateboards and electric scooters. Entry points to the property are designed to encourage pedestrian access. By locating the site within easy pedestrian or bicycle access of tens of thousands of near-future residents and office workers, active transit will be preferred by default. Situated within a 10 minute walking radius of 4 light rail stations on 2 rail lines, APM will be easily reached via public transit by people throughout the region. APM is also in discussions with Sacramento Regional Transit to develop a bus stop alongside the property for Route 33.
The food business incubator facilities that will be constructed at Alchemist Public Market will primarily serve those within the existing Alchemist Kitchen entrepreneurship program. This program targets traditionally under-served populations, including entrepreneurs who are women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, or otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. Since its launch in 2019, this program has served 168 entrepreneurs. Of these, 73% have been black, indigenous, and people of color; 64% have been low-income; 64% have been women; 25% have been LGBTQIA+; and 22% have been disabled.
APM will also provide an important community gathering space and access to nutritious food. The project location is within the Sacramento Promise Zone as well as an Opportunity Zone. It is identified as a California SB535 Disadvantaged Community, with the highest possible CalEnviroScreen 4.0 percentile of 99%, and a Pollution Burden percentile of 98. Likewise, it is a designated High Poverty Area & has been identified by the Pacific Institute as being at High Risk for Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in California.
Alchemist CDC is a major proponent of anti-displacement housing strategies and so is pleased to situate Alchemist Public Market near a large supply of affordable housing, helping to ensure that the benefits it brings to the River District will be enjoyed by low-income households. Working with under-resourced entrepreneurs, we recognize that anti-displacement strategies are needed for commercial enterprises in order to ensure that historically disinvested communities have the opportunity to take advantage of regional economic growth. APM will provide a permanent site for low-income and historically marginalized residents to incubate small businesses, gain market access, and find workforce development opportunities. Even as the surrounding area improves and property values increase, entrepreneurs will be able to take advantage of the attractive commercial corridor. Neighborhood improvements usually mean gentrification through displacement, but Alchemist Public Market will help build a better neighborhood for the neighbors who need it most.
Rent funds generated by Alchemist Public Market will be reinvested into the Alchemist Kitchen entrepreneurship program and toward improvements and maintenance of Alchemist Public Market. Because APM will be owned by a local non-profit community-based organization, the revenue generated by the site will be continually used for community-betterment.
Alchemist is consistently approached by communities from California to Canada seeking to launch food incubator programs and looking to learn from the Alchemist Kitchen program. These requests often include a desire to learn from the modeling and planning work behind Alchemist Public Market. Located near the state Capitol, APM will provide a model that can be reproduced and adapted to local community needs. We anticipate that this model is well suited for implementation across the state, but particularly in communities lacking philanthropic resources in which such projects must be financially self-sustaining once constructed. We anticipate the development of materials and resources sharing the lessons learned from implementing this project.
The history of the Sacramento area, and the people, is rich in heritage, culture and tradition. This area was, and still is, the Tribal land of the Nisenan people. Sacramento was a gathering place for many local Tribes who have lived throughout the central valley and the foothills for generations and were the original stewards of this land. We would like to acknowledge the Southern Maidu people to the North, the Valley and Plains Miwok/ Me-Wuk Peoples to the south of the American River and we would also like to honor the Patwin Wintun Peoples to the west of the Sacramento River.*
We acknowledge that Alchemist Public Market will be standing on the tribal lands of Sacramento’s indigenous peoples and will commit to paying a voluntary land tax to a local tribal organization once in operation.
*Special thanks to Sacramento Native American Health Center from whom we have borrowed the language of this acknowledgement.