Friday, August 26, 2005

People's Grocery

When I met my husband in 1999, he was living in a loft in West Oakland, which I eventually moved into in 2002. It was an amazing space with high ceilings, boldly painted walls and banks of windows from floor to ceiling. We loved living there, except that it wasn't really a safe place to walk around in at night and there weren't any grocery stores nearby.

About a year later, my friend Alli invited me to a fundraiser for a community-based organization that her friend Malaika Edwards was starting, People's Grocery.

People's Grocery's mission is to "find creative solutions to the food, health and economic needs of West Oakland by building a local food system and local economy." West Oakland has 1 grocery store for 30,000 people, but 40 liquor stores.

Some of their programs support micro-enterprise, like their Mobile Market that sells fresh produce and natural food to schools, senior homes and residents from a van that drives around the neighborhood. Other programs provide community education, like their Urban Rootz Food and Justice Camps that teach young people, "where food comes from, how it's produced, who profits from it, and what the impacts of food are on personal, community and environmental health." Finally, they have urban agriculture programs, where they grow vegetables in abandonded lots, many of which are sold from their Mobile Market.

Shortly after the fundraiser, my husband and I volunteered in their garden and I became a table captain for their 2004 fundraiser. They're next Harvesting Justice brunch is September 18th and I am gearing up to be a table captain again. If you are interested in volunteering with People's Grocery, contact Malaika Edwards at


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