People’s Grocery operates at the intersection of public health, economic development, and food systems. Their mission is ‘to improve the health and local economy of West Oakland through investing in the local food system. Using West Oakland as a model of leadership development, micro-enterprise creation and health project development, we aim to support and develop a thriving network of like-minded change-agents in cities across the nation. Since 2003 we have pursued positive community change and addressed social determinants of health through food to ensure that community self-determination plays a primary role in revitalizing historically underinvested neighborhoods.”
Increasing Economic Opportunity: Our enterprises have driven almost $393,000 toward the healthy food economy in West Oakland. We have piloted four enterprises, the Mobile Market, the Grub Box, Wholesale Hookup, and People’s Community Market. The Mobile Market, the first of its kind, has been replicated across the country, and is still considered one of the most innovative approaches to food access in historically under-invested communities. Our Grub Box program is currently a partnership between our organization and a new farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, and has de-mystified the incorporation of food stamps and a subsidized pricing structure for other CSA programs. Wholesale Hookup continues to offer customers affordable non-perishable items. In 2010, we spun off a for-profit grocery store, People’s Community Market, with our founder Brahm Ahmadi as CEO. The store is in the final stages of securing funding to open a 15,000 square foot store in the middle of West Oakland.
Building a Healthier Environment: We have increased the knowledge of, interaction with, and access to healthy foods for over 9,000 West Oakland residents. Our nutrition education programs built essential community will and valuable data to show that local investment in healthy food systems causes health equity among residents. Two of our three gardens are now in the hands of allied organizations that are offering community members new opportunities to grow and enjoy fresh produce. Our cooking classes, nutrition demonstrators project, community celebrations and workshops have collaborated with public hospitals and health clinics reaching vulnerable communities with specific cultural needs. Our work with Alameda County Medical Center has led to clinical case studies and collaborations with youth programs within Highland Hospital.
Strengthening Social Capital: People’s Grocery has gained regional and national recognition as a leader in the evolving food justice movement, and we have had increasing opportunity to share our model and learn from other communities in the pursuit of transformation for historically under-invested communities. For years, organizations have used our allyship program as a resource to become more competent in the areas of race, class, power and privilege. We have supported over 130 youth and adults with taking leadership in the healthy food system and acting as allies in creating an equitable food system. Our reputation has built strong relationships in diverse communities, positioning us as a bridge builder between the food, health, and economic development sectors.
Long Term Goals: By 2020, People’s Grocery will have significantly decreased the health disparities between West Oakland and Greater Alameda County, leveraged millions of dollars for the healthy food economy in West Oakland, and networked food justice organizations in the state of California and across the country to do the same.
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