I learned of People’s Grocery when executive director, Nikki Henderson, spoke during the 2012 Bioneers Conference. Nikki struck me as one of those rare people who are truly beautiful inside and out. She shared her background growing up eating healthy food and talked about food justice issues in a heartfelt and sometimes humorous way. The audience was spellbound. After listening to Nikki, I was inspired to learn about the People’s Grocery organization.
People’s Grocery, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2002 to promote healthy local food and urban agriculture in West Oakland, California. The People’s Grocery model integrates sustainable agriculture, development of local food businesses, and education. Community involvement, networking, partnerships, and youth and adult leadership development are important facets of the organization’s philosophy and success.
People’s Grocery views itself as a health and wealth organization with a mission:
“to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through the local food system”
People’s Grocery fulfills their mission via a growing number of programs and projects.
The interestingly named California Hotel is a low-income housing development in West Oakland and home to the California Hotel Garden and Greenhouse program which provides opportunities for residents to participate in growing food and plants for sale, as well as community development.
The Grub Box, collectively run by People’s Grocery and Dig Deep Farms & Produce, is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that provides subscribers with fresh seasonal produce.
Community members can save money by buying food in bulk or by the case through the Wholesale Hookup program.
Growing Justice Institute
By providing technical assistance and training, the Growing Justice Institute supports food security projects intended to generate revenue and build the local food system from catering companies to cooking classes.
An allyship is a quarterly volunteer position for people interested in gaining hands-on experience in urban farming and food justice.
Alliance for Oakland’s Food Systems
People’s Grocery facilitates a team of leaders from labor, policy, and environmental justice organizations whose goal is to standardize living wage, local hire, and healthy food options in food retail across the City of Oakland.
Cooking, Health, and Nutrition Education
- The Community Health and Nutrition DemonstratorS (HANDS) program offers cooking and nutrition demonstrations at hospitals, schools, public events, and other community-based gatherings.
- Get Cooking! is a series of cooking classes to help people learn cooking skills and recipes to address health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Flavas of the Garden is a series of workshops where attendees can learn things like how to make their own hot sauce or build a raised garden bed.
- In partnership with Oakland’s Highland Hospital, People’s Grocery helps families with children at risk for childhood obesity and related conditions learn and practice healthy cooking and eating.
- Under the Edible Education umbrella, lecturers share their expertise on a wide variety of topics such as organic agriculture, school lunch reform, hunger and food security, and local food economies.
People’s Grocery Website
Visitors to the People’s Grocery website will find information about programs and projects, news, a blog, ways to participate or donate, and a resources section with links to numerous topics. I flagged the North African Chicken Stew recipe to try and my spouse loves anything with kale in it. For further reading I bookmarked the Anti-Oppression Training and Articles and Publications pages.
A People’s Grocery video created by students at St. Mary’s College provides an excellent overview of People’s Grocery and what it means to the local community.
People’s Community Market
People’s Community Market is a full-service for profit grocery store project in the funding phase that will bring healthy and affordable food to the people of West Oakland. People’s Grocery developed and advocated the project, and then spun it off in 2010.
What is Food Justice?
Food justice means providing all people with access to good food. It is putting control of food production in the hands of the people who eat it, and creating local jobs and businesses. It means identifying root causes for why current food systems leave some people and communities under served and then doing something about it.
What is Food Security?
Food Security is commonly defined by the World Health Organization as “including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences”.