Your Market Produce Buying Club in Oakland, California is connecting its members to Black Farmers through Freedom Farmer’s Market.
In late June, Dr. Gail Myers, Founder and Executive Director of Farms to Grow, Inc., partnered with Brother’s Kitchen, a neighborhood restaurant and catering in West Oakland, to establish a weekly Farmer’s Market that connects Black Farmers specifically and local urban farmers to an area in West Oakland that many would clearly dub a “food desert.” This partnership also brings and encourages vending possibilities for neighborhood businesses like: Mandela Foods Cooperative a worker-owned coop and People’s Grocery who are gaining the opportunity to broaden their contact with the community through Freedom Farmer’s Market.
So the goal here is to make a positive presence in our community, bringing fresh produce directly from the farmers and connecting our people with good, healthy, nutritious produce at affordable prices. And the farmers are here. Mr. Will Scott of Scott Family Farms, long-time farmer and president of the African American Farmer’s Association in Fresno California, is happy to make the connection and be part of this community building effort, as he trucks up case loads of fruits and vegetables in a three hour drive from Fresno to Oakland every Saturday morning; and Your Market Produce is helping to make it worth while by purchasing from them whatever we can to supply our Buying Club members.
Saturday, September 7, Your Market Produce Buying Club was able to add the following items produced by Black Farmers to our produce bags: Red Onions, Okra, Green Beans, Peaches, Plums, Grapes and we are looking to have even more available for our next Buying Club event which will be held Saturday, September 21. Buying Club members: Michelle Muhammad, Cynthia Mackey, Ustadi Kadiri, Jimmie X and Rose Muhammad were very happy to have access to foods grown and harvested by Farmers that look like us and of good quality and freshness. Our Buying Club is also encouraging all members to stop by and purchase produce from the farmers every Saturday as well as patronizing the vendors there. Since our Buying Club operates bi-monthly, it will definitely be to our advantage to make Freedom Farmer’s Market a regular stop. Melvin Townsend, a Buying Club member for over 3 years did just that! After bagging his produce at the Buying Club in East Oakland, he and his young daughter drove 10 minutes to the west side to purchase from vendors at Freedom Farmer’s Market. It’s community building!
And let’s not leave out the food demonstrations at Freedom Farmer’s Market which have included a young brother riding a bicycle that powered a blender to make smoothies as well as Sister Melva X and I demonstrating the efficiency of Solar Cooking while incorporating some of the vegetables supplied by the farmers like: Solar Succotash cooked with fresh okra from Tarlesson Family Farms; Solar Lentil soup cooked with red onions and red and green bell peppers supplied by Scott Family Farms. The Lentils are supplied through our National Staple Goods Program. Also cooked was Solar Brown Rice another Staple Goods Product and Solar Spice Pound Cake. Samples of the foods were handed out and many were astonished at how tasty the food was and how easy it is to cook using energy from the sun. We also vended that delicious “Bean Pie” as well as demonstrated the portable nutritious foods you can make and preserve through dehydration, such as flax seed veggie crackers, dehydrated beet strips, as well as seasonings for food made by Sister Melva. A Sister stopped by our table interested in what were were doing with food preservation and wanted to learn more so that she could teach her home school class of young girls. As she put it we need to “get back to those ways of our grandmothers to help save our young girls and reconnect them with our culture of cooking, preserving, healing, community building.
And what a nice surprise to see Ron Finley visiting Freedom Farmer’s Market 🙂 Thank you Brother for stopping by!
Freedom Farmer’s Market – definitely a step in the right direction! Thank you Farms To Grow, Inc. and Brother’s Kitchen for making it happen!……And there is no mystery God. We will have to work to make it a community success!