Power of Produce

By Sonsie Zamora


I recently read about and am inspired by this business in Oakland that is called the People’s Grocery. They strive to create socioeconomic change through education of healthy produce and food awareness. Their goal is to have healthy and sustainable food options available to everyone. Their specific targets are under-invested neighborhoods, such as Oakland, and then eventually spreading the like-minded change to other similarly under-invested neighborhoods.

In addition to selling groceries at their store and providing nutrition education, they also host three community gardens and offer cooking classes that collaborate with local hospitals to target people with health issues that can benefit from the services. They’ve also developed the Mobile Market which is essentially a food truck that sells and delivers groceries. This aids people that have difficulties finding transportation to get to the store. It’s a highly innovative and brilliant concept, I think. I’ve ordered groceries from Safeway online before when I didn’t have transportation and it is very convenient. I can imagine it’s similarly convenient with the Mobile Market; being able to deliver fresh produce directly to your doorstep when you don’t have transportation to get yourself or your family to the store for whatever reason, or if you don’t have internet access to be able order groceries from a delivery company. You can easily receive unhealthy food to your door, like ordering a pizza or Chinese food for example, but it’s difficult to get fresh produce delivered.

This business inspires me because it brings to light quite a few issues that need to be discussed; the importance of health and nutrition and the lack of education about it, specifically in more urban areas, and also the absence of availability of fresh produce to these areas. These are not issues that only affect us individually, as obesity and other health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, are highly prevalent.  This affects us as families and subsequently as a community. On their website, The People’s Grocery refers to Oakland as an ‘urban food desert’, meaning there is a severe lack of fresh produce easily available as liquor stores and convenient stores replace grocery stores and overpopulate the area.

I also didn’t know anything about the Food Justice Movement, whose motto is stated as ‘food for people, not for profit’, until I saw it mentioned on The People’s Grocery website and I then read more about it. It’s amazing to see how far the movement stretches and that there are more people that care about other people and that are dedicated to making efforts toward a more sustainable future for everyone. It’s refreshing to learn about businesses, and the people involved, that are in business for the sole purpose of making a difference, when so many are only in it for profit and could care less about your personal health, the well being of your family and therefore our future as a whole. This makes me believe that sustainability starts with the right mind set, not solely in the act of doing something sustainable such as making changes in your personal diet and habits or starting a garden of your own. These are great things to do, but you could be taking it one step further too and doing that much more for others that can’t and for those in the future as well.

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