Watch How an Oakland Co-op Is Putting Produce Before Profits
In West Oakland, the struggle to bring fresh produce and healthy food to the local, low-income community is a high-stakes daily endeavor for the Mandela Marketplace. If they succeed, they are guaranteed to change and extend lives in the community where liquor stores and fast-food outlets outnumber places where you can buy fresh food.
In this video produced for PBS’ series The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast, we see how Mandela Marketplace’s owner and employees are working to change lives in the heart of a persistent food desert.
Since the sort of success they seek can’t be found on an accounting ledger, it will take time to achieve. But it’s worthwhile. In a 2012 study, researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Human Needs found that Oakland’s pockets of poverty are enmeshed in a dense web of problems that beget more problems.
Exposure to environmental hazards, lack of access to healthy foods, and a high density of liquor stores often occur in the same Oakland communities that are home to the highest crime, lowest educational attainment, and fewest economic opportunities.