The four worker-owners of a new grocery store in the deep east of Oakland want to bring more healthy food options to the area through a collaborative model. The DEEP grocery storeop opened for online sales on April 7th. The workers’ owners plan to open a storefront by autumn.
“We’re coming together to change access to food in the Deep East Oakland community,” said worker owner Daniel Harris-Lucas. “We try to bring about a social change and not necessarily for profit reasons.”
Deep East Oakland currently has limited options for healthy eating. While a large grocery chain Food Co., operates in the area, its organic and fresh produce departments are limited, and the store is still several miles from the homes of many Deep East Oakland residents.
Deep East Oaklanders mostly eat what is most readily available: highly processed foods sold in the many liquor stores in or near their neighborhood. Worker Owners from the DEEP Grocery Co–on plan to store lots of healthy foods, including fresh ones, local and organic vegetables and fruits.
All four DEEP Grocery CoOperating room owners live in the deep east of Oakland and are passionate about healthy eating, which can be a challenge. Worker owner Yolanda Romo drives to Berkeley Bowl buy her groceries. She says she never sees her neighbors there and is sad that she has to shop in a store in a more affluent city instead of getting healthy groceries near her neighborhood.
“The community here deserves life and good health,” said Romo. “And we literally eat that much of it.”
The DEEP grocery storeOp worker owners recognize that price is a major factor in making healthy food available and they want their groceries to be affordable for local residents.
They have plans to receive grants that will allow those with grocery stamps to purchase California-grown produce at a 50% discount. As a small cooperative, without a boss waiting for you At great profit, the worker owners can instead focus on maintaining the store and themselves while keeping prices as low as possible for the community.
They also make connections with little local blacks– and B.Rowe–run farms like Raised rootswho have a hard time getting their products into larger retail chains.
Education is key to The DEEP Grocery Coops project, since the knowledge about healthy eating is less accessible for the predominantly black people and B.Row population of the east Oakland and is mistakenly thought of as being only for white people. As an an example, Romo points this out quinoa, a whole–Grain seeds This is high in the Protein fiber and B vitamin.
“Quinoa is great–cheap peruvian need and someone branded it, ”said Romo. “This branding is not aimed at color communities, but rather at white people who have more choice.”
To share knowledge, worker owners have held free cooking demonstrations and informative discussions about healthy eating. They share knowledge about healthy foods Instagramsta.
your Instagramsta account Also serves as a place to educate the public about the cooperative model which, according to the workers’ owners, allows them more autonomy. As they begin selling groceries online and eventually opening their personal store, they hope to serve as role models for other deep east Oakland residents looking to start businesses that will better serve their community.
“I hope this inspires others in the community to be worker owners and make decisions and run their businesses the way they want,” said Romo. “The summit–Down model that we see everywhere and the huge corporate chains that surround East Oakland didn’t help. “
Decision making in the DEEP Grocery Coop will be more localized, making it possible to serve the deep East Oakland community. Worker Owners Jameela Lane expects the store to be full of “things that are East Oakland like” like bright colors, graffiti painting, and good music. she wantshe Shop to have “culturally recognizable foods” like bean patties and tamales.
The owners of DEEP Grocery Coop aren’t the only ones who helped set up the store. Mandela Grocery Cooperative, a non-profit youth farm project called Acta Non the words, and an organization that helps introduce Bay Area Black–run cooperatives called Repaired Nation, all of which acted as a steering committee to train and guide the worker-owners throughout the project‘s education.
But as originally planned, by this point all of these organizations have given full control to the worker-owners. The worker–Owner-employees are still relatively new to each other, with the full four–Occupation does not come together auntil last summer. They are excited about what they have been able to achieveNo such a short time and about the beginning of bringing more healthy food to Deep East Oakland.
“We want to inspire people to changee-Manufacturers instead of waiting, ”said Harris-Lucas. “We could only really grow something out of our shared love for our community.”
Anyone in the Bay Area who owns the Co. would like to supportop can now order food on their website: https://thedeepgrocery.coop, and arrange a roadside pickup. People can also donate to support the project through the stores gofundme Campaign.