The Freedom Farmers Market is providing the West Oakland community a space to celebrate the culture and community of Black life by providing fresh fruits and vegetables grown by Black farmers.
“One way we can get our young people to reclaim who they are is to take their land back in growing food.” says Dr. Gail P. Myers, founder of Farms to Grow, the sponsor of the Freedom Farmers Market.
The Freedom Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 5316 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
In many urban areas, including parts of Oakland, there is basically a food desert for Black residents. On any corner there is a liquor store, but corporate super-markets in general only build in areas where affluent residents make them large profits.
“Young people are for the most part completely disconnected from the land and haven’t had any experience with gardening or eating food that they see being grown by someone else who is Black,” said Myers.
“For us it’s a way to get to the next generation,” she continued. “We want the young people to be excited, to do gardening and to know that they can be farmers too.”
Aside from running then farmers market, the group’s mission is to create connections and relationships between the West Oakland community, young people and the Black farmers who actually grow the food.
“It makes a difference for our Black community to see another food producer, another option on how they get their food,” said Dr. Myers. “In many ways, people don’t have a relationship with their farmers these days. And when you have a relationship with those who grow your food, you can really be healthier. “.
The people who work at the farmers market also hope to give people connections to their past and how food has played a role in their personal family history.
There is real beauty in exposing people to the pride and expression of what are known as legacy foods, such as okra and black-eyed peas, which are still staples today and are foods that Black people brought with them to this country, according to Dr. Myers.
“We need to make sure people know Black farmers are here what they’ve done for this country and are still doing,” she said
The Freedom Farmers Market, which began in 2013, has a program to feed homeless people every Wednesday. There is also a food pantry and clothing pantry, and on Saturday is the last day of a six-week cooking academy.
Check www.Farmstogrow.com for more info. There will be an Indiegogo campaign starting Oct. 3 information can be found on the website.