People’s Grocery helps feed the community

Shannon Stroud,
Metro Editor

People’s Grocery will hold a two-part event this weekend to help educate the West Oakland community on local organic farming. They are a non-profit organization that exists to help improve the health of residents in Oakland.

The event “A People’s Party: Know Our Past, Grow Our Future!” will start with a discussion panel and will be followed by a dance party Friday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Hotel California in Oakland.

The second event will be on Saturday, where People’s Grocery will open up Hotel California’s garden at 10 a.m. to community members for storytelling, planting, drumming and demonstrations on how to use locally grown, organic, fruits and vegetables in simple cooking recipes.

The first night of the event will be a discussion on Black History, local farming, and how community members can get involved with the People’s Grocery organization.

“I believe that, African American lives in particular, need to know their history. Friday night will address how we as a community can take lessons learned in the past to grow our future,” said Executive Director of People’s Grocery, Wanda Stewart.

Members from the community, such as David Roach, Victory Lee, Gail Myers, and Carl A. Anthony, will facilitate Friday night’s event open up the event attendees to ask questions.

Stewart explains that two speakers who will lead the discussion are Howard Moore, a civil rights lawyer known for his work in the Angela Davis trail, and “Sister P” a lifelong Oakland resident and Black Panther.

After the discussion panel and questions from the community, the meeting will transition to a family-oriented dance party.

“There are lot of different types of people in West Oakland and its essential that we get use to living with each other. I believe that dancing helps people get over that, especially when there is good music,” said Stewart.

On Saturday morning the Hotel California’s garden will be open to people of all ages. People’s Grocery hopes that the Saturday event will bring residents of West Oakland into the garden, so that they can see that it’s possible to grow and make your own food in a small urban setting.

Donations for Saturday’s event are on a sliding scale. There is no cover charge to enter the garden, but to plant seeds attendees will have to purchase them from event volunteers. All donations will go back to People’s Grocery and toward the upkeep of Hotel California’s garden and greenhouse.

Hotel California and People’s Grocery have been partnered together for many years, the garden is maintained and managed by People’s Grocery volunteers. The garden, greenhouse and chicken coupe helps feed the people who live there.

“Hotel California is a low-income housing development, and the people who live there often have mental health issues, medical issues and don’t have access to the best food,” said Stewart. “The garden provides these people with healthy food and when they come down to garden, they get exercise, both which are beneficial to better their health.”

Although Stewart believes that this event is an opportunity for people to learn more about People’s Grocery, but what she really hopes for is a positive community response to the Friday night discussion panel.