News from People's Grocery:
Developing a Worker-Owned Community Grocery Store
by Brahm Ahmadi
People's Grocery is making speedy progress from a mobile
organic food service cooperative towards developing a worker-owned cooperative
grocery store in West Oakland in which local food and sustainable agriculture
will be prioritized in a community health model centered on nutrition education
for low-income residents of the community. At the same time, the cooperative
is taking their business development goal beyond the single cooperative grocery
store to a broader community development initiative focused on establishing a
commercial and health service complex.
Known as a "Wellness Village," the People's Health
Complex will offer a more comprehensive set of services including a health
clinic, a banking institution and a child care center. The grocery store is
planned as an anchor for personal and community health of local residents who
are impacted by chronic disease and obesity. A cooking school, a "Nutrition
Nook" consulting desk, a demonstration garden and a classroom training
facility are also planned for the store.
This grocery store will also focus on:
• Enhancing food security within West Oakland by increasing
the availability of healthy and fresh foods and disseminating nutrition and
• Promoting local food and sustainable agriculture and
contributing the regional food system through local food procurement and
production practices; and
• Engaging in economic development through a cooperative
business model that provides employment, training and ownership opportunities
People's Grocery has identified a dilapidated and historic
shopping center in West Oakland and will soon release its business plan. In the
near future People's Grocery will begin recruiting community and business
partners to provide health supportive goods and services that fit within the
Wellness Village format and augment its impact through a collaborative model.
Brahm Ahmadi is a co-founder and executive
director of People’s Grocery in West Oakland, California. He is also
Executive Director of the North Oakland Land Trust, which preserves properties
in North Oakland for the exclusive purpose of community gardening. Brahm is
active in worker-owned cooperative business development and organizing for
economic democracy and was a founding board member of the US Federation of
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