Something for all of us to think about during Black History Month (and all year) is the fact that structural racism and destructive economic policies in the United States have deeply affected the relationship Black Americans have with food, the land, and agriculture. People who have such a rich history of growing food, creating varied and healthy cuisines, and using herbal medicine have often been deliberately separated from that knowledge over the past 400 years. Therefore, part of building wealth and health in communities is establishing Black ownership of these systems. This ownership involves access to land, knowledge, and fresh food offerings in communities.
Because of this, our social justice highlight and donation for this cycle is the African Heritage Food Co-op, which is looking to expand and establish a location in the heart of the Buffalo Fruit Belt at 238 Carlton Street!
Here is their vision statement from their website:
Our vision is to create a world where inner city “neighborhoods” can become Communities. Where NO ONE goes without HEALTHY AFFORDABLE food options. Most importantly a world in which we can create Ownership and employment opportunities IN and FOR the COMMUNITY.
In short: A community seeing a problem, attempting to solve it themselves but lacking resources to do so.
Building 238 Carlton will be an economic engine for a community which will hire 60 individuals and provide healthy food options within walking distance and reinvest in other cooperative businesses, further providing opportunities.
We started in 2016 as a community share, branched out to mobile markets and created a brick and mortar facility in Niagara Falls. COVID derailed our efforts, but we are now ready to continue our pursuits and would love your help.
The African Heritage Food Co-op already has a location in Niagara Falls as well as a Co-op garden on Edison Street in Buffalo AND a farm in Franklinville! Part of the Co-op’s mission is to offer programs that teach young people about agriculture as well as entrepreneurship. The Co-op also believes in offering employment opportunities to people who need them most: those who have been incarcerated, experienced addiction issues, or had interruptions in education.
We’re donating a portion of our sales this month to the African Heritage Food Co-op.. Want to contribute to this endeavor with us? Use this donation link to help this important project become a reality!
Want more information about the Co-op? Check out their website or check out this WGRZ article and video interview with founder Alexander Wright!