Updates on the Transition


As valued members of the People's Grocery community and stakeholders, I want to update you on some positive and poignant changes that will be happening over the next few months.

As you know, Nikki Henderson resigned in December as Executive Director of People’s Grocery.  She’s settling in as the new CEO at Green for All.  We wish her the best. 

In January, I became Interim Director at PG.  I’ve been working with the board and staff to determine the future trajectory that PG will take in order to be sustainable over the long term.  Over the past five years, PG has been an important part of the food and racial justice movements, in West Oakland, around the State and even on a National level.  My assessment is that the organization has stretched itself beyond what the current staff could reasonably support. The funding hasn’t kept pace with our growth and development.

Since my arrival, the board, with input from staff, has engaged in a strategic examination of PG's programs, passions and unique position in the community. The result is that we are moving forward with a plan to reduce the number of programs we currently support in order to strengthen our financial position, clarify our strategic direction and emerge from this planning process stronger and more focused.

While change is always difficult, this change is particularly difficult because it means the departure of a long time, very beloved staff person.  We’re paring the programs to focus on the garden and education programs at the CA Hotel and on our Growing Justice Institute, a leadership development program for and with West Oakland residents interested in establishing and growing food justice related businesses.  We will suspend many of our special projects until a new Executive Director is hired, which we expect will be in the next four to six months.  Jumoke Hinton will be leaving People’s Grocery, as the position of Program Director is being eliminated for the foreseeable future.  We are sad to see her go, and we are seeing this as an opportunity for the remaining staff to increase their participation in the partnerships we value in West Oakland and beyond.

In the next two months, the staff will work with me to re-examine our programmatic capacity and priorities.  The board will engage in a conversation about governance and board development.  The board and staff will re-visit our Mission, Vision, Values and Theory of Change.  Once we have increased clarity, we will conduct the search for an Executive Director who can guide the organization through a strategic plan and into its next stage of development.

Keep an eye out for a farewell celebration for Jumoke, and please keep us in your thoughts as we go through this important work as an organization.  All of us at PG continue to value our partnership with you.  We will keep you informed as the process moves forward. In the meantime, if you have questions, please feel free to call me.  Because I’m not here full time, the best way to reach me is on my cell phone: 510.604.9309.  You can also reach me by email at patricia@peoplesgrocery.org.

Thanks for your continued partnership with People’s Grocery as we work for food justice and for racial and economic equity.



Patricia St.Onge

Interim Director


People's Grocery Plants an Orchard in Celebration of Black History Month


"Every hand and every piece of soil working together for food justice"

(Reverend Mutima Imani of The Urban Healing Temple and East Bay Church of Religious Science)


On Saturday February 1st, 2014, People's Grocery launched the celebration of African-American History month with a heartfelt, homegrown event commemorating the myriad contributions of Oakland's Black and Brown Farmers. The celebration took place in the California Hotel Garden, a thriving, multi-faceted project of The People’s Grocery.

The tribute commenced promptly at 10:00 AM, with soil libation and an appreciation of Mother Earth. Gratitude was offered for honorees and other attending contributors to food justice, who lend daily time, heart, energy, imagination, innovation and love to planting and tending seeds for a bright, beautiful future here in Oakland. "This whole idea came from our wanting to pay homage to our beloved lemon tree, which we lost this winter. We wanted to gather the community and plant more trees, we also needed to pay respect to all the Black and Brown Farmers who have contributed to this soil and to this garden and to food justice in Oakland," remarked Lissa Vanderbeck, Garden Co-Coordinator. She and Larry Davis, Manager at Cal Hotel Garden, successfully co-hosted about 125 members of the community in a beautiful setting where everyone including little ones, teens, grown folks, elders, farmers, politicians, artists, teachers, scientists, community folks, activists and more mingled and participated happily in the programming of the day.

Amidst ample sunshine and bees buzzing, folks enjoyed the urban oasis at The Cal Hotel Garden, which exists as an incubator for wellness, community building and learning space for the key programs of People's Grocery. "The garden is here to support leadership development; diversity in West Oakland for resident food choices and to continue our work of promoting often difficult but necessary conversations across class, race and culture, and just give people in the community a place of their own that's a real resource." remarked Jumoke Hodge, Program Director at People's Grocery. The joyous, eclectic celebration included the planting of 12 trees, a reading of each honoree's plaque (which will live beside the trees dedicated to each of them planted on that day), good music, poetry, lots of great food, laughter, workshops and networking amongst people concerned with enjoying and promoting fresh air, earth, sunshine, healthy soil and food justice in West Oakland and the world community at large.

People's Grocery is delighted to share the following list of honorees whose pioneering work is bringing economic sustainability and food justice to Oakland...a model for the world.


Click here to check out more photos taken throughout the day on our Facebook page!

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People's Grocery goes to Detroit!

 People's Grocery & Social Justice Learning Institute ladies



With support from the Compton Family Foundation and Clarence E. Heller Foundation, People's Grocery convened our entire team with the Social Justice Learning Institute (Los Angeles/Inglewood) and Detroit Black Community Food Security Coalition in Detroit during the first week of September (with a special guest from WHY Hunger in New York). We explored power building in our movement, ways to support one another, learned about our work. This trip became a lesson for us all in ways that relationships, either interpersonal or organizational, can always be a venue for transformative action.  


The Tour

The first morning in Detroit, we were taken on a tour led by several elders of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), as well as a few other lifelong Detroiters. This city has a powerful story to tell, living and growing through all those working for justice.  We saw the work of many generations, standing at the corner where history happened.  We saw the current realities of economic devastation and of vibrant life-making.  And we saw the work going on today to make Detroit a more just city, leaning into vision and hope for the future.  These themes stayed with us throughout our meetings and explorations in Detroit: history, elders, youth, trust, work, and justice.  The histories, "herstories", struggles for self-determination, art, and ongoing work deeply informed the work we did that week and continue to inspire us as we return to our respective communities.

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The Growing Justice Institute in Fall 2013

The Growing Justice institute was designed to keep resident voices at the forefront of the food justice movement. 

In our third year of the fellowship, People’s Grocery has had the absolute honor and privilege of working with some of the best community food leaders in the area. Now that we have sets of Fellows working together (2011, 2012 and 2013), we have a powerful force for food justice organizing in our community. These Fellows are creating change in their neighborhood, and we get to support and partner with them along the way. 

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California Hotel Fall Update 2013



New residents continue to move into the California Hotel and are getting to know the garden. As of last week, four floors of the hotel are completely full, nearly tripling the number of residents interacting with the garden space. What does this mean for People’s Grocery? We'll have even more opportunities to provide what we do best: a beautiful space where neighbors can find peace of mind; a safe, nurturing and peaceful place for California Hotel resident to interact with other neighborhood families. “Flavas of the Garden”, our weekly cooking demonstration and community meal, has been especially exciting as both new and old residents share stories over their delicious, fresh, and garden made/prepared food.

At one Flavas of the Garden meeting, several blenders and other kitchen supplies were given to new residents so they could prepare the fresh and local ingredients from their growing garden in their own kitchens. Hearing the residents share their struggles and achievements was incredibly moving. We're looking forward to a fall season full of new relationships, continued learning, and more chayote squash than we know what to do with!


The cob oven and aquaponics system are inciting “oohs” and “aahs” from our visitors. The cob oven is operating magnificently; we’ve been making fresh, garden vegetable pizzas for events! Making an entire meal, start to finish, using only resources from the garden demonstrates closed-loop systems at their finest. 

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People's Community Market - Community Advisory Council Update

People’s Community Market (PCM) is a new business that is emerging from and building on ten years of People's Grocery's food enterprise experience. PCM will be a medium-sized full-service neighborhood grocery store, health resource center and community hub that supports West Oakland families to attain healthier and more socially connected lives. PCM is using PG’s food enterprise experience, as well as resident input and feedback, to develop a retail concept that is highly customized to the local community.

People’s Grocery (PG): Our mission as a health and wealth organization is to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through the local food system. We pursue positive community change and address social determinants of health through a food lens. We work to ensure that community self-determination plays a large in the revitalization of low-income neighborhoods.

The Community Advisory Council (CAC) is a collaboration between PG and PCM to ensure that the West Oakland community is directly involved in the creation and operation of the grocery store PCM. Our vision for the CAC will be to support these two primary activities:

1) Provide feedback and guidance to the planning and development of key areas of the retail enterprise.

2) Assist the business in developing its community relations and leadership, engaging local government and setting policies.


People's Community Market

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Juneteenth 2013

Join People's Grocery for our annual Juneteenth celebration on June 22nd from 11-3 at the California Hotel! Festivities will include CASH-FREE Swap Meet w/ Cowrie Village, Healthy Food demos w/ Urban Holistic SolutionsDivine Raw Foods, Ghetto Girls' Fresh Eats, BBQ, DJ's, Bouncy House, and fun activities for kids and adults!!


READY, SET, GROW! Good Jobs & Healthy Communities Forum

Good Jobs & Healthy Communities Forum

A Panel & Networking Session

Explore Oakland’s Food Economy, Labor & Food Issues, and Career Trainings in Food Retail

  • What exactly is a food hub?
  • What types of career training opportunities are out there for me?
  • Who are the major players in the Oakland food movement?


Wednesday, December 19th, 3-7 p.m.

Lincoln Child Center

1266 14th St. @ Poplar

Free Admission; Dinner included


Meet major players in the Oakland food movement,including employers, city representatives, and community-based organizations such as:



  • Dr. Steven Pitts, UC Berkeley Labor Center
  • Oakland Cit Councilmember Elect Lynette McElhaney District 3
  • United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 5

Good Jobs and Healthy Communities (GJHC) is a collective effort to bring together resources and opportunities to improve the quality of life for Oakland residents. GJHC is a partnership between People’s Grocery, United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) 5, local food justice organizations, community development organizations, and larger governmental entities. Last year, GJHC successfully convened over 150 West Oakland residents to explore job opportunities, to address barriers to employment, and to inspire civic involvement within the community.

This year, we will be convening Oakland community-based organizations, businesses, residents, and local representatives for a panel and discussion on the emerging food hubs in Oakland, their impact on the local economy, and the connection between food and labor justice. This event is for community groups, job seekers, and Oakland-based food businesses. Please RSVP via this evite.

Free parking is available around the back of the LCC (entrance on Poplar Street). The LCC is also close to the AC Transit 26 and 31 bus lines, and a 15-minute walk from the West Oakland BART station.

For more information call (510) 652.7607 x24 or email jumoke@peoplesgrocery.org.

Work Day

This is footage from a work day we  had a few weeks ago at our office site. The Asomugha Foundation joined forces with the People’s Grocery in West Oakland to grow food for everyone. Students in the Asomugha College Tours for Scholars Program, ACTS, volunteered to help. Thanks Georgia for filming and sharing this!!

Check it Out


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