The start of a movement...
For decades, researchers and academics worked to uncover underlying causes of health disparities disproportionately affecting West Oakland. Community members, however, long understood what they experienced first hand: a challenging local food environment, a legacy of redlining and economic disinvestment, and barriers to opportunities that could increase choice and build intergenerational wealth.
Like in many historically marginalized communities across the country, grassroots driven solutions to these challenges were rarely recognized. In response, Mandela Partners was established to support the development of a community-led plan that respected community members' ability to identify local needs, and uplift community assets to drive solutions.
A holistic and innovative set of strategies were seeded: a community-owned grocery store, increased healthy food access points, connections to local farmers, support for local entrepreneurs, and culturally relevant wellness education.
Where we are today...
15+ years later, Mandela Partners continues to build on the community plan that seeded our work and puts people at the center of equitable community development. We do this by braiding together several strands of work:
This nexus between economic opportunity and food access is setting a critical footprint for the field to take a systems approach for solving the most pressing issues affecting under-resourced communities.
Together, we are creating integrated pathways that support community revitalization - from the ground up.
Strengthening sustainable income generation among small regional farmers
Supporting the launch and growth of local food enterprises
Building skills and capacity of resident entrepreneurs
Facilitating access to community capital
Increasing access to healthy food options