By: King Anyi Howell
The following was broadcast on KQED-FM.
Adapted from King Anyi Howell’s story about the Harambee Farmer’s Market on KQED’s The California Report
African Americans suffer higher rates of obesity, hypertension and heart disease than the rest of the nation. In the predominately black South Los Angeles of Crenshaw, however, one farmer’s market is hoping that they can break bad eating habits by offering fresh produce at affordable rates. The Harambee Farmer’s Market (open Saturdays from 10am-4pm) is located at the busy intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson between a bank and an auto paint shop. Harambee is a Swahili word, meaning “all pull together.”
The Harambee Farmer’s Market has one produce booth and two other booths that sell hand-crafted jewelry, lotions, oils, clothing and other items. Farmer Larry Williamson is from the Crenshaw neighborhood and supplies the market with produce from his farm in Merced, Ca and other black-owned California farms. Currently the booth sells strawberries, peanuts, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, lettuce, cabbage, and beets. The booth also has other seasonal produce available at rates that compete with local grocery chains.
I was fortunate enough to discover this market a few months back. Unfortunately, the market is usually empty. But they have a loyal customer base and often offer free entertainment to attract new people. It is located in the parking lot of the African Firefighters and Benevolent Association community center. The AFIBA center wants to expand the market. I would love to see this place develop into its full potential. Imagine more booths of fresh produce and long lines of customers. Communities—like Crenshaw—need more places that promote healthy eating.