Mandela Foods Cooperative, located at 1430 Seventh St. in West Oakland's Lower Bottoms , signals a positive new change for the neighborhood. Born out of the effort of the Mandela Marketplace, a nonprofit business incubator, Mandela Foods is unlike many of the "grocery stores" you see in this part of Oakland.
West Oakland has 53 liquor stores within its boundaries not to mention the countless convenience stores that take up almost each corner. The lack of grocery stores within West Oakland force many residents to shop at either the convenience stores or the 99 cent only store, located just a block from Mandela Foods. I don't have to tell you the quality of food that these stores carry.
Unlike the convenience stores, Mandela Foods is a worker-owned and operated healthy grocery store. It carries local, fresh produce, bulk items, a drink case and deli.Walking in the Mandela Foods is refreshing. The store doesn't smell stale like a lot of the convenience stores I've been in and the staff are really friendly. Being a Whole Foods employee, I had to see just how "health store" it really was. The sure way to tell this is to see if a store carries Kombucha. Sure enough, there they were. The Chinese fermented teas seemed to sing to me from their cold case that yes, I was in the right place!
I was astounded by the selection of bulk items they had for such a small space they occupied. Rows upon rows of granola, muesli, nuts and dried fruit waiting to be scooped out, weighed and consumed by the neighborhood customers.
Many people would doubt that such a store could exist in the neighborhood of West Oakland. Program Director of Mandela Marketplace thinks differently."It's a fallacy that low-income people don't want to eat healthy," says Harvey.
1430 7th St.
Oakland, CA 94607