Burning Spear News
St. Louis’ “One Africa! One Nation! Farmers Market” enters its third and best season yet!
Produce donated to the 2022 Market by the Gary Brooks Black Power Community Garden and the market team.
St. Louis—Saturday, May 6 will be the opening day of the One Africa! One Nation! (OAON) Farmers Market 2023 season.
This USDA-funded, black community-led market is entering its third year. After two years of featuring black-owned vendors and bringing fresh produce to the majority-African Northside of St. Louis, this season is positioned to be the best yet!
From food apartheid to food oasis
For the last two years, the OAON Farmers Market has been fighting food apartheid from its location at the Black Power Blueprint’s outdoor venue. However, this year, the market will be in the historic O’Fallon Park. On any given afternoon with good weather, the park is filled with working class Africans grilling, fishing, playing music, or simply kicking back. The market will take place on the corner of West Florissant and Harris, in between the boathouse and the playground–making it a perfect spot for the community to attend.
“I see this market as an opportunity to show the community in a material way, what it means to feed and clothe ourselves. No one can control you if you’re feeding and clothing yourself,” says Rage Gray, this year’s market manager.
Gray has been doing an incredible job leading the market team and uniting the community around the market’s mission of self-determination and food security. The outreach team has distributed over 5,000 fliers in under a month, and will be featured in St. Louis’ Feast Magazine’s May issue. We are uniting St. Louis to bring commerce back to the Northside of St. Louis and end food apartheid for good. The market is already a success before it has even started.
Buy from each other, sell to everyone!
Vendors, small businesses and community residents are able to sell clothing, accessories, home decor, artwork, books and literature as well as specifically regulated food items–all while enjoying music and other cultural presentations.
Many of our longtime vendors are back this year: Larine Renee Word has been making jewelry with her business, Crafted by Angel, for almost eight years and has been a hit at the last two market seasons. Tonya and Greg of TAG Catering return with their delicious, homemade soul food; Amber Books with their selection of anti-colonial, pro-black literature for all ages. The African National Women’s Organization sells their all-natural skin and hair care products, Decolonaise Hair and Body.
We are excited to welcome new vendors, including Tabitha of Tabby Catt’z Lemonade, lemonade that she says is special because “every lemon is squeezed with love.” Kwame Kindread is another first-time vendor with the OAON Market, featuring his handcrafted jewelry business, Infinite Divinity. Kindread is also a talented musician who will be performing at the May 20 market!
Seize the means of food production!
Our team is working with several black farmers and growers in the St. Louis region to fill each market with fresh fruits and vegetables. The launch Market will feature a backyard gardening workshop with Nick Speed, director and visionary of George Washington Carver Farms, a North St. Louis farm funded by the Ujima Foundation. Speed has an incredible vision for this plot of land:
“[I’m] really excited about the potential to make an impact here…really grateful to provide space not just for growing food but also for education, and for grieving and for community building.” We are also working with the Black Power Blueprint’s Gary Brooks Community Garden who hosted their first planting day on April 15 that brought out over 60 volunteers. The Gary Brooks Community Garden has provided over 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to the last two OAON Market seasons. The market offers free vending space for anyone selling fresh produce.
The mission of the OAON Farmers Market is “to provide access to fresh, healthy food to the black community, end food apartheid and create community commerce by building relationships with black farmers and vendors.” Realizing this mission will require a dedicated struggle to seizing the means of food production in the hands of African workers!
There will be seven total markets this year—the first Saturday of every month, from May until September, with an additional Market on May 20 to celebrate African Liberation Day, as well as a Halloween Festival on Oct. 28.
Revitalizing the culture and economy of North St. Louis
The OAON Farmers Market is just one of the programs of the Black Power Blueprint, a black self-determination project of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) and Black Star Industries (BSI) to transform North St. Louis through renovation, economic development and political power by and for the black community.
In only six years, the Black Power Blueprint has refurbished dilapidated buildings along West Florissant Avenue into a community center, an outdoor venue with a community garden, a state-of-the-art basketball court, and housing for African people coming out of colonial prisons, and has planted two Red, Black, and Green African flags and painted two beautiful murals. This project has worked with over dozens of local contractors, community organizations, and over hundreds of volunteers.
This is just the beginning. The support for this project extends from St. Louis around the globe. With plans to build an African Women’s Health Center, a commercial kitchen, bakery, and cafe, and much more, the Black Power Blueprint is breathing life into a once-thriving black community that has been neglected, attacked and starved of resources by the colonial city government. Ona Zené Yeshitela, APEDF President and architect of the Black Power Blueprint states, “the Black Power Blueprint exists because the material conditions of African people will only be realized when African people have power over our own lives.”
“Gentrification in St. Louis is a ploy to drive people out of this community. The people live in a food desert and this area has been robbed of the rich, vibrant culture that St. Louis is known for. This is why we build! Our people deserve the best!”
Building African Self-Determination!
Buy Black Power!
Visit a market day, become a vendor, or volunteer at: OneAfricaMarket.com