The Goddess in Green
By Kelly Curry, The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary
Since its birth Planting Justice has known that talking about food justice and equity in our communities is best accompanied with demonstrations of consistent, sound and equitable modeling of practices that move towards healing, community engagement and the composting of old, antiquated systems that have not served plant, animal, humankind globally.
The North Star in the lush galaxy of our work has been sharing the rich technology embodied in the green smoothie with communities most deeply impacted by war economy and the racist, classist systems that created the high mortality rates and food related illnesses in folks who live in food deserts.
Radical Healing in A Bottle…
On March 30, 2021 this bright and brilliant star guided us to Oakland Bloom, the new home of our Oakland based smoothie operations. That day we blended the first of what will be many immune boosting green smoothies. This half dozen or so gallons, full of love and good healing ingredients was distributed early the next morning, without hoopla and fanfare…to elders, frontline community partners around the city and folks who are shut in due to health emergencies and other ongoing crises in our Beloved Community.
“Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.” – Buddhist Wisdom
Since the inception of the pandemic Planting Justice in partnership with The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary has been working on the frontlines, organizing safe and sanitary pop up smoothie booths and moving thousands and thousands of units of nutrition through our Beloved community to residents, frontline workers in spaces and places to meet the city’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised…with love and intention. A great relationship has blossomed with The Unity Council who has hosted our Wednesday Pop Up at Fruitvale Village for the past year.
The Spirit of the smoothie project is one of many grandchildren of the free food program organized by The Black Panther Movement for liberation and freedom for All People. A movement that got going here in Oakland in the 60’s.
“Our children are being organized into poverty through their hunger.” – Bobby Seale
This movement pulled into its orbit every other popular movement for liberation for People on the Planet, including those in Vietnam, The Philippines, Cuba, Africa and beyond.
Here in Oakland the central sun was engagement around healing community.
This movement for sustenance and healthy Life for all posed the greatest threat to the US Government and her colonizing, allied homies because the Panthers were not only uniting the oppressed people of the world around freedom…but they were feeding children.
In the eyes of a White Supremacist American government that meant that they were organizing an army to rise up and slap back at the hundreds of years of colonization that has subsequently enslaved our Planet.
“The BCP (Breakfast for Children Program) promotes at least tacit support for the Black Panther Party among naive individuals and, what is more distressing, it provides the BPP with a ready audience composed of highly impressionable youths. Consequently, the BCP represents the best and most influential activity going for the BPP and, as such, is potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for.” – J Edgar Hoover, Director of The FBI
Though J Edgar is long gone, our communities are still struggling to break free from systems he constructed, systems which take a hit whenever any man, woman or child in a food desert has the opportunity to nourish their body with living food.
The program that started here in Oakland ended up being replicated by Black Panther Party activists all over the country and fed over 50,000 children nationwide and more globally.
The Black Panthers said “survival pending revolution,” meaning we have to make a way out of no way to get by until the revolution comes.
Every green smoothie we make is full of healing plant medicines aka powerful flavonoids…rich in antioxidants…we use herbs that soothe the central nervous system and fiber derived from dense, hearty, locally sourced greens and fruit from the rainbow of God’s farmacy.
Every green smoothie we blend says “healing is the revolution.”
The green smoothie project at Planting Justice is a survivor of anti life notions deeply embedded in the American psyche that deny love and abundance from the Earth for All People…war economy notions that insist that healing must come in a chemicalized pill or its sibling…a bullet…notions that make us turn away from the fact that nature and plants hold not only the cures but the lessons and the examples of how to give and receive and accept that life can be a continuum of wholeness, life, love, happiness and health.
In addition to blending smoothies for our Beloved Community in the midst of this ongoing global pandemic, at Oakland Bloom we will continue to train youth in all aspects of food justice; demonstrating and building more labor equity and other things that yield health and longevity for our New World.
Oakland Bloom was founded by Sean Chow, who writes “We as a society, have an opportunity to collectively reshape an industry that has historically thrived off the backs of working-class folks. Oakland Bloom is working to change this.”
In May of 2021 we will be launching the world’s first ever community smoothie handbook, researched and organized in partnership with Dr. Kara Young. The launch will take place at the world’s first Smoothie Summit, a gathering of grassroots community healers, farmers, nutrition thought partners and Light Food sharers.
The book will not only tell the story of the radical free green smoothie justice movement in Oakland, California, but will also include relevant recipes and maps of local food systems in our town, and interviews with local frontline food justice activists and smoothie booth regulars!
We didn’t get here alone so props ya’ll!!!!
Love to our supporters, contributors, sustainers and prayer warriors!
Thanks to the original HYBEAMS crew; our amazing youth interns; Ashel and Xochitl over at EFAM; Max for the Oakland Bloom hookup…Diana Wu, Lily Fahsi-Haskell; The Unity Council; Education at Planting Justice-Maya, Feyi…banana berry drop offs at dawn :-)…Anthony Forest; Bilal Coleman, HZ for the amazing camera work; Gavin for that first dream BIG smoothie vision session 7 years ago when 20 of us we were crammed in at the garage at Veronica and Johnny’s; every student and every teacher (Ms Arabia!!!!) at our OUSD sites and folks doin’ time-KALE NOT JAIL ya’ll-who we will resume visiting with smoothie love and sometimes burritos very soon…thanks to all of our ancestors who float the love, humility, power and peace of this healing project to other angels(Paula Beal!!!) and RIP our Beloved Peace maker and Visual Artist in smoothie residence Ryder Haller…please keep sketching our smoothie dreams in Heaven Ryder – We thank you and we Love You Always.