On July 1 at 3:20 p.m., as the One Africa! One Nation! (OAON) Farmers Market was packing up, a tornado hit the Northside. The market team and volunteers, including children, ran for cover in O’Fallon Park’s bathroom. Luckily, the bathroom was open! Once it was safe, we ventured out to collect the rest of our equipment and help vendors locate their items and pack their cars. The majority of our vendors made it out of the park safely before the tornado hit, but four were caught in the tornado.
Everyone is safe now, but the Northside is devastated. The majority of families were without power for nearly five days after the tornado. Many people couldn’t afford hotel rooms and were stuck in their homes without electricity or air conditioning during the heat of July. Refrigerated food was destroyed, and families had nowhere to turn for basic necessities.
Three weeks later, there are still hazardous fallen trees and debris throughout the Northside. The black community was hit the hardest and received little to no attention or support while the rest of the city was relatively untouched. This kind of neglect in the face of disaster is what the Delmar Divide looks like in St. Louis.
The lack of response from the city when the black community suffers severe loss is further evidence of why we need self-determination—the ability to feed, clothe, and house ourselves as well as save people during and after a natural disaster.
This is why we need One Africa! One Nation! Farmers Market because we are our own liberators! We work with black farmers and urban gardeners to be able to bring fresh produce to the black community. The market team has been working in the Gary Brooks Black Power Community Garden, a project of the Black Power Blueprint, to grow fresh herbs and produce, and we also work in the farms and gardens of some of our farmers and gardeners.
Come get some free produce at our Free Produce Giveaways every Friday from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm right outside the Gary Brooks Black Power Community Garden at 4031 West Florissant Avenue. We want to make sure no one is going hungry and that the community is taking control of the lack of food in our community due to food apartheid. This is what self-determination looks like!
Come out to the next OAON Farmers Market on Saturday, September 2 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in O’Fallon Park, between the boathouse and playground.
Support the OAON Farmers Market!
Support Black Farmers and Vendors!
End Food Apartheid!