Ujamaa: A Co-op Culture Story is a documentary that I'm currently producing which explores how health food inequity affects the black community, and how Cooperative Food Businesses serve as an answer to this problem.
African Americans disproportionately reside in food deserts and are affected by preventable health diseases like diabetes and obesity. The film will explore how to counter these negative trends by introducing viewers to cooperative business and unfolds the history of black cooperatives and collective economics by highlighting organizations who practiced these principles like The Freedom Farmers and The Black Panthers Party.
In the documentary, we hear from cooperative business experts and break down exactly how a cooperative business operates and how the culture of cooperative businesses already aligns with many of the traditions of the black community. The film chronicles the experiences of the Oakland based worker-owned cooperative, Mandela Grocery to show exactly how a cooperative food business operates day to day.
Lastly, the documentary highlights emerging trends in the black natural foods movement by speaking with leaders of the Black Vegan community and Black Farmers.
The hope with this documentary is to drive more black people to get involved and start their own cooperative food businesses. To date, I’ve conducted all of my interviews, have developed a strong editing script based on these interviews, and have started the post-production process. I am seeking additional funding to complete the editing of this documentary as well as to pay application fees for film festival submissions and to host my own screenings of the film in urban communities around the country.
I shot the principal interviews in Spring 2019 with the help of participants of The Bayview-Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT) Studio Internship. Members of Mandela Grocery Cooperative have served as advisors on the project and have graciously donated funds to help me get the film to its current stage.
If interested in supporting this project, please reach out through the form below or consider making a donation by clicking the Donate button in the top right-hand corner!