Mandela MarketPlace


Activities: Retail Distribution. Locations: USA. Location Detail: California and Oakland. Stage: Established. Business Model: Community Food Enterprise and Non-profit. Function: Distribution and Retail.

Mandela MarketPlace is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low income communities.

Operating out of West Oakland, California; Mandela operates as a food hub by supporting local farmers with alternative distribution channels:

  • Earth’s Produce Distribution, with a strong commitment to local, under-resourced and minority producers Mandela MarketPlace has established support for small, local farmers by through an alternative distribution network that passes on wholesale prices to neighborhood stores and other community based businesses.
  • Mandela Market Stands, weekly stalls held at senior centers and residential facilities selling farm fresh produce  and wholesome basic staples at affordable prices in a convenient, friendly, and helpful atmosphere.

It also has a number of other great initiatives:

  • A Foods Cooperative, as a catalyst for change, Mandela seeks to transform the neighborhood into a dynamic, healthy and prosperous community for the benefit of residents, employees, commuters, and local farmers
  • Healthy Neighbourhood Store Alliance, managed by Mandela’s West Oakland Youth Standing Empowered (WYSE) team, aiming to increase retail access points for affordable fresh, healthy foods Our produce comes from Earth’s Produce Distribution, a Mandela Marketplace Food Enterprise, that supports under-resourced, sustainable farmers within a 150 mile radius of Oakland.
  • West Oakland Youth Standing Empowered (WYSE), a youth program with a mission to teach leadership and entrepreneurial skills. WYSE’s goal is to advocate for healthy communities focusing on food security and the built environment.
  • Food to Families, education programs helping families with fun health & nutrition education workshops, cooking demos, physical activity classes.

At saturation point? Watch this video from Mandela MarketPlace to hear straight up from a community the importance of food hubs.