By Ilona Bray

Brahm Ahmadi didn't like the food choices in his neighborhood, so he started The People's Grocery and began growing healthy food for the community.
Brahm Ahmadi didn’t like the food choices in his neighborhood, so he started The People’s Grocery and began growing healthy food for the community.

Living in West Oakland, a tough, low-income neighborhood, Brahm saw how hard it was to buy healthy food. Local stores sold mostly junk food, plus the occasional floppy old carrot. His neighbors’ health problems, like diabetes and obesity, showed the effects. In 2002 he founded the nonprofit organization People’s Grocery, where he now serves as executive director. One of the organization’s main projects is to grow food in community gardens, then sell it locally at affordable prices. It also holds camps and classes for adults and kids
on gardening, cooking, nutrition, youth leadership, and more.

IndyKids:
As a kid, did you ever imagine you’d someday work on food issues?

Brahm Ahmadi: My grandfather was a farmer in Iowa, and my mother was an avid gardener who made us work in her garden every Saturday. I enjoyed being out in the dirt and working with plants, but figured it was just a hobby. It’s great being able to turn it into my work.

IK: How does your work let you bring about change in the world?

BA: I believe in “food justice”—that everyone, no matter where they live or how much money they earn, should have access to healthy food. We create a fairer food environment right where people live.

IK: What part of your job do you like best?

BA: It’s fun to watch someone who was addicted to junk food discover how delicious a fresh-picked piece of fruit or carrot can be.

IK: Any tips for kids interested in doing similar work?

BA: Do what you believe in and be ready to learn as you go. We didn’t know how to run an organization when we started, but were amazed at how many people wanted to support a good effort.

For more information: See www.peoplesgrocery.org.