African American Museum and Library of Oakland/AAMLO
Phat Beets’ food justice work is a local application of the Panther’s principles. Their vital work stands on the rich legacy of the Panthers’ Free Breakfast Program. Phat Beets prepared a delicious and nutritious breakfast on-site for our celebration. All of the produce was grown by youth at Phat Beets’ Castlemont High School Urban Garden. This year-round school farm is a living outdoor classroom. Phat Beets’ food justice work addresses the lack of access to healthy food experienced by low-income communities of color. Their community food stands, edible parks, youth programming and small business incubation kitchen incorporate ideas championed by the Black Panther Party. Sign up for Phat Beets’ weekly CSA sourced from local farmers of color. Support their restorative economics!
"The Free Breakfast Program was the binding glue of the Black Panther Party.”
Neighbors from all walks came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther’s Free Breakfast survival program. Brother Saturu shared archival footage documenting the emergence of one of the Black Panther Party’s most successful and influential community programs. Started in 1968 in Oakland, the Free Breakfast Program, and many other survival programs, addressed the needs of low-income communities of color by building localized support systems. Today, millions of American children have access to breakfast before school, yet few know that this federal program is indebted to the Panthers’ efforts and vision.
“Let’s peace up on food!”
Frances Moore, affectionately known as Aunti Frances, has been feeding a North Oakland community for over a decade at Driver Plaza, or the ‘Island’. This tiny wedge of a park has been the community’s outdoor living room for generations. Joining the Black Panthers in her early teens, Aunti Frances learned the value of using food as a tool for organizing. Every Tuesday afternoon from 1-4 pm, Aunti Frances’ Self-Help Hunger Program coordinates free meals bringing together Oaklanders, supporting families, youth and elders. When she first started, Aunti Frances fed 6 people each week--now, she feeds close to 70 with food donated by local businesses and restaurants. Amidst a rapidly changing neighborhood, Aunti Frances’ weekly gatherings have improved this place for the whole community.
Black Panther Free Breakfast Survival Program videos: