“Beyond Organic” Produce Seeks to Fuse Critical Thinking and Sustainable Living
Founded by the Southern California Chapter of the Party in 1977,Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU) continues in the spirit of the Panthers to serve the people, body, and soul!
I met some Black Panthers when I came to Los Angeles for the first time in 1994, and in them I saw the personification of the term “loving the people”. Founded by the Southern California Chapter of the Party in 1977, Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU) continues in the spirit of the Panthers to serve the people, body, and soul! CSU seeks to create justice-driven community-rooted programs that build critical thinking and sustainable living.
Our Village Marketplace increases access to healthy foods in our community while generating income for CSU, reducing our dependence on foundation grants. We sell & distribute the fresh, “beyond organic” produce grown by local farmers & in our mini-farms to local restaurants, caterers, and corner stores in our community at a competitive price. The Marketplace also allows us to create meaningful jobs for young adults, who are part of our From the Ground UP! programs and participate in all aspects of the Marketplace.
With community support we have recently we have recently purchased the Paul Robeson Center where we are bulding South LA’s First Organic Produce & Grocery Market as part of a Community Wellness Center. We are raising funds for the build out and appreciate any and all support in our fundraising campaign.
We believe that high quality, culturally appropriate food it is a basic human right and believe increasing access to it as a critical component of social justice. Through this, we remain committed to the work of breaking down systemic inequalities and barriers by engaging those most affected in defining the issues that impact them and envisioning & creating solutions through collective effort.
Like our founders we are working towards a society where our existence is no longer necessary. For the past two decades, I’ve been faced with the task of operating a grassroots organization with at least half a foot in the non-profit industrial complex. I have often turned to our founders, to their writings, their practices, the best of what they achieved, as well as to their mistakes to help me navigate this path.
In an effort to record and remember our Founder’s vision, I am proud to say that we have begun to document some of the history behind who we are today as part of the Sankofa exhibit being held at the Williams Grant Still Arts Center. This multi-media and multi-disciplinary project will debut a large collection of photographs, artwork, and other original materials tracking CSU’s from its inception in the Free Breakfast for Children Program to our current work in the Paul Robeson Center.
We will be hosting a launch event for the exhibit on Oct 31st which special appearances by International basketball player-turned-farmer Will Allen of Growing Power, D'artagnan Scorza of the Social Justice Learning Institute, Kadiri Sennefer Ra of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Coalition, and members of the CSU team.