10,000 People with 10,000 Stories in 10,000 Hours

People's Grocery has launched a national campaign to let YOU share your personal food stories. Food is central to our lives in ways that we sometimes overlook. Evoking feelings of strength, joy, tragedy, and connection, sharing food stories can be empowering and profoundly moving for you and the people you share them with.


Ask me anything   Submit your food story!

This is footage from a work day we  had a few weeks ago at our office site. The Asomugha Foundation joined forces with the People’s Grocery in West Oakland to grow food for everyone. Students in the Asomugha College Tours for Scholars Program, ACTS, volunteered to help. Thanks Georgia for filming and sharing this!!

An amazing video about the sad injustices so close to home. 

Welcome new followers!

We’d love to hear your stories! If you’re following then it’s safe to assume you have a basic understanding of this project we’re running, and we hope you submit a food story in whichever way you see fit. Draw a picture! Submit a photograph! Upload a video to Youtube!

Becoming an Urban Farmer

My mom grew up on a farm and after retirement my grandparents kept a kitchen garden and chickens. We always had a garden and until my father died when I was 12, we “put up” all our food for the winter through water canning and cold storage in the basement.  Now 68 years later, in this garden called California I have come back to my “roots”.  I grow food year round in 2 community garden plots and use my own home made compost instead of commercial fertilizers.  Last year I produced 70 lbs of tomatoes from a 3x8 row, all by organic sustainable methods.  And I teach by example. More and more people in my neighborhood have joined the garden after tasting my produce and visiting the garden.  Free growing advice is cheerfully given!  Let us make more community gardens and people’s grocery stores everywhere.   Young and old together, we can make the earth and ourselves healthy and beautiful, one garden at a time!  Plant something you can eat today!

It’s Tradition.

Growing up with my two sisters in a small apartment by the sea in Pacific Grove, CA frozen french toast was considered a special breakfast and for some reason completely beyond me the combination of frozen pizza and french fries was a go-to dinner if my dad stopped by the store on the way home from work. Vegetables were always around but they were almost always frozen and overcooked to an ambiguous green-orange mess since that was the way my dad liked them, having grown up on mushy canned stuff as a kid in Philly. Sometimes my mom would take us on the bus to the Farmers’ Market where we’d treat ourselves to berries in the summer. My mom made most meals, would score us mangoes into “hedgehogs,” would draw or paint elaborate scenes on our brown paper lunch bags, and would never get us Gushers or Fruit Roll-ups like we wanted, but it’s the meals my dad cooked that I remember most.

Typically traditional, my dad cooks three times a year- it used to be four until I took over Thanksgiving in a Food Network-inspired tirade- and occasionally bakes an incredibly elaborate cake. Every year for as long as I can remember he’s cooked a traditional Polish meal for Christmas Eve, roast “beast” (a la The Grinch) for Christmas dinner, and a lasagna or two for New Years. He grew up in a working-class Irish/Polish household and, despite having his Polish grandmother and all her recipes around, would have Mrs. T’s pierogies, kielbasa, Manischewitz latkes, and frozen lima beans- with sour cream, apple sauce, and a wafer from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Tradition on a budget. And so this is the tradition he wanted to instill in us, and we’ve had it every year of my entire life. If we didn’t, I think the world would end. The meal hasn’t deviated at all, not with a change in family income, not with knowledge or incentive to make these dishes from scratch, not with dietary restrictions (though one year I made vegan latkes for myself, and this year we fried the pierogies in olive oil instead of butter).

My Nana keeps a box of Mrs. T’s pierogies in her fridge year-round, but at my house they’re saved for Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve only. And I still refuse to eat frozen lima beans, and my dad still makes so. many.

-Ariel

Not Never

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was born.  When I tell people this I invariably get asked “so wait…never?” to which I could tell them about various sauces I didn’t realize had chicken stock in them or ramen that had pork broth but those are pretty boring.  Usually I tell the story of how when I was 3 or 4 we were visiting my Aunt overseas.

I’m a vegetarian because my mother chose to raise me that way but her family was never really on board.  Cooking has always been very important to them and the sorts of foods they cooked tended to contain meat.

Anyway, this time we were visiting we went to a meal where there was roast chicken.  I was too young to know what that was.  I don’t think I even knew that I was a vegetarian.  My aunt capitalized on this and offered me some without telling my mom.  Since this memory is very hazy I like to imagine my mom seeing this from across the room, the realization slowly spreading across her face as she begins a slow motion sprint knocking over family members and tables alike.

The end of the story is what you’d expect, I liked the chicken. From what I gather, everyone likes chicken.  My mom was upset and my aunt said something like “but look he likes it!” and I never had chicken (knowingly) again.

Stories from the PG Juneteenth event! Thank you everyone for sharing. Click on any of the stories to see them in a larger size.

The Personal is Medicinal

I grew up in a lower middle class family of five. My Jamaican mother stayed at home. We lived on the salary from my Cajun father’s janitorial job in a bakery (meaning lots of German chocolate and pound cakes). I always knew what dinner would look like: Mondays were leftovers from Sunday, Tuesday was Wendy’s, Wednesday was Pizza Hut, Thursday was KFC, Friday was TV dinners, Saturday was McDonald’s, and Sunday was the only home-cooked meal, usually a Cajun dish made by my father (gumbo was a favorite). Thursday was also grocery day, where we loaded up on chocolate chip cookies, Twinkies, canned items, and other unhealthy supermarket staples. I was constantly sick. Luckily, the high school track team and its rigorous afternoon workouts provided a buffer. In the early 90s I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Syndrome, a condition that caused hearing loss and necessitates a low sodium diet, exercise, and overall healthy eating. I’m convinced my condition stemmed from and was compounded by horrendous eating habits. I hit rock bottom right around the time of my diagnosis, when massive dizzy spells left me incapacitated, and I knew I had to either change or continue suffering. Dramatic shifts are indeed possible—I now look forward to my new family’s weekly produce box from our CSA, visits to the local butcher, recipes sourced with organic fruits and vegetables, and feeling confident that another day can pass where nothing’s spinning. For me, food is personal, political, and medicinal. 

Josh Furnas of SelflessTee tells his food story.

My Food Breakthrough

Over the years I have been extremely fortunate to have access to many different types of food. Having that access allowed me an array of choices when it came to eating. After gaining 20 pounds the two years following high school I realized that although I had power to make choices when it came to food, I often chose fast food and junk food. About six months ago I had an overwhelming feeling to get healthy by exercising and eating right. I have lost 15 pounds so far and I feel so much better. By eating fruit, veggies, lean meats, and other healthy snacks I learned that having a choice is an amazing thing. By taking advantage of my power to chose I have transformed by body and will continue to live a healthy life.

-Megan MaGill

Every few years my family would pile into our car and leave our crowded New Jersey suburb to visit cousins in the majestic, rural land of Vermont. One such trip, a few years ago, I finally understood what had made these trips so magical—the food!
Pasta with home grown tomatoes and squash. A bowl of fresh raspberries for dessert. Crisp, sweet peas for afternoon snacks.  My cousins grew all of these things in their garden. Food was not just a collection of foreign substances they put into their bodies to survive, but something that grew alongside them. I could taste the love and nourishment in every bite.
Now I live in a city with a very tiny yard space, it’s not exactly rural Vermont. But the wonderful freshness of my cousin’s homegrown vegetables gives me a sense of what food can be and gives me the motivation to find healthy food to eat. It makes me sad and angry that so many people do not have access to (or know about) mineral-rich, nutrient rich, sustainably grown food. We are who we are today because of the nourishing foods our ancestors ate and it is not okay that marketers and large commercial enterprises have replaced these rich foods with waxy apples and processed sugary snacks. The loving way my cousins grow delicious food in Vermont has strengthened my own relationship with food and the integral role it plays in loving my body and my community.
-Hannah PP

Every few years my family would pile into our car and leave our crowded New Jersey suburb to visit cousins in the majestic, rural land of Vermont. One such trip, a few years ago, I finally understood what had made these trips so magical—the food!

Pasta with home grown tomatoes and squash. A bowl of fresh raspberries for dessert. Crisp, sweet peas for afternoon snacks.  My cousins grew all of these things in their garden. Food was not just a collection of foreign substances they put into their bodies to survive, but something that grew alongside them. I could taste the love and nourishment in every bite.

Now I live in a city with a very tiny yard space, it’s not exactly rural Vermont. But the wonderful freshness of my cousin’s homegrown vegetables gives me a sense of what food can be and gives me the motivation to find healthy food to eat. It makes me sad and angry that so many people do not have access to (or know about) mineral-rich, nutrient rich, sustainably grown food. We are who we are today because of the nourishing foods our ancestors ate and it is not okay that marketers and large commercial enterprises have replaced these rich foods with waxy apples and processed sugary snacks. The loving way my cousins grow delicious food in Vermont has strengthened my own relationship with food and the integral role it plays in loving my body and my community.

-Hannah PP

Snack Attack! Gone Way Too Far

I took a trip out to Pittsburg Pennsylvania to visit my cousins. My uncle owned a corner store there, and that was what I was really excited to get to! Over the next month that I was there the corner store became my life! I tried new things that my mom had never let me eat before! Not realizing that I was gaining weight by every bag of chips and soda that I consumed. By the time I left I had gained over 8 pounds!! This was a learning experience I will never forget. Now that I am older and wiser I take time to take into consideration what I put in my body before I just go "way too far". :)

"Collective Eating With Friends"A delicious photograph of food that tells its own storySubmitted by Saqib Keval

"Collective Eating With Friends"
A delicious photograph of food that tells its own story
Submitted by Saqib Keval