My Story, My Food Legacy
My name is Paul Walker. I’m 24 years young, I was born and raised in North and West Oakland and finished high school in Monroe, LA. I’m very spunky, Krazii, Kewl, love to laugh and be laughed at, articulate, and I have an abstract way of thinking. But this is my story about the start of my food legacy.
One year I was going through a financial crisis- no job, no steady income, striving to make it. One lucky, lonely night while walking down MacArthur Boulevard I saw a help wanted sign in the window of a Liberty Tax company. I went in, applied, and the rest was history. After working the tax season at liberty tax as a local sign waver/ dancer, I became very known in the community. People recognized me wherever I went from Richmond to San Francisco, all the way back home (Oakland).
So I remember seeing this busted up bus with this light skinned brother and another young looking cat passing by where I was waving my sign waiving (Seminary Avenue). One day I ended up running into the light skinned dread head brother and the young looking cat. They offered me a job sign waving for their local farmers market for a non-profit organization (Oakland Food Connection). At the time I knew nothing of what kind of work they did, I just saw dollar signs.
A bit skeptical about it at first I ended up eventually dancing to promote OFC’s local farmers market. The neighborhood we worked in has block parties and community events in the summer, so one summer we ended up having a booth at an event. They needed me to help out and make smoothies. I felt good about it cause at the time I was a bit exhausted by doing that dancing stuff 6 days a week. I mean it was koo and all but man I got tired of people always stopping me asking me to “bruh hit it bruh, do dat dance you be doin” so I made smoothies more hands on and I liked it.
As time progressed, I started dancing less and working hands on more til eventually I started co-running a food booth at the farmers market called the PLC an acronym for Purple Lawn Café. Kevin, Jason, Austin, And Lindsey (All Members Of Oakland Food Connection) taught me the ropes on food justice. I still have lots to learn, but the most important thing I learned is that it's every individual persons right to have the option to access whatever types of food they please, and that they be able to grow and distribute the food as they please.
It’s been almost two years since I’ve been with Oakland Food Connection, and the relationships I’ve built in the time I’ve been here have gotten stronger. My knowledge on why we do what we do has increased, and my taste buds have even changed. Since I’ve been a part of the food justice movement in east Oakland, I’ve been involved in many different conferences, speaking at major events, even got funded to open up a business venture that another young man and I came up with. Plenty of mountains have been climbed and plenty of food wrongs have been made right, but there is plenty of work still left to be done, and I’m here from the long haul.
Come learn more about Oakland Food Connection this weekend at our joint service day with OFC and Soul of the City. We'll be repairing and replanting the edible classroom in the Rooftop Garden at EC Reems Academy in East Oakland.
Dec 12, 2013
Dec 12, 2013
Nov 27, 2013
Nov 07, 2013