Fed up with taking a nearly two-hour bus ride every time she wanted to buy healthy, vegan food, Los Angeles native Olympia Auset decided it was time she took matters into her own hands.
Cue the birth of SÜPRMARKT, a low-cost organic grocery that operates weekly to provide 100-percent organic produce to low-income families and communities in L.A. with limited access to healthy food options. The grocery store has managed to provide an estimated 200 cases of affordable organic fruit, vegetables and seeds to the city’s Southside community since its inception in July 2016, according to its website.
“I think the greatest takeaway about this project is it shows there are things every person can do to tackle societal issues that face their community,” said Auset, who now resides in Inglewood. “It isn’t always about waiting on corporations or governments to get things done.”
While there are a number of organic and vegan grocery stores across the city, many of them aren’t affordable for families and individuals living on a fixed income. That’s why the Howard University alum made it her mission to ensure everyone had access to fresh, organic foods, no matter their income level. In fact, her grocery store’s motto fittingly declares, “Everyone deserves great food.”
Last year, the 26-year-old spoke with Black Vegans Rock about why she decided to become a raw vegan and the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle.
“Raw vegan is the next step in health/awareness,” Auset commented. “We are all evolving collectively, and raw is the next step in us achieving that God-like spiritual state. I know that when you eat living food, you feel alive — there’s a certain high that comes from eating only living things.”
“Veganism, and even more so raw veganism, creates a certain strength within you to be the change” in other areas of your life,” she added.
Auset said the idea for SÜPRMARKT was also borne out an of an effort to show her friends how to make healthier eating choices.
“One of [my friends’] first complaints would be, ‘Oh, it’s to expensive to eat better,’ ” she said. “But it is crazy when you go into stores and [you need] one tomato and they want like a $1.25 for it.”
Auset has since partnered with organic food sellers in the L.A. area to provide “new” produce and produce deemed “unsellable” by grocers to local communities that can still make use of it, BlackBusiness.org reported. This way, the organic grocery helps limit L.A.’s food waste while still providing organic, vegan food options to the communities that need it most.
The market’s subscription service offers low-cost weekly packages of fresh produce and accepts EBT for all of its food sales. Auset’s initiative also has received grants from The Pollination Project and Co-opportunity and gained the support of notable food figures like Robert Egger of LA Kitchen, according to BlackBusiness.org.
Auset has not responded to requests for comment.
To learn more about SÜPRMARKT, click here.