Since the death of Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle in late March, a local Los Angeles organic grocery pop-up called SÜPRMARKT has been inspired by the late rapper's legacy, and wants to continue the marathon of change.
Store workers hope to continue creating change in minority communities by providing accessible and affordable, organic produce to South Central residents.
Community member and founder of SÜPRMARKT Olympia Auset and her team decided to take action after hearing of one of the few local organic shops in South Central was closing down in early January.
Choosing to save Mr. Wisdom Specialty Health Food Store and Wheatgrass Farm located at 3526 W Slauson Ave. — minutes away from Marathon, Nipsey's store — became their way of continuing and honoring Nipsey's legacy.
Top news of the day
"With Nipsey passing away it really lit a fire in me. It felt like it was my responsibility to step up," Auset said.
Since its opening in 2016, SÜPRMARKT has been providing upward of 25,000 pounds of fresh organic produce to low-income communities in South Los Angeles, she said. The company delivers fresh food and has weekly pop-up booths so anyone in a food desert area of LA has access to healthy food.
She credits her motivation to start SÜPRMARKT with her own experience with food deserts. It was when she had to travel two hours on a bus just for fresh healthy produce that she noticed a lack of quality grocery stores near her community.
After hearing Mr. Wisdom's would shutter, Auset and her team decided to set up an Indiegogo campaign to save it and reopen the store.
"We want to purchase it to make sure that it stays in the community and remains an oasis of help in a neighborhood that needs it," said Auset.
By purchasing Mr. Wisdom's from current owners, SÜPRMARKT would be able to become what they refer to as "South Central’s first full service organic, grocery store."
The new shop would be named after their pop-up SÜPRMARKT, but they do intend to keep the original sign that reads "Mr. Wisdom’s" outside the store, in honor of Mr. Wisdom himself.
Although she has reached out to Mr. Wisdom, she has not received a response.
But said if given the chance to meet with him, she would like to incorporate some of his recipes or have him be a part of the produce store in one way or another. She intends to do as Mr. Wisdom did and provide Slauson Avenue with fresh, clean produce.
"We feel very strongly about this particular location and we are very dedicated and will do anything in our power to make sure that the first brick and mortar becomes a reality," Auset said.
If they are able to reach their goal of $111,000 on the online campaign and are able to purchase the store, SÜPRMARKT would be able to provide organic produce, wellness foods and prepared meals among other healthy options for community members.
Currently Auset and her team have been servicing dozens of people every week and said they want to be able to serve "1,000 Angelenos" a week by 2020.
Right now, SÜPRMARKT is able to serve roughly 12 people per week. With a new brick and mortar store, they would be able to increase their reach exponentially and help a huge amount of people. Everything they have accomplished up to this point has been with what Auset said are very limited resources.
"Having our own space gives us room to be able to do more, not only in providing produce for people but in providing education and creating an environment that people need to make lasting changes in their lives," Auset said.
Since its start, their campaign has been able to reach 51 percent of its original goal — more than $50,000.
Aside from providing fresh produce, SÜPRMARKT hopes to be able to create what they call a "body of content" that would help their community learn how to eat clean no matter where they live.
They strive to do this all while trying to provide these services in a way that is engaging and culturally relevant to their community.
Ultimately, they want to inspire and empower people to take control of their access to fresh food. She hopes that steps such as the one that SÜPRMARKT is taking will aid in ending food deserts in South Central, and ultimately Los Angeles as a whole.
"Our goal is to really set an example that gives people hope and inspiration for making the most and making change for the better," Auset said. "Not needing to wait for outside help to rebuild areas."
The deadline for their fundraising campaign will end on July 4.
For more information on how to donate go to their Indiegogo page.