Written by Maritza Martinez, Fellowship Program Manager
Last year, all eyes were on Occupy Oakland as protestors exposed economic injustice and challenged the status quo across the country. Though the issues they brought to light are still relevant, they are no longer in the global spotlight. But the movement has continued in many ways and the inspiration it provided lives on in the work of many around the world.
Green For All Fellow, Ashel Eldridge was inspired by the energy of Occupy and this, coupled with his day-to-day work with youth in the Bay Area, led him to realize that good health is a prerequisite for participation in activism. He wanted to find a way to help heal activists and other members of the community and ensure their good health. And he decided natural, healthy juice was the way to do it.
Ashel launched SOS Juice to provide free juice to the community. SOS stands for System Out of our System. As a hip hop artist and member of Earth Amplified, Ashel created community events that combined music and hip hop culture while introducing “live juice” to participants. And it worked.
With the support of Green For All’s Fellows Fund Micro-grant, SOS Juice is developing a cooperative business model that combines healthy fresh juice, youth employment and composting. Ashel recognized that employment can also be a barrier to health and participation in the green economy. In fact, when youth are able to get jobs, they are usually employed at fast food establishments that supply unhealthy, processed foods to their communities. In response, Ashel set out to create an alternative for youth employment where young people could be surrounded by healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables. Youth not only receive healthy juice and a job, but they become models for sustainable living in their communities.
Ashel has big dreams for this business. He wants to see SOS Juice become a national franchise, making fresh healthy options available in every neighborhood, as ubiquitous as fast food is today. But he needs all of us to get involved.
He will be launching solar-powered juice truck here in the Bay Area this year to pilot the idea and strengthen the model. He is looking for financial support in the form of investments and donations. Click here to find out how you can be part of this transformative experience.