(Published in Oakland North: http://oaklandnorth.net/2011/10/11/phat-beets-produce-farmers-market-in-north-oakland-hosts-decolonize-your-diet-event/)

While much of the country took Monday off in honor of Columbus’ expedition to the New World, Phat Beets Produce farmers’ market in North Oakland took an alternate approach on Saturday with its “Decolonize Your Diet: An Indigenous People’s Day” celebration.

Dozens gathered to participate in a variety of workshops, including the Food System Collaborative’s “Combating Culinary Colonialism,” POOR Magazine’s “Poison on Our Plate,” and an open meeting put on by the group Stop the Gang Injuction in Oakland. Attendees browsed through handmade jewelry and local produce, listened to music by Somos One of BRWN BFLO, and watched local artist Octavio De La Paz create a painting in front of them.

Multeado Silencio, 27, led the “Poison on Our Plate” workshop, which examined the social impact of poor food accessibility in low-income communities. The East Oakland resident said he hoped the day would educate others to work together.

“It’s about being able to, little by little, start reclaiming our culture, our people, our food,” Silencio said. “It doesn’t matter your class, your age, or whatever group you belong to. I think, at the end of the day, we are human beings, and to make this world happen, we’re going to have to collaborate with each other.”