March 2013 - The Dwayne Cooper Garden of Hope
Ujamaa Farm Operations
The Ujamaa Agricultural Cooperative Members are gearing up for springtime at the farm!They’re looking forward to adding a greenhouse and herb shed this season to continue experimenting with what can grow in our Hill District backyard on Bedford Avenue. Last year, plenty of herbs, baby eggplant, melons and patty pan squash filled baskets on harvest days. The drought of 2012 put a real damper on traditional crops like the multiple varieties of tomatoes that grew so well the year before.
At the end of last year, the co-op members planted winter crops that we’re looking forward to seeing very soon, including garlic, strawberries and greens. Many of the dormant herbs will return as well like thyme, chocolate mint and rosemary. The women created four no-dig freestanding beds with organic matter, cardboard, leaves and grass clippings from the area that will be home to even more experimental crops.
Contact Manager, Celeta Hickman at email@example.com, if you are interested in volunteering on the farm this spring!
Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives that Transform Communities
Carnegie Museum of Natural History presents Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives that Transform Communities
In conjunction with a powerful exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History entitled Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives that Transform Communities, members of Ujamaa Collective’s jewelry co-op hosted a talking circle in December 2012 at the Oakland museum.
From Africa to Asia to the Americas, female artisans are creating grassroots cooperatives to reach new markets, raise income, and transform lives. Empowering Women explores the work of ten such enterprises in ten countries. Each has a different motivation: preserving a dying heritage, sustaining the environment, providing a safe haven from violence. Art binds them, but the market drives them. Cooperatives help women survive. They work collaboratively to create products, develop distribution networks, and decide how to distribute or invest revenues.
Visitors to the exhibit had the opportunity to participate in the Talking Circle facilitated by Ujamaa members who shared goals for the economic impact of co-ops for women of African descent in our local community. During the Talking Circle, jewelry co-op members led a collaborative beading project that visitors enjoyed. The bead project is currently hanging in the Ujamaa Collective Boutique window for all to see.
The Empowering Women Exhibit runs until May 12, 2013.
December 8, 2012 - Onyx Woman for the Holidays Marketplace and More!
November 2012 - Black Friday (Nov. 23rd)
BLACK FRIDAY shopping day!
There will be:
12:00-12:30pm Head-wrapping demo by I-Medina
2:00-3:00pm DIY Body and Hair Care demo by Lakeisha Wolf, owner of Enjoyourself
3:00-4:00pm Reflexology by Umi
4:30-5:00pm Mission Possible Therapies, LLC (Masseuse, located in the Hill)
5:00-5:30pm Drum Demo by Kelly e. Parker, owner of NAPSAC
~Healthy breads and sweets from Maat's Righteous Treats....and more!
Gift Cards are available!
Extended Hours on Black Friday, November 23, 2012
from 8:00am - 7:00pm
November 2012 - Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov. 22nd - Thanksgiving Day - CLOSED
Nov. 21st - Ujamaa Boutique will CLOSE at 1:00pm
> During October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ujamaa Collective helped to raise awareness of the need for women to make a conscientious shift in their personal care and make-up product choices. Through a wonderful partnership with New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice and the national group, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, our Boutique hosted "Naturally Beautiful!: Natural Make-up and Make-over Night on October 24th, 2012.
The personal care products used by millions of people can contain hundreds of separate chemicals, many of those unknown to the general public due to an unregulated industry. Women, and women of color specifically, are at risk of high toxic exposure due to our higher usage of beauty care products; a risk that can lead to a number of issues, including long-term health concerns such as cancer and reproductive problems.The women who attended Naturally Beautiful! experienced a fun night of DIY beauty care stations, product samples and demonstrations, and entered a raffle for a gift basket of natural skincare and make-up products donated by local businesses, including Ujamaa member businesses! An insightful presentation by Sarada Tangirala from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics helped informed participants about health concerns, safe cosmetics and natural alternatives.
> "Tofu scrambler was a hit!" Prepared by Ujamaa Collective member Gail “Maa’t” Manker of "Maa-t’s Righteous Sweets" at HEAL: Health Expo for African American Living. The stir-fried mixture was made of tofu made from non-genetically modified soybeans, fresh vegetables, spices and vegan cheese. HEAL was co-sponsored by PA State Rep. Jake Wheatley and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle at the Thelma Lovette YMCA on October 14th, 2012. Gail who is a certified food educator, provided a food demonstration to showcase to the audience, young and old, the value of making vegetarian meals from scratch. She talked in detail about the nutritional content and allowed the children to help cook by adding the ingredients and stirring the dish. Besides healthy food demonstrations by Ujamaa and other local chefs, HEAL expo also featured health screenings, exhibit booths, fitness competitions, free giveaways, and instructional exercise classes. This event was open to all in the greater Pittsburgh region with the purpose of teaching attendees how to live a healthier lifestyle and steps that can be taken to achieve healthier living, particularly in the African American community.
Our first "Word of Mouth" Poetry event. This open mic event is held monthly here at the Ujamaa Boutique. It features the creative works of Ujamaa artists, poets and friends, and is open to the public to attend and perform. Ujamaa formally wants to Thank and offer blessings to our hosts thus far, who have also graced the mic: Carla Rae, I-Medina, and Hotep The Artist.
May - October 2012
"Open-Air Marketplace 2012 had a successful marketplace season. This year we dedicated certain weekends to celebrate specific topics, i.e. Black Church Weekend, "Spice The Pot" Caribbean Carnival Weekend, Africa In Pittsburgh Weekend, Children's Literary Weekend, HBCU/Black Greek Weekend. For these weekends, we invited the community to be more involved in the collaboration and performance process. Adults and Children alike danced, performed, made and sold wares of all kinds.
The Ujamaa Farm Cooperative - Ujamaa has been involved in the DeWayne Cooper Garden of Hope for over two years and began our own two-acre project in the Spring of 2012, focusing on herbs, specialty produce items and cut flowers.
Children laughed and played among local artisans and vendors Saturday before settling down to hear African tales and other stories from storytellers during a Ujamaa Collective market in the Hill District. The Ujamaa Collective, a group of local black female entreprenuers, hosted the first annual Children's Literary Festival to expose youth in the Hill District to African culture, artistic director Deborah Starling-Pollard said. "The kids go to the library, but they go to get on the Internet," Ms. Starling-Pollard said. "We want to get them excited about reading." Authors Sharon Flake, Roland Barksdale-Hall, Elizabeth Howard and Kelly Starling-Lyons read to the children. Ms. Starling-Pollard said she hopes the readings will give the children a sense of community.
In his 1966 number one Billboard top R and B single, "It's a Man's Man's World", the late soul singer James Brown sang, "This is a man's world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl." The Ujamaa Collective, an organization of women of African descent is proving that point by practicing the fourth Nguzo Saba principal of Kwanzza (collective economics) through the operation of the Ujamaa Marketplace, an open-air market during the summer and now preparing for their fall and winter season at 1901 Centre Avenue.
Walking to the library Saturday, Cookie Williams stopped at a once-vacant lot on Centre Avenue, surprised to hear the hum of women selling wares. She bought ripe tomatoes at a table of vegetables, gathering ingredients for a salad. "We need this," said Ms. Williams, 52. "This is a change for Centre Avenue." Fresh produce is a rare sight in the Hill District, where about 40 percent of the population lives below poverty level. But the women of the Ujamaa Collective, a group of black entrepreneurs, artists and artisans, plan to change that. Saturday was the grand opening of their outdoor market, operating at 2030 Centre Ave. for several weekends in August and September. Eventually, the women hope to buy the lot from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and create a place where vendors can sell food and crafts year-round.
Ujamaa Collective's two-year-long dream of creating an open-air marketplace will come true Saturday when it debuts on Centre Avenue in the Hill District. "We wanted to showcase the creative ability of the African-American women and men in our community," says Yejide KMT, one of 15 members in the collective. "And this is a place where people can express their talents and be rewarded for them." The group is named after one of seven Kwanzaa principles meaning "cooperative economics." It began three years ago when Celeta Hickman, the founder, got fed up with her nomadic vending lifestyle. "My sisters and I were all out vending together throughout the region. ... We started talking, and decided we really needed to start a local marketplace," Hickman says. "We know that the African-American community needs these types of places, and we got a good feeling from the community, which inspired us to move forward with it."
Selling hand-crafted jewelry and homemade sweets, the women who gathered in the Hill District yesterday were worlds away from the barrage of bargain-hunters at local malls. They were artists and artisans, entrepreneurs and business-owners. United as the Ujamaa Collective, they saw Black Friday as a critical opportunity to stimulate black spending in black communities. "People look at our community and think there's nothing there," said Yejide Kmt, of Homewood. "If you look around -- just in this room -- you have people that hand-sew things, bead, make vegan food," she said. "This is just a sampling of what is in our neighborhood."