The Dallas Examiner
Many local Black communities struggle with the negative impact of living in a food desert and various health issues due to lack of healthy options.
A healthy diet is imperative in the African American community, especially after a new study from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that Blacks age 18 to 34 are more likely to develop and to die from heart disease, stroke and diabetes than Whites.
“The food is the medicine,” said Tisha Crear, Founder of new local juice bar Recipe Oak Cliff.
Recipe Oak Cliff used Martin Luther King Day – a day of service – to begin providing fresh organic juices and food in the Bishop Arts District, which is surrounded by a food desert area.
“[Recipe Oak Cliff] is focused on food security because this neighborhood is a food desert. I live in the neighborhood,” Crear said.
As an Oak Cliff resident, the retail owner understands the struggle of the average citizen within a food desert neighborhood.
“Living over here, you don’t have access to anything that’s healthy, but if you want a single cigarette, 50 cent bag of chips, or fries, there’s plenty of it,” she said.
As a solution, Crear offers a to-go only juice bar with many healthy options provided by local farms and health food companies. The business, located at 1831 S. Ewing St., also provides authentic vegan cuisine-influenced by different cultures such as Asian, soul food and Caribbean, that contain only fruits, vegetables, nuts and/or seeds.
“There is a cost associated because I am bringing in organic foods into this area, but what I am doing is I am working to always have something that people can afford,” she said as she explained the prices. “I try to keep a nice healthy price range, so that there are options that are affordable.”
She also provides healthy cooking classes to the community on Sunday afternoons.
The ROC owner wants to create a “healthier Dallas” and great business model by providing nutritious meals to the community and incubators for health food vendors in the area to further expand her vision. Its shared commercial kitchen offers local food entrepreneurs rental storage and preparation space.
“I want Recipe Oak Cliff to be able to give more access to healthy food within the community,” she said. “I want Recipe Oak Cliff to be able to create more minimum wage jobs, and I want it to become a beckon of life in this neighborhood and, perhaps, serve as a template for how you can do this type of business in this type of neighborhood. It is what we want and what we need.”
According to Crear, ROC has been given a lot of positive feedback from locals, and she hopes the cycle continues in order to become staple in Southern Dallas.
“I want people to have a new, fresh look at what healthy food tastes like and is,” Crear said. “It could be really delicious.”