Urban Farmer Anan Lololi
Recorded on August 31, 2023, which has been designated by the United Nations as the International Day for People of African descent, host Sheree Williams connects with Canadian urban farmer Anan Lololi to talk about his work around Black food sovereignty in Toronto.
Always a musician at heart, Anan left his home country of Guyana for Toronto and within the first two weeks, was introduced to the renowned reggae group Truths & Rights.
As he left Guyana for Canada, he became a vegan and soon embraced the Rastafari lifestyle. “For people of African descent in the Caribbean Rastafari, they have been eating vegan since the 1930s, but it started popular in the 70s with reggae music.”
After the group disbanded, he back to Guyana for a few years before returning to Canada and decided to go back to school and study business. When a grant opportunity presented itself, he applied and was awarded $50,000. With this, Afri-Can FoodBasket was born. The goal was to purchase foods eaten by people of African descent and make then more affordable. “We as people of African descent, we consume the most expensive foods because we don’t want to consume what we call the Canadian foods. We still want the yams, cassava, plantain, sweet potato, avocado, mangoes, oranges, so we had to buy those foods in bulk.”The program which still exist continues to be a key food resource for the community. It also expanded to growing food and establishing a farming program and focusing on food security and empowering the community.
Giving the baton to his son, today he is focused on a new initiative called Black Food Sovereignty Toronto that stressed the importance of “being self-determining with where we go with the food system.” He adds, “We know ourselves but are not giving the funding and opportunity to do this.”
He goes deeper into the concept of Black food sovereignty on this episode! Be sure to listen to the full episode.
You can also follow Anan on Instagram for Black Food Sovereignty Toronto updates and more.