IT ALL STARTED WHEN…
Anga Sanders walked into the Albertsons store on McKinney Avenue, having driven the 13 miles across town to do her weekly grocery shopping in November of 2014. It was a trip she’d made for years, but this time, the salad bar that stood just inside the doors stopped her in her tracks. It was beautiful, well-stocked, fresh, and contained everything you could possibly want to make your own salad. Realizing that there was nothing like it south of I-30, the bustling highway that divided Southern Dallas from the rest of the city, she took pictures, which she later posted on Facebook. When she received 99 responses within an hour, she knew that her frustration over that situation was shared by many.
Upon returning home, Anga scheduled a community meeting to discuss the need for more and better grocery stores in the vast Oak Cliff food desert. In an area that comprises 54% of the land mass of the city and is home to more than 200,000 residents, there is a lack of options offering fresh, healthy foods. From this injustice, what Anga calls “food apartheid”, came FEED Oak Cliff, an organization whose goal is to bring full-service grocery stores to the Oak Cliff community.
She realized right away that perhaps the main challenge to attracting grocers was battling the perceptions of Oak Cliff as a community rife with crime and poverty, populated by residents who had little interest in nutrition or health. In order to combat this misperception, and to educate the residents of the area about healthier lifestyle options, Anga founded the Dallas VegFest. The VegFest is a free festival promoting nutrition, health and environment.
Originally intended as a one-time event serving Oak Cliff residents, the Dallas VegFest has become an annual festival attracting thousands of visitors from all over the city, state and nation. It features cooking demonstrations, educational sessions by experts in health and environment, fitness classes, children’s activities and a wide variety of vendors offering various goods and promoting healthy living.