The Sankofa Community Development Corporation (CDC) founded by Rashida Ferdinand in 2008, with the support of Lower Ninth Ward residents and stakeholders, is a 501 (c) 3 non – profit organization. Initially incorporated as the Historic Lower Ninth Ward Council for Arts and Sustainability our first project was the Sankofa Marketplace, a monthly community hub for local growers, musicians, chefs, merchants, and artists. In 2010, the open-air event transitioned into the weekly Sankofa Farmers Market.
In 2012 Sankofa started the Sankofa Mobile Market to increase access among food insecure communities, specifically seniors. The Mobile Market currently operates in four different locations across town.
August 2014 Sankofa won the Lots of Progress contest and obtained seeding funds and land to open the Fresh Stop Market, Sankofa’s open produce stand in the Lower 9th Ward which opened in October 2015.
In addition to the Fresh Market programs Sankofa operates a mini farm where they grow organically grown produce and herbs, Sankofa CDC creates opportunities in the areas of urban revitalization, youth enrichment, education, health, and economic development.
Sankofa presently operates 3 days of fresh produce markets (including one mobile market stop in the Lower Ninth Ward), weekly healthy cooking and gardening classes, monthly community program planning sessions, 24,000 sq ft of urban farms, a weekly fresh food pantry, a market SNAP Match program, and SNAP enrollment services. Sankofa is also in partnership with the Sewerage and Water Board to build a Wetland Park and Nature Trail in the Lower Ninth Ward. Sankofa programs are sponsored in part by the USDA, Kresge Foundation, and WK Kellogg Foundations. Sankofa is a member of the Kresge Fresh Lo team to support development of the Lower Ninth Ward through heath, art, and equity. The organization recently moved into its new headquarters at 5200 Dauphine St to provide health and wellness resources in the Lower Ninth Ward community. Sankofa is presently planning to build a teaching kitchen to provide a structured facility for healthy cooking classes at the new Sankofa Community Resource Center.