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Episode 560: Food is a Tool ft. Olympia Auset

By Jasmin and Mariann — October 03, 2020

Jasmin and Mariann are all fired up about a recent New York Times article that discusses the new book, The Secret Life of Groceries, by Benjamin Lorr. In exploring the ethical dilemmas regarding the food we buy at grocery stores, it not only comes to some pretty weak conclusions regarding animal agriculture, but conveniently fails to come up with satisfactory (or any!) solutions. So everyone is off the hook regarding what they eat? We don’t think so!

In the “Our Hen House Supports Vegan Businesses” segment, we’re shouting out My Cat Jeoffry Books, a bookstore and cat cafe in Phoenix, AZ. We’re also shining a light on Good Girl Chocolate, a Black owned vegan chocolate company that can ship chocolate anywhere in the US, and Shared Planet, a new vegan beauty brand.

We are thrilled that Olympia Auset is on the show today, and we’re pretty sure you will be too! Olympia grew up in Los Angeles and returned to live in South Central after studying at Howard University. Although in college she had started following a plant-based diet, when she returned home she found it nearly impossible to obtain healthy food at a reasonable price. Not one to give up, in 2016 Olympia founded SÜPRMARKT, a low-cost organic grocery service that aims to be an oasis in the food desert and make fresh, healthy, vegan food readily available to all. SÜPRMARKT has distributed over 35,000 pounds of organic produce through its pop-up markets and weekly delivery service and is currently fundraising to open the first vegan organic grocery store in South Central. Olympia also serves on the board of Co+opportunity, a community-owned food cooperative based in California.

Olympia joins us today to discuss food apartheid and why not having easy access to healthy food and fresh produce has a long term impact on the health of a community. She shares why she began to follow a plant-based diet in college, how her motivations gradually shifted and broadened, and why she is so passionate about educating people about the link between diet and preventable disease. Olympia also discusses how she hopes to expand the work that SÜPRMARKT has done to maximize access to organic produce by providing food scholarships to help make health and healing available to the communities that need it most.

“Food is a tool; it can either be a weapon for the destruction of people or be used for their collective upliftment.” – Olympia Auset


This Week in Our Hen House:

  • The current food situation in South Central Los Angeles and what Olympia and SÜPRMARKT are working towards
  • Why it is more accurate to refer to food deserts as food apartheid
  • The link between chronic health conditions and lack of access to quality food
  • Why Olympia focused on the issue of diet when setting out to contribute to her community
  • Veganism and why it’s exploding in Black communities
  • What awakened Olympia to animals
  • Why climate change is an issue that cannot be ignored
  • The effect of COVID-19 on the SÜPRMARKT project
  • How the team sources fresh produce and keeps prices down
  • Challenges of budgeting for a healthy diet
  • How to take steps to change your diet

Connect with Olympia Auset:

Connect with Our Hen House:

awfwlogoThis episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at

You can listen to our podcast directly on our website, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! Also, if you like what you hear, please rate it and leave us a comment on Apple Podcasts! Of course, we would be thrilled if you would also consider making a donation, or becoming a member of our flock (especially if you’re a regular listener). Any amount is hugely appreciated, and Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so it’s tax-deductible! Thank you for helping us create quality content, and for helping us bring you a new podcast episode each week!

Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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