Essential Food and Medicine is a mutual aid initiative based in Oakland, CA that started during the pandemic but has done an incredible amount of work in a short period of time. The co-founders integrated their love for community connection, food security, sovereignty, plant, and holistic medicine to create a resource to meet all of those essential needs for people. They reclaim surplus and locally grown produce to make juice, soups, smoothies, and natural medicine for underserved communities for free.

Show Notes

In this episode I speak with co-founders Xochitl Moreno and AshEL Elidrige. In the first half of the conversation we speak about Essential FAM as whole -- like the voids they are filling, how they built the partnerships needed to supply the resources, how they distribute the medicine, and then we start to talk about Cob on Wood, a community built with cob they co-created in a homeless encampment. It has a free store, free health clinic, kitchen, bathroom, and community events to empower residents and have a safer environment. We speak about the history of Wood St. benefits of building with cob, how they raised money to build, the impeding and rapidly increasing issue of homelessness in CA, why they are facing eviction and how you can help.



Living Earth Structures: Cob building company they collaborated with 

Essential FAM Instagram

Essential FAM Website 

Essential FAM Go Fund Me

Cob on Wood Instagram

Cob on Wood Go Fund Me


Some organizations in the Bay Area that are engaging in amazing mutual aid work: 

The Village in Oakland: Volunteer run grassroots non-profit organization and network of unhoused and housing insecure folks supported by housed allies. 

Feed the People in Oakland: Group of community folks who provide hot meals, provisions, advocacy, and support for residents of homeless encampments when they are threatened with eviction or the theft of their property.

Poor People‚Äôs Bay Area Campaign: Movement to overcome systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy. 

The Anti-police Terror Project: Black-led multi-racial, intergenerational coalition that seeks to build a replicable and sustainable model to eradicate police terror in communities of color.

Environmental Indicators Project: Resident led, community-based environmental justice organization dedicated to achieving healthy homes, healthy jobs and healthy neighborhoods for all who live, work, learn and play in West Oakland, California