Cafe Sankofa Cooperative is not your typical coffee house. While it sells smoothies and coffee, its primary emphasis is on holistic health and wellness. Arlaina Harris, CSC board president and alumna of Syracuse University, brings health and wellness education and resources to Syracuse’s Southside community.
“Our bread and butter is health and wellness; it is our mission,” Harris explained. “We are attempting to establish a cooperative approach to wellness by addressing food insecurity and providing accessible and culturally competent care.”
The cooperative’s most recent endeavour was an Earth Day cleanup. The event took place at the cafe’s garden on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers removed trash from the garden and prepared it for planting. By 11:45 a.m., volunteers had collected enough litter to fill ten trash bags.
“Individuals come together collectively, and that is how impact occurs,” Harris explained. “Overall, we must move from intention to action and ensure that we are all doing our part to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome and has equal access to opportunities and services. That is something that everyone deserves.”
Sisters Johnelle and Jhonna Burgos were among the volunteers. Johnelle, who is seven years old, stated that she wanted to help animals by picking up trash.
“I don’t want dirty nature because it will kill animals, and I don’t want animals to die,” she explained.
Johnelle stated that she wishes to live on a clean planet and frequently considers ways to ensure a green future. She stated that as an adult, she intends to help the environment in more significant ways, such as cleaning up beaches and picking up trash all over the world.
Jhonna is also passionate about litter reduction and animal welfare. She stated that she wishes people would refrain from littering in the first place.
“They should put trash in the trash can, because I am responsible for cleaning it up if they do not,” Jhonna stated.
Tracy Hogarth, a graduate of SUNY-ESF, stated that she wanted to participate in an Earth Day cleanup. She came up with the idea and shared it with the community via Instagram as CSC’s programme chair.
Hogarth stated that she wishes to assist Syracuse residents in growing their own food and becoming more in tune with the earth. Cleaning up the garden will provide residents with fresh, locally grown food. The area surrounding Cafe Sankofa is a food desert, and to combat this, she creates health and wellness-related activities with the assistance of the organization’s board of directors to combat the unreliable access to fresh produce, she explained.