Neelam Sharma: The Black Panther Party, Food Justice, and Self-Reliant Communities [Ep. 110]

Our guest today is Neelam Sharma, Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited (or CSU), which is a non-profit organization based in South Los Angeles, CA.

CSU was founded in the 1970’s by the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party. CSU’s mission is to foster the creation of communities actively working to address the inequalities and systemic barriers that make sustainable communities and self-reliant life-styles unattainable.


In Ryan Honeyman's interview with Neelam, they discuss a variety of topics, including:

  • Neelam’s upbringing in India and in London

  • Her early involvement with activism and her work cofounding a chapter of the Black Panther Party in London in the 1980s

  • Her visit to CSU in the mid 1990s and eventual move to Southern California

  • CSU’s latest project launching the Village Market Place, a social enterprise that was designed to complement their education and training programs, and meet the growing demand for good (affordable, beyond organic, culturally appropriate, exploitation free) food in South Los Angeles.

For folks who are interested in learning more, please visit to check out the amazing work CSU is doing in South Los Angeles. You can also follow CSU on Twitter, @CSUINCLA.

LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.

Ryan Honeyman is a Partner at LIFT Economy and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). You can follow Ryan on Twitter @honeymanconsult or email him