With the slogan “Everlasting Life is food for the people, not food for profit,” Everlasting Life is the only black community-owned health food complex in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
The organic market began when its founder, Dr. Baruch Ben-Yehudah, and a group of people in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle began to buy filtered water, whole grains, organic herbs, spices, vitamins and other natural products in bulk to share amongst each other. When they grew out of the garage they had been using as a meeting headquarters, they moved to their current spot on Georgia Avenue. The success of the Georgia Avenue location allowed the market to expand into its largest facility yet – the Everlasting Life Health Complex in Capitol Heights, Md.
Benjamin Ore became the general manager of the complex in January 2004. “What you eat determines how healthy you will be,” Ore said.
Everlasting Life offers cooking classes to the community that teaches people how to make healthy dishes. “These classes allow us to get closer to community patrons,” Ore said.
The interactive sessions are offered mostly on weekends and allow participants to cook the food themselves. The cooking sessions also serve as a forum in which health education and nutrition are discussed. The prices for the classes range from $35 to $45. Matthew Blair, a frequent customer at Everlasting Life, said, “I have been a vegetarian growing up because both of my parents were, and now I am vegan. I want to live long and avoid high blood pressure that both my parents had before they became vegetarians.” The food provided at Everlasting Life covers a gamut of vegetarian cuisine from across the world. They serve Indian, West Indian, Chinese, African and soul vegetarian food. The market brings customers’ attention to healthy dishes like homemade macaroni and cheese made with soy cheese and steak and cheese sandwiches made with wheat gluten.
“I love making people happy by feeding them food I know is good for them,” said Avishadye Williams, who works at the Georgia Avenue location.
Williams was born and raised in Israel and will be working at Everlasting Life for approximately one year. The community-owned business recruits people, especially African Hebrew Israelites, to come and educate the community on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Everlasting Life also hosts community events with speakers, health forums and entertainment.
“We provide events without drinking or smoking, something that gets away from the norm,” Ore said. “Our events are something you can bring your grandmother and your daughter to. They are family friendly.”
Brunch is served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Avenue location. They offer a variety of pancakes, waffles, vegetarian French toast, vegan sausage, grits, scrambled tofu and soy chai. Beverages are offered at the juice bar, which has fresh squeezed juices, herbal teas and smoothies.
Everlasting Life has locations all over the United States as well as Ghana, London, Australia and South Africa. “We are breaking a tradition from the days of slavery,” Ore said.