By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
There is a young African-American family promoting healthy living in Daytona Beach.
Omar Brown and Camille Holder-Brown plan to open Kale Café at 116 N. Beach St. in October.
The couple has been at numerous community events promoting healthy eating, selling healthy smoothies and fresh fruits and vegetables.
They run Midtown Echo Village Inc., for which they have filed 501(c)3 non-profit status. They plan to run the café through Midtown Echo Village.
"We are going to make this a juice bar/café. It's the same stuff we have been doing for the past two years," Omar Brown said. "We will continue to promote healthy life styles with our juices, smoothies and my wife's cooking classes."
"We advocate healthy lifestyles and environmental sustainability," Camille Holder-Brown said. "We have gone out in the community and taught people how to eat a healthy plant-based diet."
The couple also has worked the community garden at Bonner Elementary (now Childs Academy).
They still need funds to get the café up and running, and are trying to raise $20,000 over a 20-day period. They were able to get the building thanks to a $10,000 loan.
"We got the $10,000 from a teacher at Turie T. (Small, who) wishes to remain anonymous. We are grateful. We still need some help," Mrs. Holder-Brown said.
The main goal is to promote and provide healthy eating options.
"We want to teach people to eat healthy and provide a place where people can come get affordable and quick healthy food," she said. "We hope to do monthly events to show people how to eat healthy rather with workshops, show films and we want to eventually work with schools."
"We want to be the epicenter of health rather it be some kind of western medicine, yoga," Mr. Brown said. "People who eat our food and drink our smoothies are often in the same circle. They eat healthy. The other people who are our target are people who are unhealthy and don't know what to do and turn things around. We want to show them how and provide a service for those who already are healthy."
The café's menu will include Caribbean vegan food, brown stew tofu, sautéed cabbage, brown rice and peas, curry chickpeas, jerk vegan chicken, kale salad, mango papaya carrot smoothie, kale smoothie, wraps, scones, scrambled tofu, fresh citrus juice, fresh pressed juices and wheat grass shots.
"We had to master this. It's a lot of stuff that we were eating our selves. We will have signature smoothies here," Mrs. Holder-Brown said.
Providing healthy eating options for the black community is another goal.
"That was one of the first things that we noticed that there is a huge disparity with health and the health of our community, especially in Midtown where we live," Mr. Brown said. "When it comes to health, we are just world's apart from other people. We are not as healthy. We aren't getting checked out and when we find something is wrong, we don't always get stuff done. Economics have a lot to do with it."
"As black people we have to focus on preventative care," Mrs. Holder-Brown said, "especially those who are low income and cannot afford health insurance."
In addition to serving healthy food, Kale Café hopes to bring in some entertainment. They plan to have live reggae music, spoken word, jazz, family disco, movies, cooking classes and gardening workshops.
"We also hope to do some dances and live music. We want to get families moving again and people to come together. Remember the Soul Train line that we had when we were coming up? And all the cultural stuff? We also want to showcase local talent and art. We hope to get a local artist in here," Mrs. Holder-Brown said.
"A lot of our stuff is derived from the Caribbean," Mr. Brown said. "We are both of Jamaican Heritage."
Mrs. Holder-Brown is a local product. She grew up in Daytona Beach and Port Orange. She attended Turie T. Small Elementary, Campbell Middle and Mainland High School where she was drum major in the band.
"I got a lot of love and support growing up here. I was in the band at Campbell and Mainland and we often marched in the Bethune-Cookman homecoming parade. I still get a lot of that love and support when I am out doing things in the community that I got back then," she said.
The Brown's moved to Florida for various reasons a few years ago.
"When my husband was laid off in New York, I wanted to come home. Up there life is all about hustle and bustle. I wanted my family to be able to come here and enjoy family, the beach, open spaces and affordable living. I always enjoyed the quality of life and relationships, resources and the sense of community here," Mrs. Holder-Brown said.
For more information, call (347) 661-7197 or (386) 227-7393 or visit midtownecovillage.org.