During Covid, many Black-owned businesses were disproportionately affected among other ethnic groups and forced to close. Observing the statistics impacting the Black community during the pandemic sparked a desire to make supporting essential Black businesses easier.

Maryland natives and founders of Prosperity Market, Carmen Dianne and Kara Still, are long-time friends who reconnected after moving to Los Angeles individually. Dianne was a makeup artist and still was a fashion designer, but they both shared an interest in giving back. They didn’t imagine they could create a business that would lead them to a full-fledged shift in career fields. 

Prosperity Market is an LA-based mobile farmers market that promotes Black farmers and other food producers by hosting pop-up events. They also provide a virtual market for buyers that can’t shop in person.

The name “Prosperity” was inspired by a friend of Dianne’s who told her to close her eyes and envision what she wanted the market to be.

“Instantly, immediately. I was just like, prosperity. [It was] the first thing that came and it stuck,” Dianne said.

June 2020 is when the idea for the market began. The first six months of expanding on the concept were nothing but research. According to Dianne, there was a wealth of information to learn since they were new to the food space. 



“The literal first thing I Googled was Black farmers markets and Black farmers in LA, and the first thing that popped up was Freedom Farmers market which is in the Bay [Area] and it’s ran by Farms to Grow, which is a nonprofit that helps Black farmers,” Dianne said.

One of Farms to Grow co-founders, Dr. Gail Myers, was the first person Dianne emailed about their market idea. Myers replied and continues to advise Dianne and Still to this day.

Dianne and Still wanted to showcase nourishments as well as supplementary items and were able to base their curations on products they felt drawn to. 

“In the agricultural space, it’s so small that people either know or know of each other. So they kind of pushed us in different directions, “Still said.


Dianne and Still got to try and taste many different creations based on referrals to decide what was the right fit for their market.

They had to redefine what farming in LA could look like for Prosperity Market. Urban farmers and community gardens could take a nontraditional space and grow enough to feed and provide for the community but needed the outlet to do so, according to Still.

“California grows the most food in the country, but also LA has the largest population of food insecure people. So we grow food but export a lot of it,” Still said.

Their first official market pop-up was in February 2021 in Inglewood, where they brought high-quality Black-owned vendors to the community.

Lauren Kell, creator and owner of Vanity Room, met Dianne and Still during a Garden Tour in the summer of 2022. She had been keeping up with them over social media and was excited about their goals.

“Being a vendor at one of their markets is like being a part of a family. The way Kara and Carmen rally the community to bring in food accessibility and goods from vendors is beautiful. My business has grown and so have I,” Kell said.

Kell said she made many connections in the community and gained loyal customers since working with them.

She credits them for displaying how to take risks and unapologetically take up space.

Regarding how they approach setting their business aesthetic, Still believes that her and Dianne’s creative backgrounds aid them. They don’t feel bound to the typical expectations of farmers’ markets and want their version to be “fun, pretty, and colorful.”

“We wanted to make sure that when we show up, it always feels good. It always feels like an experience you want and that you deserve,” Still said.

Founder of Tranquilitea, Nikkia  Johnson, also started working with Prosperity Market last summer at their Juneteenth event at the California African American Museum in LA. Johnson feels that her business’s exposure has grown immensely since then due to the support of Dianne and Still.


“They [ Dianne and Still] really put in extra effort to make sure that their vendors are happy and successful.

From offering to help with our setup to hosting workshops to improve our skills as entrepreneurs and small business owners,” Johnson said.

 It has been exhilarating for Still and Dianne to see their customers and supporters go from strangers to being on a first-name basis. Seeing them at every pop-up market is amazing and eye-opening, according to Still.

Prosperity Market’s next pop-up will be at Hollywood Park on Aug. 27, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to Still, it is the grand finale of their third annual Black Business Scavenger Hunt, where almost 90 businesses are participating, from Pasadena to Long Beach.

There will be farmers, food, music, and family activities. They are also doing a collaborative market in the spirit of Black Business Month, featuring Come Up LA, a Black-owned marketplace.


“This whole journey [with Prosperity Market] is very God-given, it was a seed that was planted, and I think that’s why we’ve been able to excel in the way that we have.

That’s what makes us keep going on the days when it’s not easy,” Dianne said.

Category: Cover Stories