Spoken Treasures: Narratives from the Flea Market at Eastern Market

Join us as we set out to collect the narratives of the people who are the Flea Market at Eastern Market in Capitol Hill, D.C.

Our Mission is Simple:

Tell Often. Tell Artfully. Tell True.

Using personal narratives as tools for compassion and transformation.

Tell Often.

Every day, turn off your TV and turn on your voice to engage in reflective, intentional and responsive conversations with the people in your life. Why not practice with us?

Tell Artfully.

Revive the ancient craft of the oral tradition through workshops and collections designed to strengthen your personal narrative. Through the use of digital media, skillfully preserve the gift of your truth for posterity’s sake.

Tell True.

Truth is inclusive, vast and yes, contradictory. Truth supports diversity, reconciliation and acceptance. We make space around a communal fire for a variety of voices so the magic can begin.

Our Current Project

Spoken Treasures: Narratives from the Flea Market at Eastern Market

Urban flea markets are frequently credited with the revitalization of under-utilized & vacant spaces. The increased foot-traffic of a diverse population of locals, residents & visitors attracts investors (commercial & residential) to the positive social & economic growth started by such markets. Yet this growth has a double edge. As the neighborhood’s vitality holistically increases, space & opportunity for the flea market becomes challenged. Such is the case with the Flea Market at Eastern Market. There’s been a number of successes & setbacks and, to date, the market still exists, albeit modified. RRS sets out to collect the narratives of the people who are the market. Only they can share the story of what was, what is, what is feared and what is hoped for.

Join the Story

It’s quite simple. We have the questions. You have the memories.

Kind Words

Amy Saidman, Artistic Executive Director

Roots and Reasons Productions produced several short films for Story District . . . In every situation, they were highly professional in their delivery of services, knowledge, creativity, and communication.

Doreen M. (2014), Digital Documentary Student

Originally, I participated in the Digital DocuMemory workshop for educational purposes. However, by the end of the week, my head was brimming with professional and personal projects where I could apply these valuable skills. I consider this workshop basic training for anyone who want to preserve the people and memories of their life. This particular workshop was comprehensive, immediately useful and just plain FUN!

Terry Scott, Independent Arts Producer, NYC-LA-DC-NOLA

Roots and Reasons Productions is the calm in the eye of the storm that is production. Great contributors and collaborators in the art of storytelling.They are consummate professionals with a devastating sense of humor who brings intangible value to every production. Blessed with a critical ear for narratives and an aesthetic eye for composition, [RRP] has been my go to documentarian in D.C.

Brooke Seidelmann, Gallery Director (2009-2014)

Shefa has natural talent for listening, leaning in, and making each of her interviewees feel immediately comfortable and open. It was fascinating to watch. I witnessed artists I have known for years open up to her revealing details about their histories and processes they had never shared with me in studio visits. With no exaggeration, I can honestly say that Shefa has a true gift and is an artist in her own right.

Katie M. (2017), Documemory 1: Guided Autobiography Participant

I received this workshop as a gift. Going in, I had no idea how profound of an impact it would have on my self-awareness, self-esteem or my future plans . . .Through priming questions, I recalled events I nearly forgot (what a shame that would have been!) and captured them in narratives not only I will treasure but so will my loved ones. This workshop provided me with greater insight on who I am and what I believe in and, ultimately, where I plan to go from here . . . It is so much more than a guide to writing your life story; it is an experience of being more awake and present within your own life!

Clynthia Graham, Former Program Director, Sasha Bruce Youthworks

It takes someone special to help you pull from memory the preciousness and connectedness of significant times gone by and give it new light. This is what RRS did with our participants. Staff exuded warmth and a knowledge of the craft of storytelling that still echoes in the experiences of those who took part in making digital markers of their tales.

About Us

This is a lifestyle steeped in community, social justice and activism through revering the individual narrative. We document the “Now” for posterity’s sake. Through workshops, performances and exhibits, we grow supporters of the ancient art of the oral tradition.

Kona Bear

Kona Bear

The Cheerful Receptionist

Kona loudly announces all visitors including four-legged furry creatures that are simply passing through. She does not handle your mail but lets us know when it has arrived. Kona will be the first to greet you and the last to send you off – with much love and excitement.

Your Name Goes Here

Your Name Goes Here

The Talented Intern/Volunteer

Yes, You!

Siara Taomi (Petit Bebe)

Siara Taomi (Petit Bebe)

The Gifted Sidekick

Siara is also called Jack as in all trades. She’s our go to for almost everything: production, editing, transcription, operations, dishes, etc. That look on her face, get use to it. We’ve asked her to do so much, the expression is pretty much stuck!

Shefa N. Benoit (Red Bone Gypsy)

Shefa N. Benoit (Red Bone Gypsy)

The Mastermind

Shefa Nola Benoit is a former executive of a leading national youth development organization who spent 15+ years implementing funder-driven programs from the top down.  Discouraged by the growing disconnect of funders and agencies from their targeted communities, Shefa augmented her methodology through the use of oral history by collecting unscripted and uncensored voices to facilitate asset-based, community-driven solutions.  Today, Shefa is Founder of Roots and Reasons Productions (RRP) where she works on independent projects and contracts with reformist nonprofits who are ready for communal prosperity.  RRP uses the power of story to promote a way of life that is reverent, inclusive and regenerative.

Want to Hear More About Our Work?

Want to Hear More About Our Work?

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