Demands for racial justice have never been louder after protests against Black Lives Matter, sparked after police killed unarmed Minnesota man George Floyd in May. Across the country and around the world, people are promoting black-owned businesses as part of this move toward equity, a move that is particularly noticeable in the food sector.
Many black neighborhoods historically did not have healthy food. These food deserts make it difficult to access fresh, healthy and organic staple foods such as fruits and vegetables as well as whole grain products. It is also one reason that diet-related illness rates are so much higher in these communities than in wealthier, whiter communities.
After Floyd’s death and subsequent protests, numerous black-owned companies were in the spotlight. Some are experiencing such a surge in demand that they cannot keep up with orders. They also play a crucial role in starting a dialogue on systemic racism and its role in our food system. (For more information on racism in the food industry, click here.) As black-owned food businesses rise, more are sure to follow. And talking about the role of food in our communities and the health of our country will help us take the steps necessary to start reducing racism.
Are you looking for black-owned companies to support? Check out these nine brands that are improving our food system and black communities.
Project Pop Popcorn
1. Popcorn from Project Pop
You can never have too much popcorn, especially during the great pandemic of 2020. Get your Netflix in small quantities with Project Pop’s organic kettle popcorn. The company uses organic corn and organic coconut oil, which makes it a truly healthy and pampering treat.
The company was founded by Chauniqua Major who couldn’t find a popcorn that was clean enough to suit her taste. “After months of traveling and hesitation, I went to my kitchen to make popcorn that kids 1 to 92 years old can enjoy without the guilt factor,” she explains on the company’s website. “A wild idea turned into a lot of popcorn. A lot of popcorn turned into a passion. “
Every batch of their signature Kettle popcorn is made from clean, organic, non-genetically modified, vegan ingredients.
Healthy on you
2. Healthy to yourself
The idea of the certified health trainer Samantha “Sam” Binkley, Healthy On You, was founded in 2015. Binkley was looking for herbal and spice mixes that would bring the right balance of flavor into her kitchen. Traditional supermarket spice mixes can often be overcrowded with fillers and artificial flavors, as well as high sodium content – a real threat to people with heart health problems.
Binkley went a step further, combining her love of music and healthy food with the edible playlist – a spice trio that she says is perfect for the “chefs and music lovers in your life.” Each spice is combined with a song (“Bohemian Rosemary”, anyone?). She also runs a recipe blog to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy, tasty food. Turn it on and turn the beets on!
3. Sanaia applesauce
This isn’t your kids’ applesauce lunch box. Entrepreneur Keisha Smith-Jeremie reinvented these staples for the child in all of us, but with the adult palate in mind.
The organic, gluten-free and non-genetically modified flavors of Sanaia applesauce go far beyond cinnamon: hibiscus, lavender pear and ginger give applesauce a long overdue makeover.
Smith-Jeremie grew up in the Bahamas and loved fruit trees as a child. In adulthood, she could no longer ignore the niche in the market for applesauce lovers. She developed Sanaia to prove what she has long held to be true: Fruits are nature’s “most delicious desserts”.
While Sanaia is really made for adults, adventurous kids will love it too.
4. Brooklyn Tea
The name of Brooklyn Tea says it all – Brooklyn-style tea.
Founder Alfonso Wright has been fascinated by tea since childhood when his Jamaican mother introduced him to English tea culture at a young age. Now he combines the highest quality organic and fair trade tea blends with modern spins. Milk oolong and lemongrass, cucumber and melon greens, ginger turmeric and Kyoto Cherry Rose Sencha are just a few of the blends Brooklyn Tea offers.
Order the best sips in the online shop or visit the tea room for a cup of rest – and a little ritual to center your soul.
Chicago French Press
5. Chicago French Press Coffee
Trends may come and go, but coffee never goes out of style. Founder Kris Christian was drawn to bold, sweet flavors, but she exaggerated the sugar to reduce the bitter taste. An idea was born and Christian left Wall Street to make it a reality.
Chicago French Press blends the best organic coffee with nuts, dried fruits, fruits and other flavors. It is also the go-to place for brewing processes (they are part of the French pressing). This is not flavored instant coffee. This is coffee 2.0.
Chicago French Press is healthier and focuses on the subtleties of flavor balance. It is also a mission to support those in need. A portion of all sales go to groups like The Simple Good, The Take Back, Heart of Man, and Alzheimer Association.
6. Cocoa meal
Chocolate is so much more than just a pleasure. It actually triggers chemicals in the brain that make us happier – and we could all use a good dose of it right now, right?
Bronx-based brothers Daniel, Dominic and Nicholas Maloney were on a mission to restore the quality chocolate they grew up with in Trinidad and Tobago. So they founded Sol Cacao and its dairy-free organic chocolate bars of the highest quality.
Sol Cacao offers three chocolate bars made from just two simple ingredients: cocoa beans and raw cane sugar. Everything is grown sustainably and organically and, for ethical reasons, comes from the world’s leading cocoa-growing regions such as Ecuador, Peru and Madagascar.
Like grapes, cocoa varieties have different flavors and textures. Madagascar, for example, can bring more berry and cherry notes, while Peru is reminiscent of jam apricots and raisins. Try them all out for yourself and decide which one you like best!
7. Power bites
Don’t you just love happy accidents Chef and entrepreneur Sharif Rasheed’s power bites came while he was trying to make a soft granola bar for his teething son. The rest is, as they say, a revolutionary new way of snacking, or as Rasheed calls it, “snacktivism”.
“We believe snack time should get you nutritionally fired so you can change the world,” he notes on the website. There is a lot of power in these little organic bites – both in terms of nutrition and in terms of Rasheed’s passion for social justice. A portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to a public school teacher.
Hayground organic horticulture
8. Hayground Organic Gardening
Gardener Jimmy Williams, a Los Angeles staple, has been building elaborate gardens for Hollywood’s A-listers for decades. You can find him and his son Logan at the Santa Monica and Hollywood farmers markets with an array of starter plants like organic heirloom tomatoes, herbs, and flowers. The Williams recently reported to the LA Times about their experience of racism in the south.
“We really need to reform the way black history is taught in conjunction with American history,” said 34-year-old Logan. “If we could explain the contributions a little better, the different races might have more respect for each other. I remember my parents buying me black history books because they knew I wasn’t taught them in school. “
Jimmy, 79, says racism doesn’t affect rich, white people like many of his clients do. “You just turn your back and wait for it to go,” he said. “These whites have to be part of the change. They are the ones who need to make the change. “
9. Compton Vegan
What began as a personal journey through a painful divorce has grown into one of the most iconic vegan takeaways in Los Angeles. Lemel Durrah grew up on the fast food that permeated his hometown in the Compton neighborhood of south LA. But he also ate a lot of traditional soul food – mac ‘n’ cheese, cornbread, collards, fried shrimp, and chicken. A 21 day fast changed all that and Compton Vegan was born. While its menu isn’t 100 percent organic, Durrah serves up GMO-free options like Violife cheese, which also has an organic range.
Durrah also now grows many of his own ingredients on the community garden lot of his former middle school with minimal chemicals. But it is the fruit and plant-rich diet that, according to Durrah, brings incalculable benefits, whether organic or not.
“As opposed to surviving on 8, 9, 10 different pills, I can only eat 8, 9, 10 different kinds of fruits and vegetables.”
Based on bio-authority
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