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Black people use food to connect with our families, our past, our bodies, and abundance.
Food is a basic human need, a conduit of culture, a means of communication, and an organizing tool.
Black people use food to build connections with our families and places of origin, to nourish our bodies, and to build wealth.
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues its work for racial justice and equality, one of the ways you can contribute is by being intentional in your support of Black-owned businesses.
Black people are fighting for their lives every day. Support of Black-owned food businesses can be a daily decision and serve as a reminder that there’s more work to be done.
We can all do something to get us closer to Black liberation. Here are six great businesses and product lines you can start supporting today.
Dope Coffee is pushing back against the pretentiousness of the coffee industry by asserting that Black people drink coffee — and it’s not about being fancy.
CEO Michael Loyd wanted to serve great coffee and build a more diverse brand than what’s typically found in the industry. He won the PG Shark Tank $7,500 Pitch Competition, giving him a great start. Early this summer, Dope Coffee raised $107,000 in a crowdfunding investment campaign.
“I’m not making coffee to sell to Black people. I’m making coffee based on our taste preferences … and I want to share that with everyone,” Loyd says.
You don’t even have to drink coffee to support this business.
While Dope Coffee’s product offerings include the Pleasure Pack of four annual micro-lot roasts and other blends, the company uses coffee to produce a wider range of items including organic coffee-infused syrup and a coffee infused beard and scalp scrub.
According to Loyd, “You gotta plant ideas, you gotta see them, you gotta grow them.”
With wine names like Hard Knock Life and Touch the Sky, the Love Cork Screw lifestyle brand is an unusual combination of nostalgic, youthful, and relevant.
Founder and wine enthusiast Chrishon Lampley started the business determined to bring a new flair to the classics. Whether you’re looking for a light, refreshing pinot grigio, a rich and robust cabernet sauvignon, or something in between, Love Cork Screw has you covered.
If you’re looking for spicy homemade sauces, Ghana has what you need. If you can’t travel there, the next best thing is a supply of small-batch condiment creations by Essie Bartels.
“Growing up, I didn’t know the experiments I was concocting in my mother’s kitchen would amount to anything but food for me and my dolls. After visiting over 30 countries, I went back to Ghana and decided to introduce the world to the flavors I grew up with. I bring them home with me, one palate at a time,” says Bartels.
The Essiespice Essential Sauce Collection includes Mango Chili Medley, perfect for kicking your favorite guacamole recipe up a few notches, and Coco-for-Garlic, which blends the sweet cool of coconut with the savory heat of garlic.
Sprinkle it on your oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt; use it to make a trail mix; or eat it directly from the bag. This wheat-free, nut-free granola is a treat for everyone.
Stephanie Williams, formerly employed at a biotech company, wanted an alternative to store-bought snacks filled with allergens and preservatives. So, she decided to make it herself.
Williams shared her creation with the world after it made a splash with family and friends. It’s made in small batches, guaranteeing high quality.
Plus, it comes in plenty of flavors, like Lemon Bar and Cranberry Orange. You can even use the Original Recipe granola to make pie crusts. Caribbean Delight, featuring the unmistakable taste and texture of coconut, is a vegan option.
Maya-Camille Broussard, owner of Justice of the Pies, emphasizes both profit and positive social impact.
More than a bakery, Justice of the Pies teaches community members about nutrition, cooking, and baking and has partnered with several organizations, including DreamOn Education. Through this partnership, a one-day I Knead Love workshop is offered to elementary school students in low-income areas.
Justice of the Pies provided meals to 1,000 people through Love Fest, a local event that offered mask and glove giveaways along with 2020 census information. The brand also cut ties with a retailer accused of racism, misogyny, and pay discrimination.
Are you up for virtual cooking classes? Check out Justice Kitchen membership options or opt for the $100 pass for 4 weeks of classes. You can also donate a meal to a healthcare worker at Stroger Hospital, Roseland Community Hospital, or Mount Sinai Hospital, all in the Chicago area.
Broussard is also a contributor to the cookbook Feed the Resistance by Julia Turshen.
Callaloo Box is the subscription box every Caribbean person needs. And even if you’re not Caribbean, you’ll love the flavors inside.
From Swiss pasta (essential for macaroni pie) and Chief curry powder to Milo and dried sorrel, it’s clear the selections were made by natives of Trinidad and Tobago (known as Trinbagonians).
Founders and sisters Jamila and Malika Augustine say, “We kept hearing from friends and family outside of major cities that it was difficult to find products from back home.”
Food is integral to the lives of immigrants, connecting them to memories of their country of origin.
They added, “We bring that little piece of home to our customers, helping the Caribbean diaspora to stay connected to our culture and community through food.”
The Augustine sisters even share recipes that are sure to pique anyone’s curiosity. Check out the online store, subscribe, and try a few bottles of pepper sauce and new snacks — things Trinbagonians know best.
Whether it’s a trip to your neighborhood coffee shop or a doorstep delivery that will surprise and delight your taste buds, your support of a Black-owned food business makes a difference.
It keeps people employed, encourages entrepreneurship, contributes to community work, and supports the Black economy.
Get more unique flavor in your life while taking steps toward a more just world.
Alicia A. Wallace is a queer Black feminist, women’s human rights defender, and writer. She is passionate about social justice and community building. She enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, traveling, and talking to everyone and no one at the same time on Twitter.