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Detroit's First Black-Led Co-Op Grocery Store Opens Its Doors To Combat Food Insecurity

A new day has begun in Detroit, MI, thanks to the leadership of the Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network. For nearly a decade, the Motor City hasn’t had a full-scale Black-owned grocery store, Detroit Metro Times reports. Now, in May 2024, Detroit People’s Food Co-Op, the first Black-led co-op grocery store in Detroit, has opened its doors. As Detroit is one of the major U.S. cities that faces a significant shortage of food access, Detroit People’s Food Co-Op offers fresh, local grocery items, a deli, and a coffee bar. The outlet details that the store’s fruits and vegetables are sourced from four Black-owned farms in Michigan. In addition to providing quality food and health and wellness products, what makes the grocery store special is that anyone age 21 and over can become a member and have ownership in the co-op. On May 1, 2024, it had over 2,700 members and counting. “This is not something you’re invited to. It’s literally yours,” said Lanay Gilbert-Williams,...

Ngozi Nwanji

May 3, 2024

Te’Lario Watkins II, A 16-Year-Old Nonprofit Founder Who Wants To Use Tech To Combat Food Insecurity, Gets A ‘Shark Tank’ Invite From Daymond John

A young Black entrepreneur’s tireless work to combat food insecurity is paying off. At age seven, Te’Lario Watkins II launched his business, Tiger Mushroom Farms in central Ohio, according to its website. “The idea of Tiger Mushroom Farms began after I planted cat grass and basil seeds at my 1st Cub Scout meeting,” Watkins wrote. “I enjoyed watering MY plants and was eager to see their growth each day.” He continued, “I began to wonder what else could I grow in Ohio in the wintertime. I remember reading a book about mushrooms. I told my parents and asked them about growing mushrooms. My parents bought me a mushroom kit…and the rest is history.” Nearly nine years after launching Tiger Mushroom Farms and selling his mushrooms at local farmers markets in Columbus, OH, the 16-year-old also has his own nonprofit, according to ABC News. The Garden Club Project’s mission is to eliminate food deserts and motivate children to make healthier food choices. ABC News reports that Watkins has...

Ngozi Nwanji

Apr 15, 2024

James Minton And His Family Run One Of New York's Few Black-Led Farms

James Minton, who’s approaching age 90, owns farmland to create wealth for his family.

Samantha Dorisca

Nov 3, 2023

After Their Houston Neighborhood Became A Food Desert, These Black Farmers Opened A Grocery Store

Attention Houston, TX: A new Black-owned grocery store is in town!

Ngozi Nwanji

Nov 28, 2022

Malcolm Jenkins Invests In Millstone Spirits Group For First-Ever Whiskey With Grains Exclusively From Black And Brown Farmers

It’s no question that Malcolm Jenkins has continuously been on the frontline in support of Black and brown entrepreneurs. Spearheading change through Broad Street Ventures, the first Black athlete-led venture capital fund, the two-time Super Bowl champion has been on go-mode since its launch. As previously reported by AfroTech, the $10 million investment fund further created space for Black and brown women after bringing India Robinson and Sara “Lovestyle” Hood on board as investors. Now, less than four months later, Jenkins is onto his next impactful venture under Malcolm Inc. — his holding company.

Ngozi Nwanji

Jun 20, 2022

Smithfield Welcomes The Martin Family Into Initiative Dedicated To Supporting Black & Minority Farmers

Smithfield Food is on a mission to support Black and minority farmers! The company just welcomed its first family farmers to join its new contract grower program created to support Black and minority farmers as it works to diversify its hog supply chain, per news shared in a press release. Smithfield is leading the charge through a new documentary from the lens of the Martin family, contract hog farmers for the Wayne County, North Carolina-based company. The project will address long withstanding barriers like access to capital and cost of capital for Black and minority farmers and is a part of the $15 million Unity & Action commitment made by Smithfield to level the playing field in food manufacturing, agriculture and education. “Our position as a leading food company and hog producer in America is accompanied by tremendous responsibility to our many stakeholders, including our people and communities,” said Shane Smith , president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods in...

Shanique Yates

Nov 23, 2021

South African Agritech Startup Khula Raises $1.3M Seed Round To Help African Farmers Thrive

Small African farmers are facing a multitude of problems that affect the progress of agricultural production on the continent. But software-for-agriculture startup Khula has an innovative solution that’s helping this niche industry thrive again. TechCrunch reports that the South African-based company just announced the raise of a $1.3 million seed round to help further scale its farming software and expand nationwide. The round, which closed last year, was led by AECI — one of Africa’s biggest agrochemical companies — and included participation from South African impact investor E Squared Investments. With financial-backing from its lead investor, Khula now has access to AECI’s wide distribution network which is poised to help the platform scale its inputs app. AECI’s support will go a long way as a long-term partner that’s genuinely interested in the execution of the platform’s services. “Khula has very attractive fundamentals, a sizable addressable market, app development...

Njera Perkins

Aug 3, 2021

Crop Swap LA To Receive $4M To Further Aid In Its Mission Of Ending Food Insecurity

Crop Swap LA™ hasn’t stopped yet when it comes to its mission of ending food insecurity. The company has announced that it will receive $4 million from The California Budget Act of 2021. The selection is a major move for Crop Swap LA™ as it continues to work to eradicate food insecurity and create hyper-local access to organically grown food through the use of sustainable agriculture practices. “Our team and supporters are thrilled to see this commitment of confidence, funds, and opportunity to the urgent need to grow nutrient-rich food directly within our communities,” continued Crop Swap LA Founder, Jamiah E. Hargins in the statement. “The funds will enable Crop Swap LA to continue its mission, widen its impact, and deepen its resolve. The people of California who contributed through these funds can feel satisfied knowing that our team is committed to redefining the spirit and intention of community-sourced food production. Senator Kamlager has made a direct investment in the...

Shanique Yates

Jul 7, 2021

Federal Judge Halts $4B Relief For Black Farmers After White Farmers Cry Wolf

Here we go again. A Wisconsin federal judge has ordered a temporary stop to the $4 billion federal loan relief program created to address decades of injustice faced by Black farmers. The decision to halt the program is the response to white tears after a group of white farmers filed a legal challenge in which they claim to have been discriminated upon (the nerve, right?). Last Thursday Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order that in turn blocked the U.S. Department of Agriculture from moving forward with the relief payments. According to NBC News , Griesbach said that the white farmers are “likely to succeed on the merits of their claim,” that the USDA’s “use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law.” Black farmers like John W. Boyd say that years of work have been put into the bill just for white counterparts to try and shut it down…again. “I’ve been trying for decades to get this passed...

Shanique Yates

Jun 15, 2021

Consumers Experience Smaller Packaging & Higher Prices Thanks To 'Shrinkflation'

You may have heard of inflation, but what about ‘shrinkflation’? If it’s not one thing it’s another. This time it’s a phenomenon called ‘shrinkflation’ where consumers pay the same price for less when it comes to buying goods. According to CBS News , this is not a new trick, this practice plays a role during periods of rising inflation or economic downturns. One of the results of the COVID-19 pandemic placed cost pressures on a number of industries along with their products thanks to various reasons which include difficulty in hiring workers, trucking shortages, and price increases for raw materials. “If you are a manufacturer or retailer, you have a couple of choices — you can keep prices the same, which means you have lower margins. Second, you can run fewer promotions, and that definitely happened in the last year,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, the founder of market research firm 210 Analytics. “And the third measure is to keep prices the same but have a little less in the box.”...

Shanique Yates

Jun 5, 2021

Attorney Reveals How He Got Black Farmers The Largest Settlement In History

Greg Francis is an attorney who landed a $1.25 billion settlement for Black farmers, the largest settlement of its kind in American history. In his new book, “ Just Harvest: The Story of How Black Farmers Won the Largest Civil Rights Case against the U.S. Government, ” he details just how he managed to do that. “The one thing I learned from that case is that all those farmers wanted was a chance,” Greg Francis said to Black News. “They didn’t ask for anything extra. They just wanted to be treated, and to be given the same opportunities, as everyone else. That’s all any of us want.” The “Black Farmers Case,” as it’s known in legal circles, was a class-action civil rights case filed by more than 20,000 Black farmers, and their descendants. Their claim was based on the ongoing disparate treatment of Black Farmers across the United States — a disparity which the Biden administration is currently trying to take steps to ameliorate. Back in March 2021, the Biden administration announced...

John Deere & The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Partner To Assist Black Farmers

John Deere is doubling down on its commitment to uplifting Black farmers. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the murder of George Floyd last summer, the leading tractor equipment company created a coalition on a mission to improve the livelihood of Black farmers. Legislations, Education, Advocacy, and Production (LEAP) was created to put action behind the company’s commitment to supporting Black farmers and now it’s advancing its mission in a partnership with the National Growers Council and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). Together, they will partner with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund to help eliminated barriers created by Heirs Property. “I am extremely excited about John Deere’s history and ongoing support of the Federation’s work in this regard,” shared Dania Davy, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “For over 50 years, the Federation has worked to...

Shanique Yates

Jun 2, 2021

Banks Throw A Fit As Black Farmers Are Approved For The $4B Relief Plan That They Deserve

Justice for Black farmers! Following the $4 billion debt relief for Black farmers, The New York Times reports that banks are fighting back noting that quick repayments will cut into profits. The institutions are complaining that the government’s initiative to pay off the loans of those Black farmers who have faced decades of financial discrimination will not only hurt investors but cut into the bank’s profits. In March, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package which includes the debt relief for the Black farmers and is intended to make things right for years of discrimination faced by all nonwhite farmers. Today, no money still has been received by those farmers. Aside from the drama with the banks, white farmers sued the U.S.D.A over the initiative claiming that they are victims of reverse discrimination. Now, three of the largest banking groups involved in the settlement have formed their own fight against the money that is rightfully owed to Black farmers. The American...

Shanique Yates

May 20, 2021

Shellie-Ann Kerns Is On A Mission To Decolonize The Food System

When Shellie-Ann Kerns left her home in Jamaica to join her husband in Washington State, she wasn’t sure what to expect. They moved to his family farm in Gray’s Harbor and she immediately began imagining ways to make the land productive. Family Roots “Farming for me, it’s in my blood on my mother’s side, and from her great grandmother, all the way down. My father’s family is also agricultural,” she said. “It’s something that I understand how it works. Something that I’ve just always been passionate about. When I came here, it was winter. And I needed to plant something. I did some research and I saw that, ‘hey, you can plant garlic in the middle of winter.’” Her first batch of garlic did so well that Kerns continued to plant garlic every winter. Now she’s taking her farming up a notch and making it a community affair. For her, farming is about supporting her community on a basic level. Decolonizing The Food System “What’s really driving me is the ability to feed the community,”...

Colleen Williams

May 15, 2021

Backstage Capital, FarmTogether Announce Partnership To Make Farmland More Accessible

Backstage Capital is working to make farmland more accessible. FarmTogether is a technology-enabled investment platform that provides users with more access to farmland and today (May 4), they’ve announced a partnership with venture capital firm Backstage Capital with one goal in mind — increasing farmland investment properties to those who wish to utilize it. “As an asset class, U.S. farmland boasts a total value of $2.7 trillion,” said Backstage Capital’s Founder and Managing Partner, Arlan Hamilton in an exclusive press release shared with AfroTech. “Yet, only around 1% of the dollar value of all farms is financially backed or owned by funds, publicly traded companies, or high net-worth individuals. This has resulted in a highly fragmented and overlooked market.” The Backstage Capital investor community will soon have access to exclusive farmland investment properties which will capture both organizations’ shared values of not only accessibility but diversity and inclusivity too....

Shanique Yates

May 4, 2021