In efforts to change the way that people understand food, producer and rapper RZA has partnered with a plant-based food manufacturer to provide grants to Black-owned restaurants that focus on vegetarian cuisine.
The company is called Violife and together with the Wu-Tang Clan founder, it will present a new grant program aimed at promoting plant-based eating through charitable funding, education, and mentorship called Plant Grants.
“I’m partnering with Violife because we share a similar philosophy about eating plant-based, and we want to make plant-based eating more accessible, affordable, and sustainable to all,” said RZA. “The influence of hip-hop and the culinary history of plant-based eating in Black communities contribute to a movement of embracing meatless options. I’m proud to support Plant Grants to continue this movement and make plant-based eating more readily available at Black-owned restaurants that are at the heart of communities.”
According to a press release, this year the Plant Grant program will intentionally check for African American eateries that are cemented in the community and working to bounce back from the devastating hit they received during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNBC shared that during the nine months between February 2020 and October 2020, Forty-one percent of Black-owned businesses have closed.
That is a little more than double the amount of white businesses that closed during that time.
A staggering statistic the news outlet shared is that “Black-owned restaurants in the New York City area have seen their revenue fall as much as 70% to 80% since the start of the pandemic.”
This program, backed by the man responsible for Hip-Hop anthems like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” will support Black restaurants by reinvesting in them ($20,000 in funding to each recipient) and no matter how you slice or dice that … that’s cold hard cash.
There is one caveat: those selected must introduce plant-based ingredients in their recipes, add more plant-based dishes to their menus or convert their dishes to plant-based versions of themselves.
The Plant Grant will subsidize coaching on menu development from two plant-based chef pioneers, Lemel Durrah and Laricia Chandler for those selected.
The Plant Grants will be awarded to five (5) applicants who are selected based on meeting program criteria, including their commitment to plant-based eating, and engaging their community.
The applications are open now through July 31, 2021. The selected grantees will be announced in September 2021. For more info, please visit plantgrants.com.