Browse Tag

Food

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Slutty Vegan Raises $25M, Brand Now Valued at $100M

Established in 2018, Slutty Vegan, came out the gate taking the food industry by storm. Reportedly, the Atlanta-based vegan burger chain’s revenue grew to $4 million within the first six months of its grand opening

In a 2019 interview with founder Pinky Cole, we asked where she saw her business in the next 5 years.

Her response was, “I see Slutty Vegan country-wide, providing vegan experiences in communities where they would have otherwise never had that opportunity.”

slutty vegan
Pinky Cole in front of her Atlanta location | Credit: Raymond McCrea Jones for The New York Times

Since then, Slutty Vegan has grown into a restaurant empire with four brick-and-mortar locations across Atlanta, and openings scheduled for Birmingham, Baltimore, and New York.

According to a “CNBC Make It” estimate, Slutty Vegan made between $10 million and $14 million in 2021 revenue.

Now, with help from a $25 million series A investment round, led by entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis’ New Voices Fund and restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments,  Cole plans to open 10 additional locations by the end of this year and 10 more locations in 2023.

This recent funding round values Slutty Vegan at $100 million, For(bes) The Culture reported.

In December of last year, Slutty Vegan announced the hiring of some key players to assist with its expansion plans. They brought on professional chef, Muhammad Yasin as district manager, and a former CAVA executive, Joi Alexander as national director of sales & catering.

The company also plans to hire a chief operating officer and chief marketing officer to help manage its exponential growth.

Not bad for a 4-year-old business that started out taking orders over Instagram.

 

Tony O. Lawson


Related: Black-owned Vegan Restaurants You Should Know


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10 Step Guide for Growing Your Own Food

Growing your own food is a fun and fulfilling experience. It’s tremendously exciting to watch the seeds sprout, grow new leaves, blossom, and bear fruit.

growing your own food

The highlight of it all is harvesting and eating meals made from veggies you cultivated yourself. If you plan to grow your own food, check out our ten easy steps to guide you through the process. 

Choose the Seeds

The growing conditions of each plant are different. Thus, knowing what you will be growing will help you with your research and the rest of the process. Based on the seed availability, your favorite veggies, and the area available for gardening, choose what you want to grow and how much you want to grow.

Know the Veggie Friends

Growing certain plants together is a simple trick gardeners use to increase the profit. As you plan your garden for this year, make sure you choose companion plants that will complement each other and help your garden flourish. They can provide each other with nutrients, shade, or support, as well as attract pollinators and repel pests. 

Do Your Research

Now that you know what you are planting, read up on the season, the growing conditions, and processes for each of the seeds you have chosen. Know that each plant grows in different seasons and requires different amounts of sunlight, water, and manure. Have an understanding of the growing process for each seed to monitor the growth and make informed decisions. 

Find Your Spot

The perfect spot is where you can get a lot of morning sunlight. Sunlight contributes to the growth and development of a plant. However, planting it where the noon light shines a lot can make maintenance more difficult since it would require frequent watering and might even wither quickly. Plants require around 6–7 hours of sunshine to flourish. So, look for a spot with direct sunlight.  

Know Your Soil

Each plant requires different types of soil and pH levels for growth. A simple squeeze test can tell you whether your soil is clay, sand, or loam. Knowing your soil will help you determine how to prepare your soil for maximum yield.

Prepare the Soil

After understanding your soil type, you need to prepare your soil for each produce. Adding compost and fertilizers will help enhance the richness of the soil and help produce better yields. Add a generous amount of garden compost to the soil and mix it well before planting the seeds.

Plant It the Right Way

Depending on the seed, the way to plant it also differs. Some seeds need to be buried deeper, while others need only a light layer of soil to cover them. Bulbs can go straight into the pot, whereas the vulnerable range needs to start seed trays. They can be transplanted into the pot when they have a minimum of 4–5 leaves. Make sure to choose the right pot depending on the expected growth of each plant. 

Add Nutrients and Water

Like any living being, plants require sunlight, nutrients, and water to grow well. Keep a tracker and add fertilizers once every two weeks, and water it depending on the requirement for each plant. You can dip your finger in the soil to check the soil’s moisture level. Also, remember to add pesticides as and when needed. 

Harvest

Keep a close eye on ripening plants. Some need to be harvested raw, some fresh; some are happy to wait till you are ready to harvest, while some wait for none. Know and identify the right time to reap and enjoy harvesting the produce grown all by yourself.

Enjoy!

The final step is to enjoy the organic vegetables/fruit and make a healthy meal to share with your friends and family.

If you are looking for advanced ways to handle your garden, Torpedopot can help you set up a self-growing garden with a built-in, fully automated, pressurized plumbing system that waters your plants for you.

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Black Owned Restaurant Fighting For Survival after Legal Battle with Gentrifying Developers

Bintimani is a Black owned restaurant operated by Sierra Leonean natives, wife-and-husband duo Baindu and Sahr Josiah-Faeduwor. Earlier this year, Bintimani, a pillar of Boston’s West African dining scene at the time, was forced to leave the space they’ve called home since 2009.

We caught up with their son, Aiyah to find out more about a situation that is both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

black owned restaurant
Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor

Briefly describe your parent’s journey to the US?

My dad came from Sierra Leone, West Africa in the late 70’s on a student visa with the goals of becoming an engineer, starting a family, and pursuing the “American Dream.” By his 30’s, he had amassed 5 advanced degrees in the agriculture and engineering fields, been working for NASA, and he and my mom were forming a solid foundation for me and my 4 siblings to reap the benefits of their sacrifice.

However, life happened, my parents separated, and my Dad was awarded custody of 5 children under the age of 13. Unable to maintain jobs in such a highly demanding industry, my Dad was forced to figure out another way to support his family. As we hauled our worldly possessions into a small Uhaul, we came to Boston, to live with my aunt, and it seemed my parents’ American Dream was all but deferred.

black owned restaurant
Baindu and Sahr Josiah-Faeduwor operated Bintimani in Roxbury for 11 years until they were evicted. (Terrence B. Doyle/Eater)

What challenges did your parents face as immigrant entrepreneurs?

In 2008 my dad eventually re-married, and he and my step-mom, a recent Sierra Leonean immigrant, chose to be entrepreneurs, as not many “traditional” career paths were available to either of them given their various constraints.

They started a fresh fruit market in Roxbury’s Dudley Square, which eventually became a West African Cuisine restaurant they named “Bintimani” after Mount Bintimani, the tallest peak in Sierra Leone. As Africans, in a historically and predominantly African-American community, they had much adjusting and learning to do to be “accepted” and supported within this community, not just by residents/potential customers, but also by government and business institutions needed to build capacity.

For much of their 13-year journey, they fought with and against the current, to pass health code requirements, in a dilapidated and neglected building, within a significantly under-resourced and overpoliced community. Through determination and quality cuisine, they built a strong and loyal customer base that ultimately garnered the recognition of trusted critics like Boston Eater, which in 2019 named Bintimani one of New England’s 38 Essential Restaurants and featured regularly in their publication.

It would have seemed that my family, even though pivoted and delayed, was on its way to the destination my parents dreamed of upon their arrival to the States — until the Boston Real Estate Collaborative (BREC) purchased the building that housed Bintimani for 13 years with the aims of converting the space into luxury co-living apartments.

What sparked the legal battle between your parent’s business and BREC?

Originally BREC communicated their intent was to close the building down for renovations, and then allow the 15 or so East and West African micro-business tenants to apply for tenancy in the new development upon completion. Without guarantees of tenancy, if/when, or a communicated plan for how these businesses would operate in the interim without a physical place of business, the intentions were clear, that this was a de facto gentrification-induced displacement in the newly re-named district of “Nubian Square.”

Out of options, my dad called me, because he had no one else, but also given my background in community engagement around issues facing BIPOC folks, and a current MBA and City Planning student at MIT. I reached out to my community organizing contacts, and the City of Boston municipal network, and we were able to obtain 1 year commitments to not-evict tenants until construction began, giving the businesses a year to sort out their affairs and eventually leave on their own accord.

This pyrrhic victory not only did not yield the ideal outcome of guaranteeing a sustained plan for this group of businesses, but it also position Bintimani as rabble rousers in the eyes of the developers, putting a target on my parents’ back that ultimately resulted in the landlord’s pursuit of their eviction, catalyzed by the pandemic. Unable to keep up with rent, as soon as the moratorium on evictions was lifted,  Bintimani was ousted. 

How has the community come together to support the business?

Since moving to Providence, Rhode Island in 2009 to attend Brown University as an undergrad, I fell in love with the vibrant, quirky, and deeply interconnected community within the nation’s smallest state. As an involved and engaged community member and agent, by the time of Bintimani’s eviction, I had built a strong network and community of folks who, at the news of my family’s situation, immediately sprung to action offering sympathy and support towards an optimistic outcome.

Buff Chace, of Cornish Associates, a real estate company that owned many of the buildings in downtown Providence, reached out and offered my family tenancy in a prime location at 326 Westminster St, in the heart of downtown. Grateful and honored we gladly accepted the offer and set our sights on moving the family, and our business to Providence. The Boston Globe covered our story, and this led to an even stronger outpouring of support that both encouraged and affirmed the transition to be one that was born from turmoil but had the potential to be an even more fruitful and ideal location for our family business.

What is the status of the business now?

Since being offered tenancy, we’ve sought to raise the necessary funds to complete the build out and fit out of our space at 326 Westminster. We have utilized WeFunder, a crowd-sourced investment platform to raise $50,000 towards the build, as well as successfully obtained a $99,000 microloan from the Papitto Foundation to support capital costs.

In addition to fundraising,  we have begun catering to the RI and MA areas, and have hosted pop ups with community partners in Providence to get our cuisine out to this new market that we’re still learning about and meeting as a new business in the already vibrant culinary scene.

What are your future plans and how can we support you?

Given the ups and downs of our experience, and my background as an urban planner, and believer in the value of community-centered entrepreneurship, we have incorporated into our business plan, and the physical build of our space, the need to support BIPOC entrepreneurs as a critical component of business model.

To this end, we expect to host guest-chefs and vendors, as well as community agents, to utilize and share our space as a launch point, incubator, and community node, that operates to return the value that has been invested in us to land on our feet in this new community. In order to make this possible, we still have a long ways to go towards our needed goal of raising $400K for the build out of our space. What helps most currently is an investment in our WeFunder, contributions to our GoFundMe, and/or support and connection to capital for owners with high-risk creditworthiness.

Beyond the financial support, opportunities and platforms to share our story have been critical to our growing support, and we would greatly appreciate all support to reach more folks who resonate with our story of sacrifice, struggle, and deeply rooted belief in the immense power of community.

Tony O. Lawson


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Best Friends Create The First Black Owned Bread Brand

The search for a Black owned bread brand is officially over! Charles Alexander, Mark Edmond, and Jamel Lewis, three childhood friends from the southside of Chicago, have launched The Black Bread Co.

black owned bread company
Charles Alexander (from left), Mark Edmond, and Jamel Lewis, the founders of The Black Bread Company,

The inspiration for the company came after Mark tried, unsuccessfully, to find a Black owned bread brand on the shelves of his local grocery store.

“My wife gave me a grocery list, [and] at the top of the list was bread,” he said. “I wanted to buy everything that was Black-owned, and this huge bread aisle had absolutely no Black-owned bread. I literally was in the aisle for 35 minutes. Out of frustration, I left.”

Building on each other’s business skills, they were able to determine their company design, logo, create a website, select whole ingredients for their sliced bread, and hire a co-packer to help launch The Black Bread Company.

They went through numerous rounds of testing to make sure the bread was just right.

“There’s a certain level of pressure that comes when you’re starting something that’s never been done before,” Alexander said. “And the pressure for us was to make sure we got it right, and so we really took our time with the entire process.”


They currently offer honey wheat bread and premium white sliced bread but are looking forward to adding more products such as hot dog and hamburger buns, multi-grain bread, and brioche.

Since the company’s soft launch in February, it has received over 1,200 orders. They currently offer products online nationwide through pre-order. A bi-weekly or monthly subscription to the “Private Bread Club” is also available.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, you can also buy in store at Dill Pickle Food Co-Op in Logan Square and the Sugar Beet Co-Op in Oak Park.

Source: 6ABC News


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Black Owned Vegan Dessert Brand Invests $1.3 Million to Keep Up With Demand

Freaks of Nature is a Black owned Vegan dessert brand based in the UK. Peter Ahye launched Freaks of Nature in 2016 after identifying a gap in the market for inclusive, delicious tasting vegan and vegetarian snacks.

In January of 2020, the company launched a new chocolate mousse product and the demand far exceeded their expectations. Sales soared by 200% in three weeks and have been strong since then.

black owned vegan dessert
Peter Ahye

The company is now investing £1 million ($1.3 million) to expand its manufacturing capacity due to the growing demand for its vegan desserts. They also have plans to build a second production line and invest in larger, more eco-friendly equipment with the goal of increasing production capacity by 400 percent.

black owned vegan dessert

“This investment is very exciting and marks a significant turning point in our business,” Freaks of Nature founder Peter Ahye told Foodmanufacture UK. “In the first quarter of this year our production volumes were up by 100 percent, despite being held back by COVID-19, and strong indications show they are set to continue.”

black owned vegan dessert

“We had a fantastic year last year developing a number of great new puds, growing our production capacity and attracting some significant new retailers. We also won a number of leading industry accolades including The Grocers Best Start Up award. Following the really positive interest we have already received for our new mousse and the unstoppable rise in veganism we’re seeing here in the UK, I think this next year is going to be an even more exciting one for us!”

black owned vegan dessert

All of Freaks of Nature’s desserts are produced in its purpose-built facility which is British Retail Consortium (BRC) grade A accredited and is the largest factory of its kind in Europe.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

 

Related: Black Owned Snack Brands You Should Know


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Black Owned Snack Brands That Can Replace Junk Food

The global snacks market was valued at $439.9 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% until 2025.

Rising health concerns along with changing lifestyles and diets have spurred demand for healthy snacking options. Let’s support these Black Owned Snack Brands so that they can get their piece of the pie.

Black Owned Snack Brands

Cremas Absalon

Teranga

Freaks of Nature (UK)

Sanaia Applesauce

Black Owned Snack Brands

Azzizah’s Herbal Green Popcorn

Black Owned Snack Brands

MylkDog

Black Owned Snack Brands

Power Bites

Black Owned Snack Brands

Project Pop

Symphony Chips

Black Owned Snack Brands

Fineapple Vegan – Liquid Gold Cheese Sauce

Holmes Applesauce

Black Owned Snack Brands

Hella Nuts

AYA Raw Foods

Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks

Marjorie’s Beef Jerky

Wild Peanut Foods (UK)

Chikas Foods (UK)

Black Owned Snack Brands

Oh Mazing Food

Black Owned Snack Brands

 

Partake Foods

Brooklyn Granola

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Black Owned Packaged Food Brands For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Demand for packaged food witnessed a surge as lockdowns were imposed. Panic buying and hoarding led to a spike in the demand for frozen, refrigerated, and shelf-stable products.

Here are some Black owned packaged food brands that offer these items.

Black Owned Packaged Food

Blanket Pancakes & Syrup

Nana Foods

Mama Biscuits

Black Owned Packaged Food

Vicky Cakes

Iya Foods 

Black Owned Packaged Food

Michele Foods

 

 

A Dozen Cousins

Black Owned Packaged Food

Berhan Grains

Neilly’s Foods 

Yolélé Foods 

Egunsi Foods

Black Owned Packaged Food

 

-Tony O. Lawson


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Black Owned Vegan Spot in Atlanta Offering Free Food For a Day

Black-owned vegan fast-food spot, Slutty Vegan, is well-loved by locals and celebrities alike. This week, Lala Anthony, Ludacris, Chris Paul, and Gabrielle Union-Wade have teamed up to buy out the restaurant’s offerings for a day, when “free food will be [given away] in support of Pinky Cole’s business, and her community impact.”

Today, Tuesday, June 30th, the Atlanta location will be free all day thanks to the generosity of these celebs, who rallied around the founder Pinky Cole after her establishment was targeted and false online reviews claiming negative experiences were posted in response to her charitable deed a couple of days ago.

Last week, Cole decided to set up college funds alongside Clark Atlanta University for the children Rayshard Brooks, a Black Atlanta resident who was fatally shot by police at a Wendy’s on June 12th. Brooks is survived by four kids, who range in age from 1-years old to 13-years old. These college funds will cover the full cost of tuition and room and board for each of his children and are valued at $600,000 each.

Cole’s generous deed received praise online, but also quickly became a target of a negative online harassment campaign, as “Slutty Vegan’s Yelp and Google Business pages became inundated with false and negative reviews along with one-star ratings, claiming they had poor experiences at the establishment.”

black owned vegan

In response to this, loyal customers quickly came to Cole’s rescue, flooding the Yelp and Google Business pages with accurate, positive reviews, receiving over 18,000 positive Google reviews within a 72-hour time span.

To add to this push for positivity, a press release announced celebrities were also rallying around Cole: “This free food giveaway is LaLa Anthony, Ludacris, Gabrielle Union-Wade, and Chris Paul’s way of standing behind the popular brand that has done so much for the community since it’s inception in 2018.

“Slutty Vegan is located at 1542 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW. Free food items will be provided on Tuesday from 12noon – 7:30 pm. Social distancing will be encouraged and enforced.”

Source: The Beet


Related: Meet the Owner of Slutty Vegan, Atlanta’s Hottest Vegan Spot


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12 Year-Old Vegan Chef Omari McQueen to Release First Cookbook

Vegan chef Omari McQueen—who is only 12 years old—will publish his first cookbook in January 2021. Omari McQueen’s Best Bites Cookbook will feature 30 easy-to-make plant-based recipes crafted by the young chef. “I don’t want animals to die or be eaten so I teach people my age to be vegan,”

McQueen, who went vegan at the age of 7, said in a recent mini-documentary. McQueen created his own vegan brand Dipalicious at eight years old after starting a YouTube channel where he filmed himself making a vegan pizza served with his own Caribbean Kick dip. Last year, McQueen hosted a Dipalcious pop-up restaurant in Croydon, United Kingdom, where he served a variety of vegan Caribbean-inspired fare.

The book will be published by media brand Scholastic UK, which acquired world publishing rights from literary agent Oscar Janson-Smith at Kruger Crowne. “Omari McQueen is inspirational. At just 12 years old, he has achieved so much.

His passion for food and cooking is irresistible,” Scholastic UK Publishing Manager Leah James said. “Children everywhere have been busy learning to cook during lockdown; we can’t wait for Omari to share his recipes, tips, and enthusiasm with a generation of children and their families. Omari is leading a new generation of ethical minded foodies into a more sustainable future.”

McQueen took to Instagram to thank all of his supporters for making his new cookbook possible. “I would like to thank everyone for all your love, support, and encouragement. I would also like to say thank you to the one and only @oscarjansonsmith you have had my back for years, you believed in me from the beginning and @krugercowne, @scholastic_uk for giving me a chance to share my passion to the world,” McQueen said. “Mummy and daddy, you’re the best a boy like me could have. Thank you to my siblings and family for being you—perfect 100 percent.”

 

Source: VegNews

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Bowie State University Opens Food Pantry Lounge That Feeds Students For Free

Bowie State University, working with Food Lion, announced Monday it is opening a new on-campus nutrition lounge supplying free and healthy foods.

Through Food Lion Feeds, the retailer donated $10,000 to get the space up and running.

“This gift from Food Lion Feeds, along with the ongoing partnership of Food Lion and Capital Area Food Bank, will make an incredible difference for our Bowie State students, who sometimes struggle to afford healthy food options,” said Brent Swinton, vice president of institutional advancement. “The Bowie State Nutrition Lounge is emblematic of the university’s mission. This campus community provides wraparound support to empower our students to reach their full potential. The nourishment and healthy foods provided in the Nutrition Lounge will empower our students to advance their academic success and personal well-being.”

The Bowie State Nutrition Lounge will give students a specific space, especially for commuters, to relax, study and access healthy foods.

The university partnered with a local Food Lion store and Capital Area Food Bank to keep the lounge stocked regularly.

Many of Bowie State’s students only eat one meal per day, according to a university press release, so they believe a lounge will allow the students to get a healthy snack during a school day.

This is the sixth space Food Lion Feeds has established at a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association school since 2015.

“As the official Grocery Partner of the CIAA and deeply committed to Bowie and the greater Baltimore community, we’re excited to join with Bowie State and help nourish students right on campus,” said Jason Bullock, Food Lion director of operations in the Bowie, Md., area. “Students should be focused on learning, not where their next meal will come from. Caring for our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve is important to us, so we’re excited about this new space to help nourish the Bowie State community.”

 

Source: ABC

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