Categories: CelebrityFoodNews

RZA and Violife to grant $100K to ‘pandemic hit’ black-owned vegan restaurants


This year, Upfield’s New Plant Grants Program is focusing on supporting Black-owned restaurants with the aim of making “plant-based eating more accessible, affordable and sustainable to all.”

Legendary hip-hop artist and long-time vegan, RZA has teamed up with Upfield brand Violife to launch a new grant program aimed at promoting plant-based eating in local communities.

The 2021 Plant Grants program is focusing on supporting Black-owned restaurants badly struck by the COVID-19 pandemic through charitable funding, education, and mentorship.

According to CNBC, 41% of Black-owned businesses closed down during the nine months between February 2020 and October 2020.

The program will grant $20,000 each to five chosen black-owned restaurants to aid business recovery. Eligibility is based on program criteria and their commitment to advance plant-based eating through plant-based menu inclusion.

In addition to funding, grant recipients will also be mentored by leading plant-based chefs, Lemel Durrah of Compton Vegan and Laricia Chandler popularly known as Chef Fab, of Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat in order to inspire them to add more plant-based dishes to their menus or convert well-loved recipes to plant-based.  

The 2021 Plant Grants is open from now until 31 July.  The selected grantees will be announced in September.

A movement to embrace meatless options’

“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,” RZA said in a statement.

“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.” 

 ‘Plant-based revolution’

 Brian Orlando, Chief Marketing Officer, Upfield North America added: “At Upfield, we’re excited to be working with community-based chefs and restaurateurs, and plant-based visionaries who are scaling up the plant-based revolution across the U.S. to bring great tasting plant-based foods to more people.

 “Now with the new Plant Grants program, we can expand and promote their incredible efforts in an impactful way to help them develop new menu items with plant-based ingredients and create dishes and recipes, so more people choose to eat plant-based foods because they are delicious, and better for you and better for the planet.” 

For more information on the Plant Grants program click here.

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