Want To Help Stake A Claim For Black Food In America?

Back in July, (one of the most important food organizations I know), and how they're raising money in order to be able to continue operating and fighting to end racism and injustice in the food system. The chance to learn about (and potentially support) people and organizations doing crucial work in food seemed to strike a chord with a lot of you, so I'm going to keep that ball rolling.

Omar Tate is a chef, artist and poet. He's been running this wonderful pop-up dinner series called Honeysuckle, where he explores black heritage and culture through food (and history, and art). We wrote about Honeysuckle on Heated a while back. Even better, Omar published an incredible piece for us about celebrating Kool-Aid (a staple of his childhood) in his cooking.

Omar is now setting out to transform Honeysuckle into a permanent community center in West Philly. It'll include the supper club, along with a grocery, meat market, and cafe/library, all with the goal of claiming some much-needed (and often un-acknowledged) space for Black food in America. As Omar puts it:

The project will not only engage with the community but also build and grow into the fabric of the community already established in West Philadelphia for generations to come. I will employ its residents, share a collective wealth, and create and display art that represents us, resulting in being seen as human and powerful. To be allowed to own our destiny.

What's also really cool is that this is kind of the continuation of a family legacy; Omar's grandfather opened a community center in Philly in the '70s after coming home from the war. It promoted the arts and taught and fed the neighborhood’s children, but never grew into everything it could be because of racial tensions in the city. I love that he's picking up where his grandpa left off.

To learn more about the project, check out Omar's video below (or read more here). If what he's working towards speaks to you in any way, you can contribute (I think he's sending homemade bean pies to anyone who donates $100) or pass this info along to people who might be interested. Omar is really good at making things; I can't wait to see what he creates here. See you Friday.

—Mark


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Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.