Industry Support News Vol. 26 No. 02

Six Resources to Support Black-Owned Food and Beverage Businesses


February is Black History Month, honoring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history. The contributions of African Americans in the culinary landscape of our country cannot be underestimated. Yet, more can be done to recognize, foster, and further black-owned businesses and help build awareness. Here are six resources.

Eat Okra

Anthony and Janique Edwards created EatOkra as a digital marketplace to help food lovers discover and support Black-owned restaurants throughout the USA. EatOkra is free for both users and Black-owned restaurants looking to be added to the directory. Business owners can sign up by downloading the EatOkra app on Google Play, AppStore, or visit the discover section on the website here.

Black Food Folks

Colleen Vincent and Clay Williams co-founded Black Food Folks to provide resources and foster community among Black professionals in the food and drink industry through curated events, digital talks, a podcast, and community support to connect Black professionals in all corners of food, drinks, and hospitality. In addition to networking, Black Food Folks hosts webinars, digital talks, and events.

Association of African-American Vintners (AAAV)

The nonprofit membership organization is comprised of Black-owned wineries. Its mission is to increase awareness of African-American vintners and foster a spirit of cooperation and diversity within the industry. The AAAV website lists winery members and has a job board.

The Hue Society

Former sommelier, Tahiirah Habibi founded The Hue Society as a networking hub for African-American wine professionals with a focus on interconnecting wine, culture, and commerce.

The USA has more than 2,000 distilleries. While black-owned distilleries are still a minority, this is a category to watch. The website and blog Distillery Trail has compiled a list of Black-owned distilleries by state and encourages readers to send in their discoveries to add to the list.

Diversity In Food and Beverage

This nonprofit organization founded by restaurant industry professional, Lia Jones, works to further diversity and inclusivity in the hospitality industry through educational events, scholarships, grants, and other efforts.

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An engaging speaker and writer, Melanie Young hosts the weekly national radio shows, The Connected Table Live, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits and hospitality (a Feedspot Top 10 Food & Drink Podcasts for 2021), and Fearless Fabulous You, a lifestyle show for and about women (both on iHeart and more than 30 other podcast platforms). Young has contributed articles on wine, spirits, food, and culinary travel to Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine4Food and Jewish Week. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Wine Media Guild, and Women of the Vine & Spirits. Young’s former marketing and events agency, M Young Communications, worked with global wine, food organizations, publishing companies and nonprofits. She had an integral role in the creation, launch and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards, New York Restaurant Week, and Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (2001) which raised funds to provide for the families of restaurant workers killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Instagram @theconnectedtable

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