The world's largest plant-based consumer food products company Upfield US today announced a new grant program, Plant Grants, aimed at promoting plant-based eating.
This first year the campaign is sponsored by Violife, an Upfield brand of vegan cheeses and spreads in collaboration with legendary hip-hop artist and long-time vegan, RZA.
The 2021 Plant Grants program will focus on helping community-based Black-owned restaurants recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide funding to support re-investment in the business, an introduction to plant-based ingredients, and coaching on menu development from two plant-based chef pioneers, Lemel Durrah and Laricia Chandler to inspire Black-owned restaurants to add more plant-based dishes to their menus or convert well-loved recipes to plant-based.
"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."
"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," said Brian Orlando, Chief Marketing Officer, Upfield North America. "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."
"We are thrilled to partner with RZA to raise awareness about the benefits of plant-based eating and bring awareness to the Plant Grants program," said Bernice Chao, Senior Brand Manager, Upfield. "We look forward to providing well-deserved recognition and support to Black-owned restaurants and opening the door to exciting new dishes and traditional recipes with a plant-based twist."
The grant program consists of $20,000 in funding to each recipient; coaching and guidance on plant-based menus and recipes from vegan chefs Lemel Durrah of Compton Vegan and Laricia Chandler Baker widely known as Chef Fab, of Can't Believe It's Not Meat and education on including plant-based products in new recipes or transforming time-tested recipes into plant-based options. Marketing and publicity assistance is also part of the program.
Grants will be awarded to five applicants who are selected based on meeting program criteria, including their commitment to plant-based eating, and engaging their community.
The 2021 Plant Grants is open now through July 31, 2021, for interested applicants. The selected grantees will be announced in September 2021.