Rooted in Food

Rooted in Food spotlights diverse businesses across the country that are exploring all aspects of what we consume from farming and production to access, tech, and retail. These founders are honoring the sacred power of food in our lives in order to build healthier, more inclusive communities.

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Businesses in Rooted in Food

Olympia Auset

SÜPRMARKT

Low Cost Organic Grocery to End Food Deserts

LaShauna Austria

Kindred Seedlings Farm

Black-Owned Farm, Reclaiming Land and Food

Mike de la Rocha & Richard Cabral

Tepito Coffee Roasters

Chicano-Owned Company Bringing Ceremony Back to Coffee

Melinda Williamson

Morning Light Kombucha

Indigenous Woman Owned Kombucha Company

Pitch in and let's solve this challenge together

SÜPRMARKT

Olympia Auset

Challenge: Pitch in with SÜPRMARKT

Olympia needs your help to take SÜPRMARKT to the next growth level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

Rate this challenge experience:6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 56 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Kindred Seedlings Farm

LaShauna Austria

Challenge: Pitch in with Kindred Seedlings Farm

LaShauna needs your help to take Kindred Seedlings to the next growth level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

Rate this challenge experience:3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Tepito Coffee Roasters

Mike de la Rocha & Richard Cabral

Challenge: Pitch in with Tepito Coffee Roasters

Mike needs your help to take Tepito Coffee Roasters to the next growth level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

Rate this challenge experience:1 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 51 vote, average: 4.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Morning Light Kombucha

Melinda Williamson

Challenge: Pitch in with Morning Light Kombucha

Melinda needs your help to take Morning Light to the next growth level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

Rate this challenge experience:1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Origin Story

SÜPRMARKT

I grew tired of traveling 2 hours by bus every time I needed groceries and tired of seeing people I love pass away from diseases that can be cured by vegetables. I started SÜPRMARKT to stop this cycle. I never want to tell my children that "we have to go to the white neighborhood for that," regarding something so simple as a salad or smoothie.

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Business Basics

Founders

Olympia Auset

Founding Date:

2016

Geo

Los Angeles

Identity

Black / African American Indigenous / Native Woman-Identified

Solution

Product

Impact Area

Health & Food

Advising Needs

Business Models and Financials Growth, Scaling, and Investments Human Resources

Problem:

Living in South Central makes you 3x as likely to die from a preventable disease, largely due to limited quantities of fresh, healthy, affordable food available in food deserts. We target low income, food insecure residents and families, especially in South LA zip codes: 90008, 90018, 90043, 90047, 90062, 90016, and 90302.

Solution:

We lead screenings, juice cleanses, and workshops which help low income POC's get healthy. Last year, we held South Central’s first ever vegan festival. Over a thousand people attended, and it was a huge success. During the COVID crisis, our 1-or-1 program offers groceries to those in need, and we have provided over 2,000 pounds of grains and seeds. We have also partnered with Jackfruit Café and Vegan Outreach to provide free / discounted organics and vegan meals to 200 people weekly.

Market:

This project will provide free and affordable produce, dry goods, prepared meals, and health food to the 1.3 Million South Central residents living with access to only 60 grocery stores, beginning with 292,295 residents in the proposed location area. We primarily serve low income Black and Brown residents.

Traction:

SÜPRMARKT has provided more than 70,000 pounds of produce since starting. Our services, events, workshops, and screenings have been featured in Hulu, Netflix, LA Times, USA Today, and more.

Origin Story

Kindred Seedlings Farm

Kindred Seedlings started as an act of anti-racism. Given that there are not many Black, woman farmers in Alamance County, I was inspired to do something about it. I began as a seedling business in the dining room of my home. This led to a partnership with the Elon University Love Business School, which helped me to really think about how Kindred could be beneficial to Alamance and surrounding areas. Eventually, culinary herbs were added to the list of products sold. All of this was done with a quarter-acre piece of property in a suburban back yard. It doesn't take a lot of land to be able to grow something!

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Business Basics

Founders

LaShauna Austria

Founding Date:

2018

Geo

Graham NC

Identity

Black / African American Woman-Identified

Solution

Product

Impact Area

Advocacy Economic Power Race & Equity Health & Food Community Support

Advising Needs

Business Models and Financials Marketing and Communications Product / Service Design

Problem:

I wanted to help folks understand that Black people care about food, farming, and land stewardship, but we've been kept away from the table. Our voices have been silenced for too long.

Solution:

In 2020, Kindred Seedlings Farm was officially established after the acquisition of a 20-acre piece of property in Southern Alamance County, NC. We began selling seedlings and fresh culinary herbs through Black farmers markets as well as offering a line of herbal tea blends. We have a large network of community support that is essential to our operation as a working farm. We are continuing to grow seedlings and plants with the goal of building a local place where farmers can purchase their veggie starts for each growing season. We are also a space for all people, especially BIPOC folks, to come find peace and see others who look like them stewarding the land. Ultimately, Kindred aspires to be a teaching farm for new farmers learning to grow food.

Market:

We are serving our Southern Alamance County community and folks all over the Triad / Triangle of North Carolina. We are members of the Black Trade Union in Durham NC where we are members of the Black Farmers Market. This has increased our visibility and network over the years.

Traction:

Since beginning in 2018, we have over 1,000 active customers and a large customer database. We operate an online store, market operations 2x a month, and variety of pop-up events at our farm.

Origin Story

Tepito Coffee Roasters

Our origin story is that Richard Cabral and Mike de la Rocha wanted to start a company that was rooted in our indigenous traditions of love and generosity. Through Tepito Coffee Company, Mike and Richard are building bridges between México and East Los Angeles, one origin, one identity, one coffee at a time. From farm to cup, Tepito Coffee Roasters is more than just a coffee company. It is a vehicle to inspire cultural pride and a sense of community. We believe that the experience of coffee is sacred. As sons of immigrants, we have been intentional about producing one of the finest coffee experiences imaginable while centering the most vulnerable in our community. All of our coffee is directly sourced by Pecora 19º09´ in Boca del Monte, a small rural town located in Veracruz, México. Together, we are continuing the prayer of our ancestors. Together, we are on a journey of healing ourselves and the planet. Together, we are proud to be Tepito Coffee Roasters.

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Business Basics

Founders

Mike de la Rocha & Richard Cabral

Founding Date:

2021

Geo

East Los Angeles

Identity

Hispanic / Latino / Latinx Indigenous / Native

Solution

Product

Impact Area

Economic Power Health & Food

Advising Needs

Business Models and Financials Growth, Scaling, and Investments Operations and Administration

Problem:

We are addressing the problem of few Chicano or Mexican owned and founded coffee companies. Most major coffee companies get their beans from Latin America or Africa, but those working the land or working in the factories are not factored into the overall business model or branding to the world. At Tepito, we are building a company that honors those harvesting in the fields to those working at our distribution center.

Solution:

Tepito Coffee Roasters solves this problem by being Chicano / Mexican founded and owned. We also model a new way of doing business by ensuring that every major decision is made in collaboration with Pecora 19º09´ and our farmers in México so that we can maintain the standard and quality of their 20+ years of experience. Simply put, we are unapologetically proud to be a company for and by the growing Latinx and Chicano community.

Market:

Tepito Coffee Roasters tagline is "Rooted in Mexico, Brewed in East Los Angeles." While we are located in a predominately Mexican American community in East LA, we are serving people all across the country through our direct-to-consumer business model. Our customer base is primarily people of color living in the west coast, but we also have customers that live and work in the Midwest and across the United States.

Traction:

We have been measuring our quantitative success through customer loyalty and identification with the brand as well as sales. Since our launch on March 19, 2021, we have developed a very loyal and active following both on and offline. People have really resonated with the brand which has resulted in sales of thousands of coffee bags and major media exposure.

Origin Story

Morning Light Kombucha

Hew! Melinda Williamson ndeshnekas, mshkoteni bodwewadmi ndaw mine mshkoteni bodwewadmi skwengen nteta, Mietti, KS ndottbya ndemikttewi shi Morning Light Kombucha -- Hi! I am called Melinda Williamson, I am Prairie Band Potawatomi and I live on the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation in Mayetta, KS. I am the founder of Morning Light Kombucha -- The inspiration behind Morning Light Kombucha was born in 2015 from a desire to share with others a product that had helped me in my health struggles after an autoimmune disease diagnosis 11 years ago. In order to manage my disease, I returned to what I had been taught throughout my life -- that we are surrounded by medicines in nature. So from that day forward, I turned to food as medicine for healing. I introduced foraged, fermented, and whole foods, including kombucha into my family's diet and it was a life changing experience. In 2015, I began brewing my own kombucha using whole fruits, herbs, vegetables, and wild plants. I shared it with family and friends, and they loved it! I wanted the opportunity to share this product as well as my story with others. As a Native American woman, I know first hand the health disparities that my people face daily. The rates of autoimmune disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and cancers among Native people and other people of color are alarming. I knew that if I could find healing in this tea that others could too. This is how Morning Light Kombucha was born.

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Business Basics

Founders

Melinda Williamson

Founding Date:

2016

Geo

Mayetta KS

Identity

Indigenous / Native Woman-Identified

Solution

Product

Impact Area

Health & Food Green / Sustainability

Advising Needs

Business Models and Financials Growth, Scaling, and Investments Operations and Administration

Problem:

I recognized a gap in the Kansas kombucha market when it came to being transparent about ingredient sourcing, sustainable practices, community support, and customer engagement.

Solution:

Morning Light Kombucha partners with local farmers focused on sustainable agricultural practices, in addition to foraging for wild ingredients. This is how we source the majority of our ingredients for our small batch, hand-crafted kombucha. We are very vocal about where and how we are sourcing our ingredients as well as highlighting our focus on sustainability within our operations and our commitment to giving back to Indigenous communities. This transparency leads to open and honest conversations with our customers about the importance of knowing where your food comes from, conscious consumerism, and issues affecting indigenous communities.

Market:

Around 80% of our customers are women ages 30-55 and the majority are repeat customers, utilizing our refill offerings at the farmers markets, community events, and retail accounts. Right now, the majority live within the city limits of Topeka, but we have incredible customers in both rural areas in and around our reservation as well as other large cities in Kansas.

Traction:

With the launch of our canned kombucha line in February 2021 and our doorstep delivery options in 2020, we have seen a nearly 32% increase in sales from this time last year and a 38% increase from 2019 to 2020. We are targeting a 45% increase in sales by years end as we partner with a new state-wide distributor. Our social media exposure is growing day-by-day as we spread to new areas of the state.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Rollout Costs (65%)

New Services (35%)

Most of the funds raised will be used toward comprehensive rollout costs, including a grand marketing plan, grand opening expenses, and advertising. We will also pilot and develop new nonprofit farming and community gardening strategies.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Farm Staff (25%)

Operational Expenses (50%)

Barn Repairs (25%)

We'd like to make our business profitable. I work full-time as a consultant, so marketing and communications definitely fall to the back burner sometimes. We need a certified kitchen as well as product and service design assistance to really begin to tap into additional sources of revenue.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Staffing (75%)

Operational Costs (25%)

We would use the funds specifically for staffing and operational expenses.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Operational Expenses (50%)

Equipment Purchases (35%)

Marketing (15%)

We are in the process of purchasing a building that is nearly 3x larger than our current facility. This additional space will allow us to expand our operations tremendously. Future funds raised from the campaign will be used to help us as we expand in the new facility.