It began as a dream of 5 Black entrepreneurial organizers of Black August in the Park – an annual event that occurs in Durham, NC to celebrate African heritage and values – the Black Farmers’ Market evolved with a simple mission: “To inspire a self-sufficient community that supports and protects Black farmers and entrepreneurs.” As the Market gained popularity and the vision became a reality, the Black Farmers Market founders unearthed a new wish, to expand their mission of a self-sustaining food system and further connecting the farmers with their market customers. This would be done with the insertion of local Black chefs using market produce to create meals for expression of their history.
The beautiful partnership between Weaver Street Market and the Black Farmers’ Market united the dream of a company and an organization that share the mission of reducing food insecurity in our community while creating a sustainable food dynamic that allows for equal opportunity and representation. Weaver Street Market was honored to participate in the soft launch of Grazefully Rooted – a farm to fridge product line that embodied the Black Farmers’ Market organizers’ vision. Developed on the back of their seasonal Market, these four Black entrepreneurial organizers recognized the need for sustainability of the market off-season for both themselves and their farmers.
Watch a video about Black Farmers’ Market below.
Weaver Street Market’s E.Q.U.I.T.Y. Alliance initially reached out to the Black Farmers’ Market organizers to explore possible partnership opportunities, upholding the company’s newly founded mission of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all corners of their work. As the Alliance members learned more of the Market’s plans, they jumped on the opportunity to participate in this product launch as they recognized their platform as a local retail grocery cooperative combined with their resources in the Weaver Street Market Food House production facility.
In the initial launch of Grazefully Rooted, the Black Farmers’ Market partnered with Ade Carrena and Samantha Kotey, the founders of Kayayo Collective, to create signature Ghanian dishes true to their roots – including chai roasted sweet potatoes, Ghanaian braised collard greens, and roasted butternut squash & carrot soup. These products were available by pre-order, through their website, and the remaining were sold as a subsequent Farm to Fork dinner held at First Fruits Farms in Louisburg, North Carolina. Success was immediately felt as the community grabbed on to what they recognized as a dynamic essential to the food system.
In the months leading up to the start of the 2021 Black Farmers’ Market, Weaver Street Market and Grazefully Rooted are continuing to solidify the parameters of this partnership. Following 2020’s soft launch, Black Farmers’ Market organizers are gathering chefs and recipes to prepare for the 2021 menu. Weaver Street Market is assessing their capabilities in food production to create a space that lends its time and resources to our shared cause. In the near future, the Grazefully Rooted farm to fridge product line has plans to continue as sales throughout the Black Farmers’ Market season as well as potentially gracing the shelves of the retail market. If months of hard work and diligence have taught both organizations a lesson, it is that anything is possible if you are willing to be open, share, and dare to dream!