Denise Woodard started Partake Foods in 2016 after a life-changing event when her young daughter was diagnosed with several food allergies. She could not find foods free of the top 8 allergens for her daughter, so she educated herself more on healthy eating and created her cookie recipes. Woodard began selling her cookies out of her garage in Brooklyn, NY.
Also, Woodard has expressed her passion for helping the community by working with non-profits that focus on food insecurity. She loves to teach children at a young age about access to healthy foods. Her company donates time and money to Blessings in a Backpack, which sends out food every Friday to food-insecure children. And they also support the Food Equality Initiative, which is a non-profit created by Emily Brown that feeds 3,000 families with an emphasis on fresh produce like tomatoes, potatoes, and more.
Denise Woodard continues to help her community and is a big believer to lift as you climb. This is exactly what her fellowship program is about called “Black Futures in the Food and Beverage Industry” in which they have teamed up with 5 Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A&T University, Fayetteville State University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A & M University, and Howard University. While Partake Foods is leading the program Chobani, Beyond Meat, Hue, and Once Upon a Farm is also taking a part in this program which consists of an 8-week Spring or Summer Internship offered to 10 seniors per school. Then they have 2 cohorts per year with each company to help address and change the lack of black and brown talent in the food and beverage industry.