Underscoring their work to improve equity in the food system, Meijer and Kellogg Co. recently highlighted two local Black-owned farming operations.
In an effort to support local producers and create a more diverse supply chain in their own backyards, Meijer and Kellogg Co. recently celebrated young Black farmers who are making an impact on their communities. Heeding the fact that less than 2% of farmers in the U.S. are Black, the companies touted two organizations from Southwest Michigan as part of the “Kellogg’s Rooted in the Midwest” campaign.
Sunlight Gardens of Battle Creek, Mich. and Zoo City Farm & Food Network of Kalamazoo, Mich. were highlighted in this summer’s campaign that took place at Meijer stores and online. Sunlight Gardens is a two-acre urban farm started by Devon Wilson to increase healthy food access and inspire future farmers. Zoo City Farm & Food Network, founded by Remi Harrington, is a local food policy and industry association that aims to create food sovereignty by connecting consumers to community food businesses, local farms and producers who are underrepresented in the agriculture industry.
"As part of our Better Days Promise strategy to advance sustainable and equitable access to food, Kellogg proudly supports young farmers in an effort to put food on the table and supports their efforts to grow fresh, local foods," said Amy Davis, VP, sales accounts at Kellogg. "We partner with Meijer not only as good neighbors in our home of Michigan, but to demonstrate our shared commitment to the state and the young farmers who will continue to make it an agricultural powerhouse."
Earlier this year, Kellogg and Meijer teamed up with the National Young Farmers Coalition to fund programs that improve equity and access among the up-and-coming generation of farmers, especially farmers of color. The companies donated to honorariums for a dozen Midwest farmers who take part in the Young Farmers Land Advocacy Fellowship.
In addition to Kellogg and Meijer, others in the CPG and food retailing industries are taking steps to support Black producers. For example, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) is a founding member of the Cultivating Equity in Black Agriculture (ACRES) initiative launched by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Cargill. Further diversifying the farm-to-fork chain, Black farmers are also getting into the grocery business: Ivy Walls and Jeremy Peaches opened The Fresh Houwse Grocery Store in Houston last year to bring relief to an urban food desert.