Many restaurants have struggled to survive during this past year. Black-owned restaurants, which often serve as cultural hubs for their communities, have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and so a special program has been established to support them. RZA, the rapper and founding member of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, has worked together with the plant-based cheese brand Violife, to establish a Plant Grants program, whereby five Black-owned restaurants will be chosen to receive a $20,000 grant to help with revitalizing their businesses by incorporating plant-based dishes into their menus.
RZA explains that “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.” He added that “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.”
The program is designed to help the restaurants develop new menu items with plant-based ingredients and create dishes and recipes, so that more people will be able to choose to eat plant-based foods. To help facilitate the transition, the program comes with a coaching element where 2 plant-based pioneers will guide recipients in adding plant-based options. The program also includes marketing and publicity assistance. Grant recipients will be chosen based on a number of criteria, including their commitment to add plant-based options and engage their community. The Plant Grants program is open now through July 31 and recipients will be announced in September 2021.
RZA has been working to promote vegan options for several years, along with Wu-Tang members GZA and Ghostface Killah. They helped to promote the launch of the Impossible Slider at White Castle in 2018. In a previous article, RZA explained how he became vegan for the animals. This latest program is a creative way for him to promote vegan food choices, while helping black-owned restaurants get back on their feet after the pandemic.