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RZA Teams up with Violife to Award Five Black-Owned Restaurants $100K

The new grant program aims to make plant-based eating more accessible, affordable, and delicious in local communities.


The new grant program aims to make plant-based eating more accessible, affordable, and delicious in local communities.

This month, legendary hip-hop artist RZA and vegan cheese brand Violife have awarded five Black-owned restaurants with $100k in Plant Grants. Violife’s Plant Grants program is a new multi-year program that was launched in June 2021 to address the disproportionate challenges faced by Black-owned restaurants and communities.

“With the 2021 Plant Grants program, we’re tackling plant-based food inequity head on by empowering Black-owned restaurants to offer more plant-based dishes to their communities—dishes that will delight customers and keep them coming back for more,” Lisa Akey, head of Away from Home Marketing for Violife USA, told VegOut. The 2021 Plant Grants program is the first year of a planned annual initiative.”

A Way to Inspire More People to Eat Plant-Based

RZA—who is best known as the lead rapper in the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan—has been an outspoken advocate for veganism since the mid-1990s. The hip-hop artist decided to become involved with Plant Grants as a way to inspire more people to eat plant-based in both his own community and throughout the US.

“I’m excited to work with the Plant Grants restaurants because they are on the front line of the plant-based revolution in their communities, through their recipes and the individual touch they put on their dishes to give their customers a great meal,” RZA told VegOut. “We are what we eat. For me, that means I still get to eat cheese—vegan cheese from Violife—and with their help, I get to convince people to switch to foods made from plants because they taste good, they’re affordable, and there is a whole lot of variety to choose from.”

The 2021 Plant Grants Recipients

The 2021 Plant Grants recipients are New York City’s Seasoned Vegan, Houston’s Meek’s Vegan Pizza, Philadelphia’s Supreme Oasis Bakery and Deli, Louisiana’s Vegans on the Run LLC, and Tennessee’s Plant Power Cafe & Juice Bar. Each restaurant will be mentored by Chef Lemel Durrah of LA’s Compton Vegan and Chef Laricia Chandler Baker (Chef Fab) of Chicago’s Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, who will work side-by-side with the grantees on menu development and community outreach.

For more information on Violife’s Plant Grants program, visit  Upfield.com.

Photo credit: Mike Relm

Kayla Pasko


Kayla, a Midwest girl living in NYC, is a writer with a background in media sales. When she’s not scoping out trendy vegan spots, she’s usually taking a yoga class, shopping at Trader Joe’s, or catching a Packers game.

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