September's issue is all about GLOBAL FOOD! Black Travel Profiles include Celebrity Chef Ahki, Soul Society's Rondel Holder, Dine Diaspora and Airis The Chef.





















Welcome to our Global Food issue!

We could have gone sixty different ways with

a food issue, but in true GR style we tried to

bring you as many articles and people reflecting

the varied interests of black travelers

as possible.

From eating at community tables in South

East Asia to beer in Palestine and the dietary

benefits of a traditional African diet,

we’ve covered quite a few continents. We’ve

also snuck in a few fantastic chefs and food

bloggers for you foodie-types. Also, for those

interested in going into the culinary industry,

do not miss Aris The Chef’s honest and

straight forward advice!

Not into food? We’ve still managed to chock

this issue with dope music festivals, travel

conferences, and information on how to

make money while traveling (WWOOF).

As usual, we do hope that you enjoy magazine

and we’d love to hear your feedback.

Visit us at or on

social media and leave us a message!

• Celebrity Chef Ahki

joins us to talk about

the health benefits of


• Check out the interview

with Jessica Gordon

Nembhard about

Black Co-Ops.

• If you enjoy everything

about wine from the science

to the taste and

you’re looking for some

girlfriends to travel

and sip with, then absolutely

read the article

on Black Girls Do

Wine and contact them.

• Seed keepers is a concept

that we knew nothing

about until we interviewed

Matika Wilbur

back in January. She

mentioned Sierra Seeds

and the work they are doing

around Native seed

conservation and we’ve

been on the lookout for

their director, Rowen

White, every since. If her

words don’t make you

think twice about your

relationship with your

food, then read it twice!

• Last year, our Editor went

to Oktoberfest in Palestine

and she’s been raving

about Taybeh Beer

ever since. We finally

nailed down an opportunity

to talk to this amazing

family. They’re a very

hardworking and tight

family and their success

is quite inspiring.


8th & 9th

By Brian Blake

If you like reggae and wine, you will

be sure to love Linganore Winery’s

signature event aptly named the Reggae,

Wine, Music & Art Festival.

Held tri-annually (Spring/Summer/

Fall), this celebration of good vibes will

take place over two fun-filled days on

October 8th and 9th from 10 a.m. to 6

p.m. If the fall edition is anything like

the summer event that Griots Republic

attended on July 16th & 17th, you

are guaranteed a good time minus the

scorching temperatures.

Live reggae music coupled with food

and wine always present a great

time; as the undertone of the bass

guitar to the chords of the piano

and the beat of the drum will always

connect you to the natural

mystic, flowing through the air.

Linganore also provides guests

with complimentary tours and

tastings; learn about the process

of turning a small yet powerful

fruit into a variety of tastes from

merlot (a dry, full bodied red wine)

to dessert wines (sweeter & fruitier).

The wine at Linganore is sweet

and fruitful and has enough bite

for you to relax and enjoy the music.

In addition to the reggae and wine,

there are a variety of vendors to

indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

From arts & crafts, paintings,

clothing, jewelry and good eats;

there is something for everyone.

Remember it doesn’t cost you to

take a look as you may be surprised

what your eyes behold.

The food is delicious and essential

as your body will need a dampening

agent from all the wine you

drink. From jerk chicken to seafood

to barbeque and many offerings

to satisfy a sweet tooth- you

are sure to obtain a belly full!

With that said, if you are in or

around the area or want to plan

a local getaway, then Linganore’s

Fall Reggae Wine Festival is a must.

See you there!

The Nomadness Travel Tribe is well

underway with finalizing plans for their

2nd Annual #NMDN ALTERnative Travel

Conference to be held Saturday, September 24,

2016, at Punto Event Space in New York City.

#NMDN is the brainchild of Nomadness Travel

Tribe founder, Evita Turquoise Robinson,

and has been dubbed an ALTERnative Travel

Conference to dispel any ideas that this is just

another travel conference. Rather, #NMDN

is an experience that attendees immerse

themselves into. After recognizing a clear lack

of diversity of all kinds amongst existing travel

conferences and expos, Robinson and her

team sought to integrate a broader definition

and demographic of what the current travel

market looks like. Simply put, Robinson saw

important conversations not being had by

major travel brands and created the space for

these conversations on her own terms. Catering

to more than just the casual vacationer, the

one-day conference brings travelers, nomads,

and aspiring expats alike together to explore

travel on a deeper level within the realms of

international art, music, food, beauty, social

justice, entrepreneurship, and more.

Having successfully sold out last year’s

conference, this year’s theme focuses on getting

“Back to the Future: Of Travel” with a push on

bridging the gap of travel generations in order

to learn from the past while “bracing ourselves

and supporting the movers and shakers of the

travel future.”

#NMDN 2016 features an impressive panelist

of millennials and seasoned travelers who have

established themselves as way makers in their

respective industries like Kellee Edwards, On-Air

Travel Expert for FOX5 San Diego, adventurer,

and pilot.

As is the mission of the conference, panelists

will be speaking on a variety of topics that blend

travel, diversity, and creativity as it relates to

addressing concerns and the current needs

of today’s urban millennial traveler. Whether

you want to learn ways to travel smarter and

safer, or you want first hand perspectives on

living abroad as a person of color in a world

where people are searching for a place where

#BlackLivesMatter, the #NMDN Alternative

Travel Conference will have something for you.

The conference will have panels and workshops

covering various topics such as “Travel 911”,

where panelist will discuss the best ways to

prepare for and deal with emergencies abroad

from the perspectives of medical care providers

and from the first-hand experiences of travelers

that have had emergency situations abroad and

lived to share their story.

Another panel, “LGBTQ Travel” is a much needed

conversation moderated by revolutionary and

anti-oppression trainer YK Hong, that will

address the concerns and nuances of traveling

while lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender.

The conference will wrap up with a keynote

panel entitled “Life & Lessons” featuring the

travel wisdom of some of Nomadness’ 50+

aged members who have lived, loved, and


All ticket purchases and conference

information can be found on the #NMDN

website, Follow @

NMDNconference on twitter to stay up to date

on available workshops and featured panelists.


Here’s a taste of some of the panels at the

2016 NMDN conference.


In 2015, nomadness facilitated its first LGBTQ

Nomadnessx trip. We learned that there are so

many nuances to traveling while being apart of

this community. Here we are creating an honest

dialogue on traveling while gay, bisexual, and



What are all the travel hacks that you need to

know. From where to secretly store your money

on the beach, to using all the credit card points you

have to your advantage.


A conversation on black lives, both domestic and

abroad - in the aftermath of numerous police

shootings of Black Americans, and the unique

safety concerns of black travelers, we are featuring

this panel as a forum to facilitate an open, nonjudgmental,

necessary dialogue on the state of

black travelers while home and abroad.


Travel wisdom from our 50+ aged travelers -

it’s not the age. It’s the energy. Nomadness

reveres the wisdom it has from it’s older

traveling members. This panel is a feel good,

no stone unturned, real life conversation with

our ‘tribe wisdom’ as we call them. This panel

is not to be missed

Nestled at the busy intersection of

Constitution Ave and 14th Street in NW

Washington, D.C., there’s a new neighbor

to the variety of Smithsonian museums waiting

to open its doors.

The National Museum of African American

History & Culture (NMAAHC) will take guests on

a journey throughout the nation’s history and

how it shaped Black culture as we recognize it

today. Congress passed legislation during the

Bush administration to establish the museum in

2003. It was originally slated to open in 2015,

but the dedication was delayed until this year.

The museum features an ‘Oprah Winfrey

Theater’ that will host museum programs, a

robust exhibition from Essence Magazine and

contributions from well-known artists and

celebrities including Michael Jackson, Prince,

Nat King Cole, Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington,

Ray Charles, Paul Robeson and more. Visitors

will also get to see the countless contributions

members of the black community have made to

Hollywood and American film. If it all becomes

too overwhelming, guests can take a break

and gaze out of the museum windows at the

Washington Monument and the Smithsonian

Museum campus from the Concourse level.

The museum’s director, Lonnie Bunch, was

inspired to start the museum by his experiences

as a young black boy in a predominately

white neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey,

the state’s largest city. Bunch spent nearly

11 years traveling the country fundraising for

the museum that will have the largest display

of artifacts and contributions from America’s

Black community. When the museum opens

33,000 items will be on display out of about

37,000 collected so far.

As Bunch observed photographs, pictures and

other types of memorabilia to assemble the

museum’s collection, he says he often compared

his own experiences with the racial anxieties he

felt in his less than diverse neighborhood. In his

reflective moods he would often wonder what it

was like for African Americans to live in America

at that time in history, if they were happy and if

they were treated fairly.

Bunch is also hoping that the nascent museum

will be received fairly by the public but knows

that some of its exhibits will be controversial.

Comedian and actor Bill Cosby will have an

exhibit there without detailing his recent

sexual abuse allegations scandal. The museum

will show highlights of President Obama’s

presidency and chronicle the Black Lives Matter

movement into the country’s sociopolitical

narrative. One of the touchier subjects that’s

sure to cause some visitor reaction is how

the museum treats slavery. Bunch says he

documented the experience in a balanced way

that honors those who’ve made sacrifices, yet

does not exploit the often gruesome institution.

Yet, the museum is grounded by slavery,

literally. Guests start their visit below ground

in an exhibit called “Slavery and Freedom.”

Artifacts include an auction block where for

many, was the start of their journey during the

transatlantic slave trade.

The museum has also published a series of

companion books with some of the exhibits

called “Double Exposure” that’s being sold

online. The visually captivating series highlights

some of the challenges and dynamics of

African-American life through photography

while highlighting some of the most prominent

activists, writers, historians and photographers

in modern history. The photographs span from

portraits taken from the pre-Civil War epoch

to modern digital prints. The images capture

scenes from the religious and oral traditions

emanating from Shiloh Baptist Church in

Washington to the Alabama march from Selma

to Montgomery in 1965. The showcased

photographers captured pieces of history that

shaped so much of American culture.

The NMAAHC is the 19th and newest museum

of the Smithsonian family. It officially opens to

the public on September 24th.




Dine Diaspora is a contemporary lifestyle

and events company that creates dynamic

experiences around food, culture, and heritage.

Through intimate gatherings, their

Signature Dinners connect African diaspora

leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators

to grow their networks with like-minded

peers across various sectors while celebrating

the diverse culinary expressions

of the African Diaspora.

Dine Diaspora also offers a speaker series,

Dish and Sip, that provides a platform for

discussion and insight into the lives, experiences,

and impact of global leaders

while enriching connections through food,

culture, and heritage.

The company also provides corporate

event planning services to various companies.

Whether you are hosting a social

event or your next fundraiser, they will work

with you to develop and execute an event

strategy that is tailored to your needs. For

more information, visit

(Bio Taken From Their Website)

Taybeh Brewing Company is a family

owned and operated brewery In Palestine.

Yes, you read that correctly,

Palestine. Taybeh Brewing Company was

created in 1994 in the last Christian village

in the west bank of Palestine. The

founders of the brewery, David Khoury

and Nadim Khoury, were inspired to create

a business in their home village of

Taybeh after living in the United States for

over 20 years. The business they established

is the first brewery in the Middle

East. Their goal was to build and create a

substantial boost to the local economy by

following the German standard of brewing

hand-crafted beers with no preservatives

while creating a nationalistic feeling

of pride in their home land of Palestine. I

had the distinct pleasure of interviewing

one of the trailblazing founders, Nadim


GR: How did the Taybeh Brewing Company

start for you?

NK: I developed a love and interest for

home brewing back in Boston, MA. It was

a hobby that I truly enjoyed and had a passion

for. My brother and I would go back

home to Palestine every year to renew our

Identification and my father wanted us to

come back home permanently. He spoke

about building something here in Palestine

and that was where the idea first


There were no breweries in 1994 when we

started. Not just in Palestine, but nothing

like this in the entire Middle East. We

began brewing and selling dark, amber

and white beers. We also brewed a non-alcoholic

brew for the Muslim population,

since many Muslims don’t drink alcohol

for religious reasons.

The Palestinian Central Bureau

of Statistics estimated that

the Palestinian population of

Muslims makes up approx. 80–

85% (predominantly Sunni).

Consumption of any intoxicants

(specifically, alcoholic beverages)

is strictly forbidden in the Muslim

teachings of the Qur’an.

GR: With all these predominantly religious

factors opposing alcohol consumption,

were you fearfull of the reaction of

other Palestinians?

NK: It wasn’t very easy and we faced many

obstacles, but our goal was always to make

a change. A change in our community, to

build tourism, to build a sustainable business

and to change the world’s perception

of Palestine and its people. People don’t

believe that Taybeh beer, brewed in Palestine,

could be as good or better than other

beers of the world, due to people only seeing

negative images, violence, bombings

and uprisings when the news reports on

Palestine. We are trying to change this and

show the world we live in peace with our

neighbors. We are humans, we have the

right to enjoy life, supply our needs and

celebrate the freedom of Palestine.

GR: To what do you owe the credit or motivation

to do what most people thought

was an impossible undertaking of building

a brewery in Palestine?

NK: I credit my father. He worked in the

travel and tourism industry. In Palestine,

it’s customary for a son to follow the father’s

trade - like if your father was a carpenter

you would become a carpenter to

continue his business and maintain his clients.

When I decided to open a brewery

and brew beer, my father supported me

because in his years in the travel industry,

he had seen business travelers and other

types of tourist partake in drinking at

meetings and for recreation. He saw it as

a way to bring interest and boost tourism

here in Palestine. My father had a strong

work ethic and I run a tight ship because

of his example. I hope my children pass

that on to their families.

GR: There have been a number of breweries

that have been created in your region

and followed the path that you have laid.

How do you feel about these new breweries?

NK: I feel that it is great for our company

and the beer culture of Palestine as

a whole. More consumers are becoming

educated in what beer can be. I support

healthy competition in business and if

people can be successful creating a larger

group of tastemakers and craft beer enthusiasts,

I feel that it can only benefit us


GR: Many of the ingredients common to

eer production are not indigenous to Palestine.

How do you obtain the ingredients

necessary to make Taybeh Beer?

NK: Many of the ingredients that we use

in our beer brewing are imported from

Europe. We only want and use the best

ingredients available to us to create the

best beers possible. We take pride in using

Palestinian wheat and many natural Palestinian

ingredients from the surrounding

areas, which give Taybeh Beer its distinct

flavor and notes.

GR: Taybeh is a family owned and operated

business. How does working closely

with your family differ from working for

someone else?

NK: It can be hard at times, but they care

more about the company because it is truly

ours. I am so very proud of my children.

My daughter, Madees Khoury, is the first

and only female brewer in Palestine and

my son, Canaan Khoury, manages the boutique

winery division of Taybeh. My brother’s

daughter manages our green, energy

efficient hotel which is the first of its kind

in Palestine and we are very proud of it.

We work hard and we work together as a


GR; Why is Taybeh branching into such a

different market like wine production?

NK: The demand for wine is very high and

we answered this demand with creating

the first boutique winery in Palestine. Palestine

is home to 21 different varieties of

grapes that have never been used in mass

wine production, so the decision to start

this market was clear. Building the identity

of Palestine’s wine and beer culture, using

quality ingredients that are natural to our

region, was something that was undeniable

and had to be done.

GR: Taybeh also hosts a large beer festival.

Why did you bring Oktoberfest to Palestine?

NK: Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the

world, so why not in Palestine? I worked

with my brother who was the mayor of Ty-

ee, to put together a true Oktoberfest for

the people to enjoy and celebrate beer and

beer culture.

Two years ago we had to cancel due to a

number of issues, but the festival is back

and bigger than ever. We have a goal and

will not be deterred from it. Oktoberfest

is the #1 festival in Palestine. This year

the festival will be held September 24th

through the 25th, but will still be an amazing


GR: What are the core goals of Taybeh as

a brand?

NK: To continue to increase tourism to Palestine

and the Taybeh area. To continue to

educate consumers worldwide. To make

great beer in many varieties like our very

popular brew created with oranges from

the world’s oldest city, Jericho. To ultimately

share products all over for the world to


GR: What is something you would like the

world to know or take away from Taybeh,

whether it be drinking one of your beers

or visiting your location?

NK: Palestinians are normal people. We

make our own way. We make good beer. We

celebrate our freedom and share peace in

developing the entire country.

GR: What’s next for Taybeh Brewing?

NK: We are enthusiastic to continue creating

quality products that represent Palestine

and its people in a positive manner. We

are looking into opening Palestine’s first liquor

distillery, adding to the Taybeh portfolio

and producing many different types

of spirts like vodka, rum and whiskey to

name a few.

Taybeh Brewing is an exceptional company.

The fine quality of beer and wine that

they create is something that should not

be overlooked. It is definitely a must try

for the novice enthusiast to connoisseurs

alike. The only thing that can over shadow

the quality of the extensive line of Taybeh

products they create, is the true emotional

connection and philanthropic drive they

have to do better and build more, leaving

a lasting legacy for the people of Palestine

and the world.

For more information about the Brewery,

check out their website at taybehbeer.


Bruce “Blue” Rivera, The Urban Mixologist,

is an accomplished mixologist with over

16 years of bartending, wine and spirits

experience. Boasting an impressive resume

that spans across 12 countries with many

award winning cocktail recipes to his credit,

Bruce “Blue” Rivera teaches the history and

cultural application of bartending and has

been featured on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue and

the Wendy Williams Show, to name a few.

To learn more about The Urban Mixologist

check out

As a teenager, Rowen White accidentally

stumbled onto a job that would light a

fire in her powerful enough to brighten

any room she stepped into.

On an organic farm at 17, she was shocked to

learn that heirloom tomatoes came in multiple

varieties; she found it even more profound

that each variety could be traced to a particular

tribe of people, a lineage of caretakers,

and the stories of deep relationships between

these seed keepers and the Earth over generations.

Today, Rowen is the Director and Founder of

Sierra Seeds where she focuses on reviving

indigenous agricultural practices among communities

affected by long histories of displacement,

colonization, and forced acculturation.

“Every bite we eat traces back to a seed.” You

might be familiar with the term ‘farm to table’,

but Rowen is dedicating her life’s work to

rediscovering the journeys of seed(s) to table.

Cultivating seeds requires able bodied hands,

a deep knowledge of what conditions are

needed to optimally grow the plant, and then

a tender tilling and gathering process before

the food is ready for preparation and consumption.

Cultivating foods is not easy even

with the industrial agricultural methods of

our time. For Rowen, to know the ways her

food comes to be is to know her people. “People

from all over descended from people who

were seed keepers at some point. Seeds are

an intimate part of everyday life.”

Growing up, her parents bought food from the

grocery store like everyone else on the reservation

where she grew up. With no awareness

about where food came from, nor an understanding

of the ways in which food and agricultural

traditions embodied the wisdom of

her people, Rowen was aggrieved to find she

was a Mohawk woman without a connection

to this “cultural bundle of knowledge” as she

called it.

Discovering these foodways for herself and

then creating immersive educational pro-

gramming for others to do the same is one

way that Sierra Seeds is helping to accelerate

the movement for food sovereignty across Indian


By reclaiming ancestral ways of connecting

with food, Mother Earth, and community, Rowen’s

work is a kind of radical protest against

generations of whitewashing that have separated

many Native American communities

from the ways of their ancestors. “When you

consider what’s happening across the globe

with multi-national corporations and patenting,

planting and growing your own seed is a

form of activism.” She’s referring to the industrialization

of our entire food system, including

the patenting of genetically modified

seed varieties that farmers all over the world

have taken to cultivating and subsequently

abandoning organic and naturally occurring


Some of these varieties have cultural and spiritual

significance to indigenous people like

Rowen’s who utilize several types of corn for

different ceremonies and rituals for example.

“To many indigenous communities, seeds are

a relative. Certain corn for certain ceremonies.

If we lose them and the ability to steward and

care for them, we lose part of ourselves.” By

conserving various seed varieties and continuing

to harvest them outside of the industrial

food system, tribal communities can ensure

the survival of crops that play a central role in

their lives.

“Every seed you plant is a tiny prayer of love,

action, and hope for the future.” Rowen speaks

about the relationship between humans and

the places we inhabit with such compelling

depth and seriousness that you are likely to

ponder about your own ancestors’ ways of relating

to food and the life-source that is Earth.

Rowen is assertive in her conviction that today’s

seeds hold the wisdom of the past, of

the struggle for growth, and the gift of life.

To her, seeds represent a profound and resilient

hope. In a world of war, oppression, and

Trump, gardening is both a coping mechanism

and an act of resilience. “It is a way to connect

with the benevolence of Mother Earth who is

always giving to us time and time again.”

It is indeed remarkable that indigenous communities

all over the world have been cultivating

food on the same lands as their ancestors,

utilizing methods passed down for generations.

This sustained stewardship of natural

resources over time requires resilience in the

face of shifting weather and climate conditions.

“The wisdom those traditional communities

have to offer us about cultivating in climate

change is a gift to the planet in the face

of extreme weather shift. We’re going to need

to look to the indigenous communities of the


Rowen is currently writing a book about her

journey to discover the seed songs of her people.

Her story is not unlike many others who

have ever wondered about the ways and traditions

of our ancestors. For many Americans of

color, we would not know where to begin the

journey of finding answers. To that she would

advise that you begin with thinking about the

foods your ancestors would have eaten. Think

about the pervasive health problems we have

in this country and reflect on how your diet is

a departure from what was normal to eat hundreds

of years ago.

Think about where you live and the access you

have or lack to staple ancestral foods. Find opportunities

to connect with the source of your

food as it will undoubtedly give you a deeper

appreciation for what it took for that food to

arrive on your plate. And finally, when you’re

short on hope and inspiration, find time to

plant and be among the abundant gifts of life

sprouting from the ground all around you.

Tiffany Em is a trained dancer

currently studying international

urban planning and development

at the Massachusetts Institute

of Technology. To combine her

love for travel, culture, and social

justice she began writing about

urban development, curiosity, and

tourism on her personal blog www. She

hopes to one-day work with artists,

businesses, and local residents

to develop sustainable tourism

enterprises around the world, but

especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The idea that you can dig a hole in

the earth and make it to the other

side has been theorized by many,

but what if you found out that that was

actually possible? No, you can’t tunnel

your way to your destination, but you

can dig, pull weeds, sow seeds, plant,

garden, and more in exchange for a

place to stay, meals, and a knowledgeable

guide to all of the best kept secrets

in your dream travel destination.

This was possible for Brie Johnson,

who was able to work and live in three

countries through her involvement in a

program called, “World Wide Opportunities

On Organic Farms” also known

as WWOOF. The organization which

was originally called “Working Weekends

On Organic Farms,” was started

in 1971 by Sue Coppard, a secretary

in London who was looking for a way

to see the countryside and participate

in the organic movement. She was able

to find a farm willing to host her in

exchange for labor. Soon, the organic

farmers became interested in the concept

of providing accommodations to

others in exchange for a few hours of

work during their stay.

The organization has grown into farmers

in several countries all over the

world. WWOOF allows for farmers,

and perspective volunteers (WWOOFers)

to connect. The length of a volunteer’s

stay on a farm is determined

by the volunteer and the farmer, and

can last a few days or several months.

Though the cost of living is provided

by the host, volunteers are responsible

for a small membership fee, their

visas as needed, and travel expenses

to and from the host country. Many,

consider it a small price to pay for the

experience, the chance to learn new

skills, and be of assistance to those

who are committed to producing organic

foods. In addition to traditional

farms, WWOOFers can also choose to

volunteer at locations that make wine,

cheese, and bread.

Brie’s first WWOOFing experience allowed

her to assist organic farmers in Japan. Her

decision to become a WWOOFer came from

her interest in being more fluent in Japanese.

The icing on the cake was that she

would be able to make a positive impact on

the country while immersing herself in the

culture. After three months in Japan volunteering

on a rice farm, a strawberry farm,

and a bathhouse, Brie was able to communicate

with Japanese natives without the help

of a translator.

After Japan, Brie spent time WWOOFing on

a traditional farm for three weeks in France,

and a garden for two weeks in a temple in

India. In France, her tasks included tending

to the animals. She milked cows, collected

eggs, groomed the horses, and “chased

down chickens.” In India, Brie worked in a

small garden that was used to support the

hosts, the temple, and was also a source for

their personal food. Her host family helped

her to turn her self-described “black thumb,”

a tad bit greener.

Brie returned back to the states after volunteering

with more than just a firmer grasp

on a language she was interested in. Her experience

allowed for growth in both her personality,

and her palate and cooking skills.

As a “terrible cook,” she made a conscious

effort to learn her way around the kitchen.

Her host in India made it a personal mission

to teach her how to cook in order to “get a

husband.” Of course she was happy for the

lessons for the purpose of being able to feed

herself better home cooked meals, but she

now proudly lists on her dating profile that

she can cook. Her skills came in handy on

a recent date, though according to Brie, the

Indian spices may have been a bit much for


The opportunity to grow her own food

changed her eating habits and naturally, her

shopping habits as well. Brie now frequents

farmer’s markets for her food, only visiting

grocery stores for items she can’t find at the

market. An international market she loves

to visit, allows her to continue to make the

foods she grew to love abroad, which include

almost every variation of rice due to her time

in Japan, and spicy food recipes she learned

in India. “You learn the impact of shopping

with smaller farmers as most of them are

struggling and being pushed out by bigger

farms that may use other unknown methods

to grow their food.” She goes on to say, “It

makes me feel good knowing that I’m buying

food from people who feed the same things

to their families.”

She recalled that her own experience accompanying

her host in India to the farmer’s

market to sell the extra vegetables they

grew at the temple, helped her understand

the industry, but also helped her to understand

more about herself. “It was quite competitive.

We had to get in people’s faces in

order for them to buy the food, which was

the opposite of my personality.” Also, being

an African American in another country with

a “curly afro” meant that she couldn’t necessarily

hide as she could do more easily at

home. In many of the small areas where she

stayed the people have not met many people

who looked like her. Not being able to hide

helped her to assert herself more at home.

Though WWOOFing allows travelers to

stay in non-traditional spaces while

they visit other countries, it is not

to be confused with Airbnb or similar

companies. As Brie explains, “If

you are looking to get into it, make

sure your letter to prospective hosts

describes who you are, your skills,

highlights why you want to WWOOF,

and states that you are a hard worker.”

Brie goes on to stress that “they

are looking for someone who is hardworking,

and not just looking for a vacation.”

WWOOFing is ideal for those that

would like to become a part of the

culture in the countries they visit.

They can literally get their hands

dirty, and get knee deep into the

foundation of each land they choose

to visit. For foodies, the opportunity

to help cultivate food takes the term

“organic food” to another level. Brie’s

future plans to WWOOF may include

visits to New Zealand, Australia, and

some countries in Africa including


Also, learning how to communicate in places

where she spoke little of the language

helped her to be able to better express her


To get more information on WWOOFing,

visit and follow them on

Instagram at @wwoof.

Simone Waugh is a writer prone to wanderlust.

A city girl with Brooklyn in her

heart and Paris on the brain. Crossing

potholes, puddles, and ponds while planning

to cross more oceans. You can find

her riding shotgun on frequent road

trips ignoring the GPS and hogging the

radio. Follow her adventures across the

keyboard and the eventually the world

on Instagram and Twitter @MoniWaugh.

“Chef Ahki”, CEO of Delicious Indigenous

Foods is a celebrity chef, natural foods activist

and nutritional counselor. Raised by four

generations of medicine women in her native

Oklahoma, Ahki uses seasonal, organic,

fresh (non-hybrid) fruits and vegetables

to create living, healthy recipes designed to

heal bodies and enhance lives. From vegans

to health nuts and budget moms to foodies,

her message of non-hybrid and electric

foods is a way of life.

Her brand is the new voice of the young generation

who is f’n pissed at big agricultue

and its mono-cropping frenzy, science lab

food and GMO corporate food tyranny all

resulting in an obese, sick and nearly dead

generation of parents who outlive their own


Chef Ahki’s latest cook book, “Electric!,

A Modern Guide to Non-Hybrid and Wild

Foods” is why celebrities like Lenny Kravitz,

Bradley Cooper, Curtis Martin, COMMON,

Waka Flocka, and Lee Daniels fell in love

with Ahki’s cooking. For more information


(Bio taken from her website and Facebook


By Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District

Lincoln Park Music Festival’s organizer,

world traveler, and “house-head”

extraordinaire Anthony Smith makes

sure it is no secret that Lincoln Park is

the mother of all music festivals in New

Jersey and it has spawned other festivals

not only across Jersey but, across the


Having worked in the trenches of the

then budding Essence Music Festival

years ago, Anthony took his learnings and

experience and began to formulate a plan

not only to bring the music to a revitalized

Newark, New Jersey crowd, but to create

an event that would drive people to travel

from across the globe to visit, stay, shop

and of course party in the city where he

grew up, went to school, partied and still

calls home.

Anthony cant help but take pride in seeing

his model emulated, even duplicated in

sister events in Mexico and Florida (and

even Europe).There is the annual Miami

House Music Festival, which has grown to

a week-long event, and now there is the

ever growing Mi Casa in Playa del Carmen.

He knows he is on to something and also

knows the best is yet to come.

Funny enough, the very first Lincoln Park

Music Festival looked nothing like it does

today. In 2006, Newark hosted it’s first Hip

Hop/Punk Rock Festival in Lincoln Park .

Today, it has become a three-day music

festival consisting of jazz, gospel, and

house. While a fan of all genres of music,

The history of

Lincoln Park Music

Festival’s iconic

House Music Day

[...] cannot be told

without talking about

the lendenary Club


house is where his heart is. Of the average

60,000 attendees that congregate over a

3-day weekend, nearly half descend on

the South end of downtown’s Newark’s

Broad Street for House Music Day.

The history of Lincoln Park Music

Festival’s iconic House Music Day,

typically held on the last Saturday in July,

cannot be told without talking about the

lendenary Club Zanzibar. Most recently,

at a pop up photography exhibit entitled

“Lincoln Park Music Festival: Decade

One” at City Without Walls Gallery, it was

imperative that a section was dedicated

to this iconic venue for house music.

In the 2nd year, the festival opened with

a reception and photo exhibition entitled

“Music Speaks: A Celebration of Spirit and

Dance”, which documented performances

featured at Newark’s legendary Club

Zanzibar. Photographs included Phyllis

Hyman, Eddie Kendrick’s, Grace Jones

with Loleatta Holloway, Sylvester and

numerous others photographed by

Vincent Bryant, author of Unforgiveable

Moments - A Journey Through the House:

Photo Memoirs of Club Zanzibar.

“It was great to collaborate with Lincoln

Park Coast Cultural District on this

great exhibit which accurately depicts

the origins of House Music Day. It

was without question that we added a

section entitled ‘Where It All Began: Club

Zanzibar’. We are always excited to bring

more art and culture to the community,

and be historically accurate.” states Malik

Whitaker, Interim Gallery Director at City

Without Walls.

Club Zanzibar, which closed in the early

90’s, was known for their impeccable

Richard Long sound system and as a

place where the who’s who in the NJ scene

and metropolitan area would flock to hear

the latest sounds and groundbreaking

artists in an unplugged atmosphere. The

luminaries who attended the club each

week were social change agents using the

mediums of music, art and fashion to

shape popular culture.

Dubbed the “New Jersey version” or

“sister club” to NYC’s Paradise Garage

where the resident and legendary DJ

Larry Levan played and was featured on

selected Wednesday nights, it had one of

the best DJ rosters in the region including

DJ Tony Humphries, Larry Patterson,

T-Scott, Hippie Torrales, Françios K. and

more. The pulse of Club Zanzibar runs

straight into Lincoln Park with many of

the DJs, performers, record producers

and attendees who bless the Lincoln Park

Music Festival’s outdoor sanctuary on

House Day.

In fact, Miles Berger, the former owner of

Club Zanzibar, is still a supporter of LPMF

as was the late Shelton Hayes, former

manager at the club and the original host

of the House Music day in Lincoln Park.

There are so many griots still around

like Larky Rucker, Carolyn Byrd, Abigail

Adams, Gerald T, Merlon Bob and Darryl

Rochester, to name a few, who can share

their experience of this incredible time in

the history of Newark. This is just a snap

shot of the evolving rich story that helped

shape and mold the culture of Newark


The main stage on Festival Saturday

has become the “Holy Mecca” for house

music. With so many DJs clamoring to

rock the 30,000+ crowd, festival executive

producer Anthony Smith says its makes

decisions very difficult.

“We look to book local, regional and

internationally known artists and DJs

who are a direct reflection of the artistry

that graced the stage and played at

the club during its tenure as an iconic,

transformative place that launched many

careers in music, fashion and the arts,”

states Smith.

Additionally, the legendary Lincoln Park

Music Festival House Music Day has been

captured in the documentary “Hands To

The Sky” by Domingo Canate, which is a

film about the DJs, musicians, fans and

feelings inspired by outdoor house music

dance parties.

“With so many looking at our festival and

House Day as great content, LPCCD is

taking the lead and will be producing its

own documentary project that will capture

not only House Music Day, but the entire

festival to include jazz, gospel, hip-hop

and the history of Lincoln Park within the

context of Newark, New Jersey’s history,”

states Smith.

“Moreover, we will use our now iconic

stage as a vehicle to showcase artists,

DJs and live musicians that represent the

entire African Diaspora and this creative

placemaking tool to shape the historical

Lincoln Park area and the future of arts

and culture in Newark.”

We daresay that adventure and not variety

is the spice of life. In other words,

adventure; that feeling of doing the

unusual and the daring, is the special ingredient

with the potential to enrich our overall

quality of life. Adventure is to life what spice

is to food.

The willingness to experience life’s adventures

does not always translate into openness towards

trying new foods. There are people who

would happily go bungee jumping but whose

culinary experiences remain restricted to the

safety of what they are used to. There is one

potential solution to this unenthusiastic attitude

towards food adventurism. Spices! Spices

have the ability to open the mind (as well

as the palate of course) to new culinary experiences.

In a sense, learning to use spices (fresh or

dried) in cooking helps to challenge and expand

our cultural boundaries while providing

a richer culinary experience. A savory meal of

pulao rice cooked with cinnamon sticks, cumin,

cloves, and black cardamom will transport

even the most hesitant to the vast tea plantations

of Nuwara Eliya or the windy beaches of

Negombo, Sri Lanka.

The ability of spices to extend and expand cultural

and culinary boundaries dates back to

the origins of the spice trade itself. The global

spice trade was once a backdrop for many

historical encounters including the revelation

of many ancient civilizations to Europeans by

Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama

and Ferdinand Magellan. At different points in

history, the utility of spices for flavouring, food

preservation, medicine and fashion increased

their commodity value beyond that of gold.

From the overland Silk Road to the Ocean Spice

Trade routes, the struggle for their control was

often a key driver for changes in the balance in

world trade and a factor in the establishment

and decimation of empires. It was once said

that “He who is lord of Malacca (an ancient

Malaysian spice trade hub) has his hand on

the throat of Venice.”

With many of the world’s most famous spices

long associated with nations and territories

around Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the

very mention of spices conjures the image of

the exotic. For example Zanzibar, an island

state off the coast of East Africa, was once the

world’s leading producer of cloves. Other examples

include nutmeg (Banda Islands, Indonesia),

saffron (Iran) and black pepper (Malabar,

South India).

There are many islands in the world that bear

the title ‘Spice Island’. Of particular interest

is Sri Lanka. Until recently, Sri Lanka was little

more than a transit stop for travellers to the luxurious

islands of the Maldives. Formerly known

as Ceylon and located in South Asia, this Indian

Ocean island nation has for many generations

lived in the shadow of India, her economically

stronger, north westerly neighbor.

Now peaceful, after emerging from a thirty year

civil war that ended in 2009, the government

of Sri Lanka is looking to rebuild and modernize

the economy. However, with technology,

tourism and large infrastructure development

projects being the main economic policy focus

of the current government in Colombo, Sri

Lanka’s spice industry, the tenth largest in the

world, has somewhat taken a backseat.

Notwithstanding, Sri Lanka remains a significant

contributor to the global spice market.

Her rich soil and agreeable climate allow spices

such as cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cardamoms,

nutmeg, mace and vanilla to thrive across the

island. According to the Sri Lanka Export Development

Board, as of 2016, approximately

56% of Sri Lankan agricultural exports consist

of spices with cinnamon being the largest.

Regardless of the debatable contribution of

spices to Sri Lanka’s export economy, the more

significant discussion surrounds their impact

to Sri Lankan cuisine and food adventurism.

Apart from the surfing, wildlife and history, no

visit to Sri Lanka is complete without a visit to

a local spice farm. As she rebuilds her economy,

Sri Lanka is proving to be the place where

food and adventure collide to provide a sensory


Sri Lankan food itself consists of staples such

as curry powder, rice, rice flour, flatbreads and

coconut milk and draws influences from Sri

Lanka’s historical South Indian, Portuguese,

Dutch, Arabic and British interactions. Compared

to the more globally famous North Indian

cuisine, Sri Lankan cuisine is lighter and

combines complex yet complementary flavors

thanks to the generous use of herbs and spices.

British author, traveller and Chef Jon Lewin in

his extraordinary book titled: The Locals Cookbook,

features vibrant recipes which he learned

and developed during his extensive travels

across Sri Lanka. He says that at first, he found

the sheer amount of spices in the dishes to be

an assault on the senses but soon, his taste

buds adapted. That process of adaptation

birthed his love affair with Sri Lankan cuisine, a

passion exemplified in his do it yourself, twelve

spice roasted curry powder recipe. This recipe

is an adventurous and hedonistic mix which

includes ground coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek,

cardamom, mustard, peppercorns,

cloves, cinnamon, chillies, dried curry leaves

and lemongrass!

When it comes to food, our tastes and preferences

are shaped by what we know and what

society conditions us to accept as ‘normal’.

However, true adventurers constantly test their

limits. Spices provide a platform for creative

expression through food. In the process, our

senses are applied and indulged, and instinct

is called upon.

Perhaps through spices and food adventurism,

we can not only build bridges between cultures

but also push our self imposed limits and in the

process, add variety to our lives. Indeed what

would life be without adventure, and what would

food be without spice?

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London

based freelance writers, photographers

and content creators. They run the UK

award-winning travel, food, and lifestyle

blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).

Their life experience combines careers

in technology, education and dance with

their personal experience of living and

working across three continents: Africa,

America and Europe. In their spare

time, they enjoy spending time with

family and feeding their curiosity with

culture, music, art and soul food.

Seeing the headlines demonize

‘soul food,’ I am on a mission

that reclaims the health and

spirit of our culture of the ‘original

soul food’, which is the African heritage

diet. The western or standard

American diet has failed the African

diaspora community resulting in diet-related

diseases and premature

death, which is now robbing our youth

of vitality. For example, the U. S. Office

of Minority Health reports the death

rate for African Americans was higher

than Whites for diet-related diseases

in 2009. Heart disease over homicide

is the number one killer of African

American women. Oldways Preservation

Trust reports people live better

with traditional foods and culture.

By growing up in an African diasporan

household, I recognized that the

African American community, like its

food, is not monolithic. I met a woman

from Cameroon who shared how a

caucasian dietitian didn’t know how

to educate her grandmother on how

to modify her African foods to become

compliant with a diabetic diet. That’s

why since 2012 NativSol has offered

community based nutrition and cooking

classes, Pan African catering, lectures

and workshops in America and

Africa for more than 2,000 people.

Since taking the African Ancestry DNA

test in 2010, I began my journey to

trace my African heritage through

food and travel. This summer I returned

from Nigeria where I lectured

and learned about my Fulani heritage

and its foodways of northern Nigeria.

The foods I share, such as the baobab

and hibiscus, can be found in northern

Nigeria and are part of contemporary

life in Africa.


Travel to any open-air market from west,

north to east Africa and you are sure to

find dried or fresh roselle (a hibiscus

flower) ready to prepare a classic tropical

sipping sensation, hibiscus tea.

Quenching the thirst of many Africans,

the West African native roselle is a show

stopper compared to the market’s newcomer—soda.

range of flavors from garlic, ginger to

cloves to this healing elixir.

Beyond beverage brewing, the flower,

its stems and leaves are used for salad

making among Nigeria’s Hausa community.

Also in some parts of Africa,

the oil-containing seeds are eaten.

In Nigeria, it’s called Zobo. In Ghana, it’s

called Sobolo. In the Gambia, it’s called

wanjo. It’s known as Dabileni in Mali. In

Cote d’Ivoire, it’s known as Bissap and

in Egypt and Sudan, it’s known as Karkade

and in the Caribbean, it’s known as

Sorrel or agua de flor de Jamaica. How

did the roselle (known as sorrel in the

Caribbean) get to the Caribbean and

South America? Historians believe the

seeds may have been brought by slaves

taken from Africa.

Called by many names, this delicious

drink from the ruby red roselle’s color

gives a clue to the heart health benefit

it shares with other naturally red plants.

Drinking hibiscus tea daily has been

found to lower blood pressure in people

with hypertension, according to a U.S.

research study. The beautiful dark red

colorful hibiscus is packed with anthocyanins

(a type of flavonoid) which have

many health benefits like fighting colds

and flus.

Packed with the cancer-fighting antioxidants,

Vitamin C and other minerals,

the hibiscus drink can be sweetened

naturally with fruits like pineapple, watermelon

or strawberries. Want to make

a symphony in your mouth? Then add a

Whether it’s a hot day in Cairo or a chill

day in Accra, you can drink hibiscus tea

hot or cold. Unlike hibiscus, dehydrating

soft drinks have no nutritional value

to offer while robbing calcium from

your bones. So in countries already

facing malnutrition, soft drinks are the

last thing to reach for in hydrating your




Calling Africa its native home, the baobab

is the ‘baba’ of trees giving life to

all and can be found in 32 African countries.

Like an old healer, the baobab

is at the heart of traditional remedies.

Also it can live long in age, up to 5,000

years; so we call it ‘baba.’

From South Africa, Madagascar, Nigeria,

to Burkina Faso, the sacred tree

stretches across Africa’s sub-Saharan

arid savanna. Serving as a meeting

place in villages, it holds a spiritual

reverence among the people; therefore

many people and animals choose to

live near the tree. Beyond that, did you

know the baobab tree is a high quality

source of nutrition?

The raw ‘monkey bread fruit’ of the baobab

is incredibly good for you and is an

excellent source of vitamin C, calcium,

potassium, thiamin, fiber and vitamin

B6. The fruit has one of the highest antioxidant

capacities of any in the world,

with more than double the antioxidants

per gram of goji berries and more than

blueberries and pomegranates combined.

The many uses of baobab range from

sprinkling it in your oatmeal and yogurt

to all manner of tasty treats. From

sauces, smoothies to seltzers, baobab

is the go-to super fruit for flavor filled

nutrition. Want a little flavor to your

sparkling water? Swap out sugar for

a teaspoon of baobab powder in your

next cup.

No lemon or vinegar? That’s fine, we got

baobab. For tangy flavor in your sauces,

a scoop of baobab better adds a citrus

kick. For smoothie season, blend mango

and pineapple with two scoops of

baobab powder with coconut water.

Honored as the 2014 “National Geographic

Traveler Magazine’s Traveler of the Year” and

“Nutrition Hero” by Food & Nutrition Magazine,

Tambra Raye Stevenson is an inspiring speaker

and nutrition justice advocate leading a new

initiative called WANDA: Women Advancing

Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture to inspire

a new generation of women and girls to lead

the farm to fork movement in Africa and

the Diaspora. Before WANDA, she founded

NativSol Kitchen with a mission of reclaiming

our health through African heritage foods.

Learn more at and iamwanda.

org. Facebook\Twitter: @iamwandaorg @

nativsol @tambraraye


A marketing executive who has worked

at notable media companies for over

10 years, such as Pandora Radio, ES-

SENCE Magazine, Complex, VIBE and

Rondel is currently Co-CEO of Creative

Genius Branding, a boutique marketing

and branding firm that specializes

in non-profit, small business and entertainment


Business and pleasure have provided

Rondel the opportunity to travel frequently

both domestically and internationally,

often dining out and opting for

the “local” approach to travel versus

being a tourist – making many friends

along the way.

In 2012, Rondel started sharing his

travel and foodie experiences on his

blog, Soul Society 101, and continues

to travel, try new recipes at home and

taste new cuisines and cocktails while

dining out. For more information, visit

(Bio taken from website)



good deal of my travels in

Southeast Asia involved eating

with strangers. Often times

there were two to three people who

came to sit or I came to sit with at

tables in various eating arenas. This

concept does not seem bizarre, until

you think about how the US and

many other Western countries tend

to isolate ourselves in individualism

or take up a table for three with one

person. Southeast Asia has no guidelines

in that sense. Instead, eating

becomes a community event in which

anyone can partake in and meet a

new friend.

Within the tourism baby of Myanmar,

I was able to have a seat at a variety

of food market stalls that had random

people already eating at them.

One of these instances, I sat down

for a bowl of mohinga with the serving

lady and a stranger. I didn’t know

any Burmese and no one knew any

English, but the stranger, the lady

chef and I all knew mohinga.

As I began to eat, the stranger gesticulated

how to eat the delicious mohinga

and the chef knew what to do

for payment when I was done with my

meal. Thismoment of community eating

would occur in Vietnam, Cambodia,

Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong,

Thailand and Indonesia.

I began to relish having a meal with

people I didn’t know. Sometimes they

had conversations with me or simply

educated me on the manners of eating

in their countries. For instance,

the Malays would demonstrate how

to eat food with your hands instead

of utensils. They discussed how this

enabled sharing amongst families,

friends and communities who could

all enjoy each other’s food.

In the case of Cambodia, students

would go home to enjoy their lunches

with their families instead of having

a quick cafeteria meal. Even people

who were visiting from another country

in the region would be welcoming

and inviting. This was most apparent

when two Hong Kong women had

zero issues sitting with me in Chiang

Mai for a bowl of khao soi. As such,

my Blackness was not seen as fearful

to the people of this region, it was a


How can

we have a


of food if

we don’t

even take

the time to

enjoy it?

and their


came from

me being a

solo traveler.

People had

no qualms

over this

racial difference

and sat

next to me


there was a

free seat or

ignored me because they had to get

somewhere. Southeast Asia is a community

and that means you follow the

ebb and flow of it whether you are

from their culture or not.

By the time I got to Hong Kong, this

phenomenon began to push me to eat

slower and enjoy my food as well. We

frequently rush to have quick lunches

or eat our food while walking instead

of sitting and talking with the community

around us as we enjoy a good

meal. There were even occasions

where I ate with languor on purpose,

as being in the community mattered

more than the rest of my agenda.

These moments enhanced my immersion

in Southeast Asian culture, as

eventually someone would say “hello”

whether they knew English or not.

The idea of eating as a community is

lost in America. We all want our slices

of the pie instead of sharing. This

ends up highlighting the culture of

our country, in how we often want to

always do our own work without help.

By contrast, Southeast Asia’s culture

of enjoying the people who are breaking

bread with you harkens back to an

American past that has been long lost

in our haste to Instagram a picture of

our meal before we eat it. How can

we have a culture of food if we don’t

even take the time to enjoy it?

As with many of the lessons I learned

on this Southeast Asia trip, I hope

that those of us in the US can take

the time to truly respect food and be

comfortable in letting new people sit

at our table who want to enjoy eating

as much as we do.

Mike Haynes-Pitts is

the writer and blogger


a blog

providing education

in financial literacy,

mentorship, tutoring,

cinematography, and

solo travel.

Follow him and his

travels on instagram




An interview with Jessica Gordon Nembhard

By Beverly Bell and Natalie Miller

Interview Originally Published by




Black cooperative history closely parallels the

larger African-American civil rights and Black

Liberation movements. After more than 10

years of research, I’ve found that in pretty much

all of the places where Blacks were trying to assert

their civil rights, their independence, their human

rights, they also were either practicing or talking

about the need to utilize cooperative economics in

one form or another.

Asa Philip


I’ve put together a continuous record of collective

economics and economic cooperation [practiced

by U.S. Black people] from the 1600s to the 21st

century. They span informal pooling of money to

more formalized mutual aid societies and other

kinds of economic collective relationships, to what

we would now call actual cooperative businesses.

Initially, people pooled resources to buy each other’s

freedom when we were enslaved. This was simple,

but meaningful, as we didn’t own ourselves.

Most people didn’t have a way to earn money, but

sometimes there were skilled laborers who were

allowed to earn a little extra money on a Sunday.

We have some records and some testimony of African-Americans

who talk about saving that money

– first buying themselves, then buying other family

members, or contributing to helping someone buy

themselves. Enslaved African Americans also gardened

together on small plots of land in the slave

quarters to add fresh vegetables to their meager


Booker T.


After this, we became much more formal with mutual

aid societies, which are some of the earliest

independent Black organizations. The first Black

mutual aid society started in Newport, Rhode Island

in 1780. Then, the Free African Society in

Philadelphia – the same group that started the African

Methodist Episcopal Church – was formed in

1787 as a mutual aid society.

The earliest cases usually started with burial mutual

aid. Enslaved, even freed people, can’t often

afford to bury their dead. The African American

community revered their dead as joining the

ancestors, and needed to properly bury them.

With a mutual aid society everybody puts in a

small amount per year and then there is a pool

of money. When somebody died in your family,

you could go to your mutual aid society and

they would cover the burial. The second type

of beneficiaries of mutual aid societies were

widows and orphans; and then all kinds of other


A lot of the fraternal organizations (brotherhood

and sisterhood societies such as Masons,

fraternities and sororities) and

churches either sponsored

mutual aid societies or developed

out of mutual aid societies.

Many of the early social,

political, and community activities

during enslavement

were all connected in this way

- sharing resources to do the

things that would make you

human. At a time when people

were enslaved and dehumanized

in every other way, these

were ways that they worked

together to have the money

that would allow them not just

to survive, but also to assert

their humanity.

Another interesting connection

with mutual aid societies

is that they were places/spaces

where Black women were

able to have leadership. By the early 1800s,

most of the mutual aid societies were started

and run by women. This leadership was then

able to keep developing in other areas, continuing

past the Civil War. For example, Callie

House organized the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief,

Bounty and Pension Association, a group that

called for reparations of back wages for formerly

enslaved people. They called back wages

pensions, and they fought for the right to

receive pensions for the work they had done as

enslaved people. The association was a full mutual

aid society pooling members’ resources

to provide for many daily needs, in addition to

engaging in political lobbying for the pensions.





to buy each




we were


The Underground Railroad was another example

of people pooling resources, in this case

often to help others they didn’t know – and an

inter-racial effort. There were basically three

components: First, you had to have safe houses

properly equipped with a secret basement. Second,

you had to have people who were able to

secretly get people from one house to the next.

Finally, you had to have a coded language so

that people knew when it was safe to run away

and how to get to the first safe house, without

the wrong people knowing. People would give

money to make sure that the safe house was

properly built and equipped,

and had food to feed the fugitives,

clothes for them, and

blankets, etc. So this was

economic cooperation.

Some of the money that people

shared was for the conductors

– the people who shepherded

fugitives through the woods

and from one house to the

next. The conductors needed

a wagon, a horse, some food,

and a gun. There aren’t a lot

of records about how this was

done, but we know that people

donated. That is what we

would call a gift economy. It’s

not clear that it was a donation

of outright cash, but you

shared your wagon, horses,

food, and the knowledge of

how to get North/to Canada.

This Underground Railroad -cooperation, intercooperation

and planning among an interracial

group of people for Black liberation - is another

example of early tendencies toward a cooperative

and solidarity economy that transcended

racism, sexism and classism.

An important part of the Underground Railroad

is the underground sharing of the quilts.

Certain patterns of quilts had codes that indicated

when somebody was going to be there to

conduct you away or which path to go on to get

out of town. A quilt hanging out in the backyard

might have one pattern that would tell you “Not

today, but tomorrow,” or another pattern would

and a tunnel to the Mississippi River.

This all depended on connections between

people who could trust each other;

and knowing who would help and

could be trusted, who couldn’t, who

would dig a cellar and not tell. This was

all about sharing and pooling resources

to the mutual benefit of many.


Du Bois

say “It’s going to be tonight, but take the left


These systems had to work in town after town

throughout the South when people just had to

get to Philadelphia, New York or Boston. After a

while, you needed this to happen in the North,

too, because people had to get all the way to

Canada, because the laws were strengthened

so that if fugitives were caught anywhere on

U.S. soil, they would be sent back to enslavement.

The collective language, in addition to the

shared resources, made the “railroad” work.

The gifting came from slaves in the South and

their allies, who were free Blacks or white people.

One of many interesting stories is of one Jewish

merchant in Memphis, which was on one of the

routes to Canada. He secretly built a cellar under

his house. He did this by building a slaughterhouse

next door. While everybody’s attention

was on the slaughterhouse construction, he had

trusted people digging his underground cellar

Each of these examples show how crucial

the sharing of resources was to

survival and to augment and leverage

what any one person or family had.

They are also examples not just of finding

ways to survive, but also of cooperating

to benefit the entire community.

Pooling of resources enabled people to

leverage what they and their community

had in order to provide more, AND

to solve problems such as hunger, how

to bury your dead, to help the sick, to

escape enslavement. Economic cooperation

also contributed to enabling African

Americans to assert their humanity,

fight for their freedom, and argue

for political/civil rights. Also these examples

establish a legacy of economic

cooperation among African Americans

and show that they have early and continuous

cooperative traditions just like

Europeans. African Americans have a long and

strong tradition of economic cooperation, even

during enslavement. There is a Black cooperative

movement in the US.







The Black cooperative movement has been a

silent partner to many significant moments in

Black history in the US, from survival in economic

depressions to the union movement to

the civil rights movement.

In my research for Collective Courage: A History

of African American Cooperative Economic

Thought and Practice, I found Black cooperatives

in every period. But the most prolific

growth was during three major periods: the

1880s, the 1930s and 40s, and the 1960s and

70s. Why? What those periods had in common

was, first, the idea that the fight for political

rights necessitated economic independence

and economic democracy. Second, they also

were periods when large Black organizations

promoted cooperative economics.

Survival and Economic


What was similar between the 1880s and

1930s was the need for survival in horrible

economic times. It was hard for Blacks to find

work and feed their families, so they turned to

collective economics. They had co-op grocery

stores, gas stations, health insurance, worker

co-ops and credit associations — to get loans

and do financing in the face of discrimination

and exclusion in the credit market.

The Black cooperative movement was the silent

partner, not only to the Black civil rights

movement, but also to the growing union movement

in the 1880s. Labor organizers knew

that they couldn’t forward the rights of white

workers without including Blacks, or without

thinking about controlling the means of production

through worker co-ops. Still, the 1880s

integrated labor organizations were fighting

for their rights to own the mills, factories and

farms that they were working on, and for the

right to control their own work. They developed

co-op mills, co-op farming, and co-op exchanges.

Blacks were originally involved in these

labor struggles with whites, but also started

their own organizations and established co-op

exchanges and stores to obtain the supplies

and products they needed, and credit associations

to help members people get mortgages

or buy on credit without using the racist banks

or exploitative white stores.

Several large unions, like the Knights of Labor,

had Black and white workers before they

became segregated in the early 1900s. The

Knights started several worker cooperatives

throughout the country, but were not well received

by the powers that be and most had to

go underground and then disbanded. The Colored

Farmers National Alliance and Cooperative

Union, was a Black political party, union

and cooperative development agency that started

in Texas, and spread throughout the South.

It was so controversial that their leader was

actually a white man because no Black man

could have led it without being killed. Most of

the Black organizers were underground, organizing

secretly. They lasted less than 10 years

but it was the largest Black organization until

the Universal Negro Improvement Association

in the 1920s.

The Black


movement has

been a silent

partner to many


moments in Black

history in the US

It’s interesting to see how things changed between

the 1880s and the early 1900s in terms

of cooperatives and Black and white labor relations.

The unions could not stay integrated,

segregation prevailed, and most labor unions

gave up developing co-ops because it was too

dangerous. Nobody wanted workers talking

about owning their own enterprises and getting

rid of the capitalists. Separately Blacks continued

to do various small-scale cooperative

activity on into the 20th century, as did some

separate white organizations.

Major Black Organizations and

Cooperative Economics

In the 1960s and

70s, the majority

of civil rights

organizations were

quietly supporting

co-op development.

As for Black organizations’ involvement in cooperative

economics: In the 1880s, it was the

unions and the Colored Farmers. In the 1900s

several other groups evolved. The Colored Merchants

Association, a co-op of independent

Black grocers around the country, was started

by Booker T. Washington’s Black Negro Business

League in the late 1920s. The Young Negroes

Cooperative League held conferences

and trainings in the 1930s in their attempt to

create a small, interlocking system of cooperative

economic societies throughout the US. Ella

Jo Baker, hugely famous because for her work

with SNCC and NAACP in the 1950s and 60s,

was one of the league’s co-founders and executive

director in 1930 long before she became

famous. In the 1940s, it was the Brotherhood

of Sleeping Car Porters, the first official independent

Black union, that promoted co-ops.

The Brotherhood’s leaders, including A. Philip

Randolph and Halena Wilson (president of the

Brotherhood’s Ladies Auxiliary), read and wrote

about, promoted, taught, and started cooperatives

to keep resources circulating in the Black


In the 1960s and 70s, the majority of civil rights

organizations were quietly supporting co-op development.

Co-ops were still considered communist

following the McCarthy era, so these

organizations did not publicly promote co-ops.

But if you look into the community development

efforts and how the organizations earned money,

and even where leaders were developed, they

were practicing cooperative economics.

In 1967, the five major civil rights organizations

(1) started the Federation of Southern Cooperatives

with initial grant money from the Ford

Foundation. The FSC developed cooperatives

throughout the South — mostly farming and

marketing and supply co-ops, but also credit

unions, housing co-ops, worker co-ops. The FSC

still operates today.

Another example of the use of co-ops in the official

Civil Rights era: After fighting for voting rights

for a decade, in 1968 Fanny Lou Hamer started

a pig banking program, and then in 1969, an affordable

housing program and a collective farm

called Freedom Farm. She explained her reasoning

something like this: When we registered to

vote, they — white supremacists — kicked us off

the farms, threw our things in the street, and we

had nothing. They retaliate against us economically.

But if we start by owning our own land,

growing our own food, owning our own homes,

then when we are politically active they are less

able to retaliate against us.

In addition, the Black Panther Party, Congress

of African Peoples, and other radical groups

during this time engaged in economic cooperation

and established cooperatives.

No Substitute for Studying

Cooperative Economics

Every Black co-op I have found so far started

with a study group. They came together to study

their situation, and eventually found and studied

cooperative economics. They tapped into all

kinds of co-op literature, from Europe and the

US, and even found essays written by the few

Black leaders promoting co-ops.

W. E. B. Du Bois wrote a book in 1907 called Economic

Cooperation Among Negro Americans.

He also was editor of NAACP’s magazine, “The

Crisis,” for about 30 years. As editor, he wrote

about Black co-ops and had James Warbasse,

executive director of the Cooperative League of

the USA, write an article in 1918 about why Ne-

groes should be interested in cooperatives. That

same year, Du Bois started the Negro Cooperative

Guild. Also, before he was a famous organizer for

the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, A. Philip

Randolph edited a Black socialist magazine in

the 19-teens called “The Messenger,” where he

wrote a piece called ‘Four Ways Cooperatives Will

Help Negroes.”

In the 1930s, some of the Black cooperative study

groups started visiting other co-ops.One co-op in

Virginia visited a co-op in Indiana, and the one

in Indiana visited Harlem. The co-op in Indiana,

the Consumer Cooperative Trading Company,

was started by a teacher at a Black high school

in Gary. They started with a study group and grew

to have a co-op economics course offered in the

night school that had the largest number of students

registered than any other course. One of

their leaders, Jacob Reddix, later became President

of Jackson State University.

Several universities at this time offered courses on

cooperative economics and co-op development.

Black independent schools in North Carolina for

example, and some Historically Black Colleges

and Universities, taught cooperative economics,

especially in the 1930s and 40s.

Fannie Lou


Columbia University had a summer institute that

organized a study tour to Nova Scotia, Canada to

study the Antigonish Movement. Nineteen of the

54 people that went were Black — in 1939. They

spent three weeks studying cooperative economics

and the cooperative education model at St.

Francis Xavier University. When the 19 returned,

they taught others about it.

In addition, as with mutual aid societies, religious

organizations supported and promoted cooperatives.

The Federal Council of the Churches

of Christ in America invited the foremost cooperative

leader from Japan, Toyohiko Kagawa, to

talk about co-ops in Harlem in 1935. The Federal

Council’s secretary of race relations then organized

several conferences among Black religious

leaders in the late 1930s. Also, the Harlem Unitarian

Church supported cooperative economic

development. Much of these details I learned in

a column by Althea Washington published in the

Journal of Negro Education. Her column focused

on cooperative education. It’s fascinating: I had



no idea that in the 30s, the Journal of Negro

Education even knew about co-ops, let alone

had an entire column about it that ran for about

2 years.

Co-op education and training were critical to

the development of Black co-ops. Success often

depended on support from strong Black national

and local organizations, which almost all

co-ops had. Those strong organizational structures

promoted shared leadership and mutual

responsibility, and created opportunities to

learn and develop collectively. Success also depended

on those exchanges, with people sharing

ideas among their own group and studying

what other co-ops were achieving.

The co-ops were started, and thrived, because

members understood that they could make

more progress as individuals and as a race by

working together and sharing resources.





When I first became interested in cooperative

economics, everybody, Black and white, told

me that Black people just don’t engage in cooperative

economics. But that didn’t seem right

to me. So I started studying it, talking to people

about it, and participating in the US co-op

movement. I found there were hardly any Blacks

involved, except when they were in agricultural

cooperatives in the South. None of the mainstream

co-op literature talked about Black coops,

and yet I was sure that African-Americans

must have been involved.

As a community economics specialist, I had discovered

that cooperatives are an excellent strategy

for real grassroots community economic

development. A friend and graduate classmate

of mine had studied W. E. B. Du Bois’ theory of

cooperative economics. So I studied his work

and found overwhelming evidence of Black involvement

in cooperative business ownership.

We had been involved in co-ops of every sort

in a continuous history. It was the beginning of

the journey. Slowly I found out more and more,

through a snowball effect, each lead connecting

me to new sources of information.

The original purpose of my mostly historical

work was to show that Black people do have

a history in cooperatives – a legacy – that we

should be continuing. Initially, I didn’t find

many current Black co-ops, but since I’ve written

the book, I continue to learn of more and

more groups that are doing this work. I often

get emails from a Black person who’s starting

a co-op or interested in doing so, or who has

some historical material for me. People are

learning about successful examples, seeing the

need for co-ops, and sharing. I think that’s why

the movement is growing now.

While the examples of using the co-op model

in any setting – rural, urban or suburban - and

any industry are sparse compared to what we

might want to see, there are some great examples.

Here are a few good current instances and


When I first

became interested

in cooperative


everybody, Black

and white, told me

that Black people

just don’t engage

in cooperative


In 2013, Jackson, Mississippi elected a very

progressive mayor, Chokwe Lumumba, who actually

had planned to create a whole cooperative

economy in the city. It was very exciting.

His plan was to create co-ops out of many of

the businesses that the city had already privatized

and to help develop other co-ops. There

were going to be urban-rural co-op linkages.

There was a plan to have a year-long education

program to train many people in Jackson,

especially unemployed ones, in co-op development

so they could start a variety of them.

Sadly, Lumumba died [in February 2014, after

only eight months in office], but despite

this, the people in his administration whom he

had hired to start doing this are now moving

forward with a few of the co-ops, such as a

waste-management cooperative. They hosted

one of the largest co-op meetings in the US

[Jackson Rising, in May 2014] which attracted

about 500 people, predominately Black.

What I’m noticing right now is that the growth

is in food co-ops and worker co-ops, mostly in

Latino and some African immigrant communities.

During the Great Recession, a lot of Latino

communities started utilizing worker co-ops

when they couldn’t get work. This growth isn’t

happening as much in the Black community,

but there are some instances - and I am starting

to learn of more and more groups who are

interested in cooperative economics.

In the South Bronx, Cooperative Home-care

Associates is a worker co-op started by Black

and Latina home-care workers, which provides

full-time work, living wages, and benefits in an

industry that did not provide these. In addition,

the women-owners receive a dividend back on

their ownership share every year that the company

is profitable - which has been most years.

Recently the Southern Grassroots Economies

Project was established to support worker coop

development in the South, in coalition with

the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and

other groups. We’ve had three education conferences

and our plan is to raise money for a

revolving loan fund, as well as to support education,

policy and financing for co-ops in the


There’s a growing interest in Black co-op farming.

Black people doing urban farming or

working on food security issues are now starting

either co-op farms or co-op food outlets,

connecting rural and urban farming, for example

in Detroit, Oakland, Boston, New York City,

Washington, DC, and Jackson. In addition, the

Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been

in existence since the late 1960s, supporting

rural farmers and marketing co-ops, housing

co-ops, and rural co-op development, as well

as Black land retention.

There also seems to be a growth right now in

secondary-level co-ops, which are co-ops of

groups of producers-owners that help them

buy goods, process, distribute and market together.

They use the co-op to back them up,

as a place to market their goods or do their

accounting, and share most of the costs of doing

business. An example of a collective marketplace

and secondary-level co-op is Ujamaa

Women’s Collective, in Pittsburgh. They are a

group of entrepreneurial Black women that

make cosmetics, food, and sewn goods. None

of the women alone could afford a storefront

or a kiosk even, but together as a co-op they

were able to buy a permanent space where

they each sell their goods, advertise together,

and practice collective business development

and management.

Another group, Us Lifting Us in Atlanta, is

working to create and collectively own a co-op

marketplace mall and an interlocking system

of co-ops in the Black community.

My research reveals a continuous thread of

cooperative activity and development among

African-Americans over the past two centuries,

because of both need and strategy. It often

happens in the face of economic and political

challenges and sabotage. Black cooperators

have been working together, studying together,

sharing resources, creating good jobs, providing

affordable goods and services, developing

leaders, and building economic solidarity. They

have developed successful models of every

kind of co-op, from farming to catering, food

production grocery retail, sewing and quilting,

nursing and health care, journalism, film, music

production, construction, energy and utilities,

education, and financial and credit cooperatives.

These co-ops have often been a tool

toward the elimination of economic exploitation

and the transition to a new economic and

social order.

Other Worlds is a women-driven

education and movement-building

collaborative. Other Worlds inspires

hope and knowledge that another world

is possible, and helps build it. We compile

and bring to light political, economic,

social, and environmental alternatives

that are flourishing throughout the

world, and inspire and help the public

throughout the Americas open up new

pathways to adapt and replicate them.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved

to eat. I would get so many puzzled looks

from new friends as they saw me, this

skinny Ethiopian girl, fill my plate to the max.

But that love of food is not surprising given

my background.

My mother’s family owned a spice market in

Asmara and my dad’s family owned a cafe.

They later ended up in a small city in Canada,

where I was born, and opened one of the first

Ethiopian restaurants in my hometown in the

90s. Strangely enough, although I loved injera

(the large spongey flat bread we use to scoop

up spicy stews), I always felt like it was something

I could only enjoy in the home. It was too

strange, too fragrant, too AFRICAN to bring

around other folks. Secretly, I was ashamed. I

think this is a sentiment many immigrant kids

can relate to. I mean, we all know our food is

bomb! But when that is never represented in

the media, it’s hard to imagine that we too

could have amazing chefs and foods worth


So how did a girl, who was ashamed to showcase

African food, end up creating Black Foodie,

a platform to celebrate the food and voices

from the diaspora?

It took a negative experience to wake me up.

After having a pretty jarring experience going

out to a European restaurant where my

friends (a group of Black women) were treated

so poorly we had to leave, I started looking

at food and my decisions around food differently.

I asked myself questions like, “Why

had I chosen to dine there? Why didn’t I go

to African or Caribbean restaurants to celebrate?

Why did so many of my friends have

experiences similar to mine, where they felt

they had been treated poorly because they’re


I knew that for me, as a Black foodie, things

were different. So I began searching the internet

for something; a central place where I

could find other people like me, Black people

who loved food, but added more to the conversation

than the mainstream’s dialogue. After

months of research, what I found was that we

were largely ignored.

Black Foodie was born to fill the gap and truly

explore food through a Black lens and celebrate

the cuisine, voices and experiences of

the diaspora. I knew we were out here and after

exploring many of the amazing African and

Caribbean food options in Toronto, I set my

sights abroad. First stop - the USA.

Black Foodie was born

to fill the gap and truly

explore food through

a Black lens and

celebrate the cuisine,

voices and experiences

of the diaspora

I remember walking down the streets of Washington,

D.C. and seeing crowds of beautiful

black people dressed to the 9’s on Sunday afternoon.

But they weren’t heading to churchor

the club, instead it was time for brunch. We

had our own social culture around food.

When I headed down to Atlanta where the

soulfood was plentiful, I fell in love with this

Black owned pizza lounge where I could get

my pizza with a beautiful rendition of Maxwell’s

classics. It was dope! Some of my best

American travel moments had to be eating

my way through New Orleans. It was there at

the Essence Music Festival whe,re I connected

with amazing celebrity chefs who not only

showed me how to eat, but kept me laughing

the entire time.

Next was Europe, where I began to learn

about my own history exploring the East African

restaurants in Rome; some of which

have been around for over 30 years. This was

where my father and other Ethiopian/Eritrean

immigrants like him found comfort and community

in the 80’s before journeying to North

America. In London, UK I ate amazing African

fusion and met Black foodies with British accents

who hosted an interesting supper club

in South London. During my most recent trip

to Montreal where I, of course, had plenty of

Haitian food, I was also introduced to Greek

West African food fusion in the city. People

across the diaspora have traveled and everywhere

I go I see how these travels have influenced

our palettes, events and businesses.

Within a little over a year, Black Foodie has

grown immensely. We have a growing list

of contributors from around the world and

events in several countries. Our events, Jollof

Wars, Doubles vs Patties and Injera and Chill,

have brought the flavor, talent and perspectives

of the African diaspora to the forefront.

Having received recognition from huge outlets

such as the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and

Essence, we know that we’re on to something

great. The overwhelming response has proven

to me that our voices matter. Our food, chefs,

and perspectives are amazing and worth celebrating.

Up next we are moving towards more video

content in the form of a food and travel

web series. I grew up watching food and travel

shows and there were always older white

men as hosts and content that “otherized” the

communities they visited. We’re changing that

narrative. We want to know what an African

American thinks about Trini corn soup at carnival

or how a British Ghanian is changing the

Uk’s food scene.

If there’s anything this past year has taught

me, it’s that amazing things are happening in

our food world. So stay posted as the Black

Foodie team shifts the narrative and gives us a

voice in food and travel.

Eden Hagos is the founder of

Black Foodie, an online platform

that explores food through a

Black lens. She aims to celebrate

food from the African diaspora.

For Eden, travel is more than

just a passion - it helps her

connect with the leading Black

chefs, restaurants and food

entrepreneurs that are creating

magic in the food world.

Airis the Chef started out in college as a

Marketing major at Southern University and

A&M College with the intentions of graduating

and becoming the CEO of a Fortune

500 company. However, after cooking her

very first meal on two hot plates in her college

dorm room (Smothered Pork Chops

and Green Beans w/ Potatoes) and having

friends rave over it, Airis’ plans changed.

After receiving a B.S. in Marketing, Airis relocated

to New York City from New Orleans,

LA, and enrolled in the culinary program at

the Art Institute of NYC.

In the past 14 years, Airis has worked in

many genres of the food industry for greats

like Danny Meyer (Shake Shack), Gordon

Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay at the London,

NYC), Sue Torres ( Suenos) and Whole

Foods Market, to name a few. Currently,

Airis works/plays as a caterer, private chef,

consultant, avid world traveler and food

blogger. Airis brings all the flavors that she

experiences from around the world, mixed

with skills and technique and most of all

LOVE for FOOD and PEOPLE to all of her


For more information, visit

(Bio taken from her website)

By Reuben Reynoso



Growing up in a Mexican family in East L.A.,

birthday piñatas and Halloween meant

candy, but not the candy most non-Mexican

kids were used to. That piñata would get

cracked open and down would rain super-sugary

showers of Dulce de Leche (Mexican white

fudge), pucks of De La Rosa Marzipan de Cacahuate

(Peanut Marzipan), and chunks of paper

wrapped Camote (Candied Sweet potato). This

was before hyperactivity was a thing, and many

a summer night escapade was fueled by these

pieces of dulce!

People know that chocolate came from Mexico

(yep, before us, there were no Toblerone chocolate

bars anywhere in the world), but don’t realize

how many other sweets come from there.

Mexican candy is usually a combination of sweet

and spicy, with some being covered in salt as well,

created with whatever was typically sourced in

an area; Tamarindo, which is commonly found in

lollipop form and made of sweet tamarind pulp

that has been dipped in salt and a smoky chili

powder, though it can also be found in strips; the

pre-fruit rollup. There’s also Chamoy, also made

out of various fruits and covered in a sweet and

sour coating that balances out the sweetness of

the candied fruit, which can be apricot or mango.

The number one Mexican candy though, and the

candy I would save all my allowance for as a kid,

is cajeta, which is a caramel made from a combination

of goat and cow’s milk. It’s sold in hard

candy form, sandwiched between galletas (cookies),

or (my favorite) in small tubs that come with

a tiny little spoon that could be used to shovel

this sweet, delicious candy straight down your

throat. The one thing they have in common, other

than being traditional Mexican sweets, is that

they are PACKED with sugar, so much so that my

non-Mexican friends who try it, claim they can

feel they’re teeth decaying as they continue to

eat these amazing candies!

Chocolate, as I wrote before, came from Mexico,

and before the “discovery” of the new world, this

amazing goodness was not known anywhere outside

of Latin America. It also was not the sweet

candy we all know and love today. The Mayan,

and then the Aztec, would ferment the crushed

beans from the cacao tree, and then pound it

into a paste that they would mix with hot water,

adding spices, including chile, into the mix as

they frothed it back and forth between cups.

At the time the cacao bean was used as currency,

and so chocolate was seen as the drink of

the wealthy and of the gods. Once the Spanish

were introduced to it, they took it back to Europe,

where eventually the Belgians developed

chocolate liqueur, which they used in order to

create the chocolate we know and love today.

These chocolate bars aren’t very common in

Mexico, though you can find the ubiquitous

Nestle bar in most places. Chocolate is still

mainly consumed as hot chocolate and is either

frothed in hot water, or mixed with corn

meal to make champurrado, which is traditionally

consumed during Christmas.

Today, when one of my nephews or nieces

cracks open a piñata, what comes down are

those little Nestle miniature bars that can be

found everywhere and, at least to me, aren’t as

exciting or sweet as the candy I grew up with.

To find the candy of my childhood, I luckily

only have to travel down Sunset Blvd to Olivera

Street and hit up Lupe’s Candies (C24- Olvera

St, Los Angeles, CA 90012) where she carries

everything from Chamoya to cajeta, and even

blocks of the always delicious, but painfully

sweet, Dulce de Leche.

Next time you’re in Los Angeles, make sure you

take a side trip to her cart and have a taste of

candies there; you might just never look at prepackaged

candy the same again!

Reuben picked up photography

at the age of 14 and immediately

fell in love with the process

and the art. He became a dive

instructor in 2003 and began

mixing his two passions; being

underwater and photography.



twitter: @reynosophoto




Lush. Effervescent. Full-bodied. Attractive

and assertive. Supple, spicy,

sweet. Words describing the tastes

and aromas in a glass of vino are also apropos

for characterizing the women in the

traveling wine club, Black Girls Do Wine.

Once a year, an accountant, an educator,

a lawyer, and a pharmaceutical sales representative

descend on a region to swirl

and sip their way through a wine, culinary,

and epicurean experience. Professionally

and personally, the women walk different

paths: one loves techno; one wakes up

daily to the musical stylings of trap music;

one prefers intimate gatherings; one

diva delights in being admired. One loves

Louboutins; one fancies Birkenstocks.

What binds them is the wine.

This is not a travel club for Yellow Tail or

white zinfandel (if served either of these,

pearls would be clutched and fainting may

commence); this is a travel club for serious(ish)

bourgie(ish) black girls who prefer

boutique wineries with limited market

production. This is a club for, well, black

girls who do wine--big girl wine, not your

auntie’s Lambrusco.

BGDW grew from 1990s college-educated

black girls--girls raised on A Different

World, New Edition and School Daze. In

2009, after becoming too old, too worldly,

too grown to order apple martinis, and

too advanced to sip moscato outside of

dessert, three friends decided to take

wine seriously and invest in studying the

drink of biblical times. So, they took their

first trip to the Disneyland of wine: Sonoma

and Napa.

They visited the elegant Nickel & Nickel,

known for robust Cabernet Sauvignons;

the intimate Elyse winery with a diverse

collection of reds; and Gloria Ferrer,

perched on top of a hill with sweeping

views of vineyards, a premiere producer

of sparkling--while avoiding the heavily-trafficked

Kendall Jackson and Domain

Chandon. The next year, they added the

fourth member and named themselves


Decide you’re too

stuffed for dessert,

then order it anyway

because it’s some


combination of

sugar, local berries,

chocolate, cream

and unicorn tears.

After Napa came Willamette Valley, Oregon;

Mendoza, Argentina; and Santa Barbara,

California. The primary goal is to

learn about and taste the region’s star attraction--in

Oregon, the heavy hitter is pinot

noir; in Argentina, malbec. Accordingly,

appointments are set with wineries for

tastings-- some public, some private--with

the house sommelier. At each tasting, the

club learns about all aspects of production,

from ground to grape to glass. This

involves an explanation of soil, weather,

growing conditions, grape varieties, bottling

procedures, storing temperatures

and the notes in each bottle.

BGDW starts planning domestic trips

three months in advance; international

trips require about a year of planning.

Planning an excursion where the travelers

fly in from around the country requires

collaboration. Club members plan flight

times within two hours of each other for

domestic trips. For international trips,

club members meet in the port of exit,

like New York City, the day before the trip

begins and fly together, reducing confusion

and lost time.

Club members play to their strengths.

After all agree on a location, each performs

the task most suited to her. The

organized, logistical members research

costs, flights, and hotels and produce a

hard budget, including expected tips, exchange

rates, and side excursions. The

foodie researches restaurants and makes

reservations. The extroverts work during

the journey, connecting with new people

also interested in wine and finding additional

places to visit.

The club travels to places affordable for

all members and looks to reduce costs.

Groupon and Travelzoo highlight travel

deals. Instead of staying in hotels and

resorts, which often have high taxes and

fees, BGDW prefers home-sharing like Air

B&B. By grocery shopping and cooking

breakfast and lunch, members reduce

restaurant costs, maximizing the money

spent on restaurants, wine tastings, and

ottles. Shared tastings reduce tasting

fees. Hiring a driver or Uber is a must:

$100 a day per person is worth not being

ticketed for drinking and driving.

Trips are planned, but flexible. The itinerary

for any given day may look like this:

9:00 a.m.

Arise. Drink sparkling on the veranda. Eat

a light breakfast of cheese, croissants,

and fruit. Drink more sparkling. Discuss

current events and conclude that the

struggle is still real.

11:30 a.m.

Pack a lunch with sandwiches and fruit

from the local farmers’ market.


Get in the car with the hired driver to go

wine tasting.

1:00 p.m.

Visit the first winery for a pre-planned private

tasting. Learn about production, soil,

climate, and the region’s variety. Take

notes. Ask questions. Buy and open bottles.

Drink while admiring the sweeping

views of the vineyard. Think about life, say

“Won’t He do it?” at least once.

3:00 p.m.

Visit the second winery. Stand at the

counter and taste. Say, “This has hints of

anise and dark cherries” or “This smells

like feet.” Buy one bottle to pair with dinner.

Laugh. A lot.

4:30 p.m.

Visit the third winery. Realize your tongue

feels slightly fuzzy, but that’s ok. Sit at

the bar and taste. Ship bottles home.

7:00 p.m.

Have the driver take you to dinner. Order

a bottle from a winery you heard of,

but won’t have time to visit. Eat decadent

foods like foie gras, grilled oysters,

or goat cheese wrapped in puffed pastry.

Debate between the pork belly and the

lamb chops. Get both to share.

Start with a white, finish with a red. Decide

you’re too stuffed for dessert, then order

it anyway because it’s some tongue-pampering

combination of sugar, local berries,

chocolate, cream and unicorn tears.

11:00 p.m.

Uber to your lodgings. Sigh contentedly.

Go to bed. Your liver needs to rest before


Though from Michigan, BGDW members

currently reside across the country.

During BGDW, they sharpen noses and

palates, and tune their senses to understand

the complexities in both flavor and

feel. One wine may feel heavy and supple

on the tongue; another may feel thin and

watery. A wine may taste tannic and bitter,

or rich and lush like ripe raspberries,

or alive with notes of grapefruit. During

BGDW, members seek to find wines with

character, wines that are unique, wines

that are balanced. At its core, BGDW connects

black girls who do wine--and friendship,

and food, and travel.

Each year, BGDW discusses membership

intake. If interested in BGDW, email

Miah Daughtery, Ed.D has

been an educator for fifteen

years in reading and English

for grades 6-12. When she’s

not thinking about issues

around equity, access, and

literacy, she is most likely

baking phenomenal chocolate

chip cookies, brunching,

wine-tasting, or traveling.

Follow her on Twitter at

DST6N01 for information on

all things literacy.

By Rodney Goode


30-year culinary veteran from

Newark, New Jersey, Chef Jesse

Jones started his journey in the

kitchen at home with his mother, whom

he says was a great cook in her own

right. From there, all of his future employment

would revolve around cooking.

He operated as a dishwasher, Food

Service Director for Aramark, supported

several professional chefs and eventually,

went to both culinary school and

business school. Rounding out his education

by graduating from Catherine

Gibbs School of Business was, “one of

the best things he could have done.”

He states, “I encourage any chef to go

to business school to ensure they understand

that when all else is said and

done, this is still a business.”

GR: So, what inspires a guy

from Newark to be a chef?

Chef Jesse: Watching my family

in the kitchen (my mother and

my aunt). My mother always

said I was a showman, so in the

kitchen is where I decided to

develop my showmanship. Not

only that, the gratification I get

when people take the first bite

of my food and go “wow” - that’s

why I do it.

GR: In every interview I’ve seen

on television, you mention your

grandmother. Tell us why she

was such an influence.

Chef Jesse: My grandmother…

She lived to the age of 92 and

was just an awesome cook. She

was always my biggest supporter.

No matter what I called her

with, in the end, she would state,

“It’s going to be all right” and it

usually was. Hannah Jones was

famous for her sweet potato pie

and her molasses pudding and

she was very skilled at using either

of them for incentives. In

my family they [her pies] were

better than money.

GR: Sweet Potato pie is an art.

It is part of our culture and history.

Tell us about yours…

Chef Jesse: My Sweet Potato

pie is mine! Is it the best? Arguably,

but I just want to leave a

mark. My pie is a derivative of

my grandmother’s style, but also my

education and research. I put my

potatoes through a ricer to get rid

of the strands, which makes those

potatoes nice and smooth; apply

some (secret) techniques I learned

from my tutelage under a master

baker; then get my very own version

that is one to be envied. All of the

rustic features and tastes are there,

but I take it to the next level. Gourmet


GR: You have been seen on Basketball

Wives, Love and Hip Hop and

numerous news and food segments.

So when folks see you online they

automatically think celebrity chef.

Is that how you see yourself? Which

celebrity chef do you follow?

Chef Jesse: I love a lot of chefs on

TV and truly appreciate all they do,

but the one [chef] that most [people]

probably do not even remember

was a brother named Patrick Clark,

who passed at the age of 42. One

day, I’ll never forget, I walked past

the TV and there was an afro and a

white chef’s jacket. I did a double

take and I knew I wanted to be like


This brother was on TV with Julia

Child on her cooking show. It

changed my life! He is gone now,

but he made me feel like we could

keep our food alive, relevant, and

elevated. So, it’s not about the celebrity

of it all for me, but more so

about my being happy in my niche.

I’ve found it. I cook, lay it out before

you and let you be the judge. Now

don’t sleep! I’ve got a lil’ personality

and that takes a chef a long way. I’m

happy with what I do and how I do it,

but my man, Patrick Clark, definitely

inspired me. He was the first celebrity

chef of African decent.

GR: You have amassed thousands of

followers on social media. How does

that feel?

Chef Jesse: It feels great. I was told

many years ago that I bring charisma

and character to the kitchen and that

always stuck with me. I don’t try to sell

myself. My food is an extension of me.

My food is ‘me’ on a plate, nothing more

nothing less.

GR: So from a Global Food perspective,

what is your favorite food?

Chef Jesse: Apart from elegant neo

soul food, French food is what I would

love to delve into next. My next journey

will, no doubt, land me in Paris real

soon to learn more about French cuisine

and the art of it all. Even now, when I

plate my own food, I have French cuisine

in mind as I arrange it. French food

is appealing to all the senses. It’s nice

to look at, smells great and it doesn’t

take mounds of it to satisfy your tastes.

That’s what I hope to achieve with my

food, only with a little more punch.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines