Black farmers in this country have decreased over the past 100 years. Stats from McKinsey & Company show that just over one percent of farmers identify as Black today, compared with 14 percent a century ago. And the impact of that loss is affecting the pockets of the Black farming community, which now only represents 0.5 percent of total farm sales in the country. But renowned Chef Omar Tate has an innovative idea to support Blacks in agriculture.
The Cultivating Community dinner series is a partnership between Time 100 honoree Chef Omar Tate and Bombay Bramble meant to shine a spotlight on Black farmers and educate the public about the challenges they face. Dinners will feature a special tasting menu including fresh ingredients sourced from local Black farmers. Guests can also sip on Chef Tate’s signature Bombay Bramble cocktail, the ‘Bramble Berry Sour.’ The inaugural dinner took place at Oko Farms in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – an urban farm co-founded by Nigerian farmer Yemi Amu and Chef Jonathan Boe. Chef Tate will also host Cultivating Community pop-up dinners in Atlanta and Charleston.
On top of the dinner partnership, Bombay Bramble pledged a $25,000 donation to the Black Farmer Fund, an organization that invests in black agricultural systems in the Northeast. Jaime Keller, Brand Director of BOMBAY GINS North America thought Chef Tate was the perfect partner for an initiative that supports Black farmers.“We are honored to partner with Omar Tate to launch our new dinner series, which pays tribute to Black farmers across the United States who have made an integral contribution to American cuisine and culture,” Keller said.
Chef Omar Tate has worked in some of the hottest restaurants in New York and Philadelphia for the past ten years. He’s also made a name for himself through his innovative Honeysuckle projects, known for seamlessly fusing music, art, food and community. He hopes his latest project creates more awareness about Black farmers and the issues they face. “There are several factors that inhibit the growth of Black farmers throughout the country. The lack of resources is a big one, another is distribution and supply chain issues. And one that I see personally is that the public is just not aware of their existence. Our partnership with Bombay Bramble is a first step by bringing awareness to an issue that may not have otherwise been drawn to,” Tate told The Root exclusively.