Money. Food. Philly. Tax Day. Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative receives funding for urban agriculture and Nicole Marquis looks out for her employees.
Now that April 15’s Tax Day has been moved into May, Philly can breathe easy and breezy as it moves into the weekend when it comes to pushing out big money. Two interesting Philly firsts: Where bringing money into the system is a thing, lights up the dosage dashboard, and touches on our culinary scene.
On the heels of the national discussion regarding upping the minimum wage, the first bit of Philly financial news comes from Nicole Marquis, HipCityVeg, and Marquis & Co., the Plant-Based Restaurant Group. In that it will raise the entire company’s minimum wage to $15 in 2021 with a tag line “Fifteen For Our Families” is “Good for people, Good for business.”
Since Congress can’t agree to or successfully pass, long-awaited new legislation that would boost the national minimum wage (currently at a sad $7.25), Marquis’ Marquis & Co., which also includes Charlie was a sinner and Bar Bon Bon (nine restaurants in total) took it upon herself and themselves to do it.
“Despite the intense economic hardship that has hit the restaurant industry and our workers over the last year, we believe that now is the time to do this for our families,” wrote Marquis. “We believe it not only is the right thing to do for our workers that have been through so much over the past year, but that it is also good for business, and it will help with recruiting and retention as our economy rebounds… ‘Fifteen for our Families’ is the next important step toward growing our company and culture. Building the world we want to live in. Communicating through our actions how much we value those who helped us get through the past year, and continue to contribute to our success. We want our team, and their families, to continue to be part of our family.”
The other news is a little dryer and policy wonk-ish, but all the more valuable for it: the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Reinvestment Fund just awarded more than $443,500 to fund several local and innovative initiatives to create more healthy food options. All as part of an effort to find and fund community-driven solutions to historic food injustice. Subdividing that work and mission is the Philly Health Department’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, along with its Reinvestment Fund, who announced nine new awards as part of the Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative. So far, since its 2019 launch, the Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative has provided over $620,000 in grants, 10 of its project recipients being Black, Immigrant, and People of Color owned or led, with half also being owned or led by women.
“Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative is built on the wisdom of Philadelphia communities,” wrote Amanda Wagner, Program Manager for Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Health Department, “especially those who have been historically marginalized, to advance their own solutions for themselves and their neighbors. Food justice cannot be ‘one size fits all’ and these public health investments are one part of the collective action we need to repair the harms of the food system and build towards a different, more just, future.”
The 2021 Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative grantees include Urban Creators, an organization that has used food, art, and education as tools to nurture resilience and self-determination in North Philadelphia since 2010. Urban Creators operates Life Do Grow (LDG) Urban Farm and Neighborhood Creative Commons in North Philly. With support from Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative, Urban Creators is expanding community garden beds and opening a neighborhood marketplace at Life Do Grow farm, in addition to operating a flexible mobile market within the community, offering fresh produce and other essential products.
Check it out here if you want the full Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative 2021 report.