Chef Ederique Goudia, chef Jermond Booze and urban farmer & Neighborhood Grocery founder Raphael Wright have all been toiling at the intersection of food and justice in Detroit for years, individually working to overhaul harmful systems that continue to oppress Black people.
While volunteering for an effort led by Farmacy Food chef Phil Jones to feed 5,000 hungry Detroiters for the 2020 holidays, the trio had an idea: Create food boxes for Black History Month that would nod to the history of the Jim Crow-era shoebox lunch while celebrating cuisine of the African diaspora and uplifting Black farmers and restaurateurs in Detroit all in one. Detroiters would get to benefit from eating good food, too.
Two days after announcing their inaugural effort, all 400 meals were spoken for and the new platform for African-American food and culture stories was born. Taste the Diaspora instantly garnered national acclaim.
But that was just the beginning.
Later that summer, Hurricane Ida tore through Louisiana, badly damaging the area around Goudia’s hometown of Wallace. Taste the Diaspora mobilized a series of pop-up dinners and events in Detroit to raise money for the rebuilding effort, and then organized a dinner in Wallace in partnership with the Descendants Project to cook for the community and present them with their proceeds.
For Black History Month 2022, the group repeated their shoebox lunch initiative to overwhelming success while expanding Taste the Diaspora’s mission to also offer food-business consulting, mutual aid, and food media services — all in the name of strengthening the Black food system in Detroit.
Follow Taste the Diaspora on Instagram @tastediasporadetroit and visit tastethediaspora.com for more info.