Jun. 19, 2017 10:29 am

How The Food Trust will support immigrant food entrepreneurs with $150K from Knight

The food access nonprofit plans to promote civic engagement and inclusion by partnering with immigrant-facing orgs and launching an app.

Chinatown Night Market, 2011.

(Photo by J. Kaczmarek for Visit Philadelphia)

Philadelphia is both a city of neighborhoods and one of immigrants: The latter make up 13 percent of the total population.

The Food Trust knows this. Accordingly, the 25-year-old food access nonprofit announced last week it had won a $150,000 grant from Knight Foundation to “promote civic engagement and inclusion” at its Night Market events.

The summer series brings food trucks and outdoor activities to neighborhoods around Philly. It had already been supporting local food entrepreneurs at Night Markets past by, for instance, offering visibility and providing trainings about financing and local sourcing, wrote Diana Minkus, senior associate of Night Market Philadelphia, in an email.

But this funding from Knight will help it expand those offerings to immigrant entrepreneurs, specifically.

“We’ve taken pride in the fact that a large number of our vendors are woman and/or minority and immigrant owned,” Minkus said. “We’re now able to be more deliberate in our work to further engage immigrant and otherwise marginalized communities by partnering and collaborating with organizations in Philadelphia that already work closely with them — e.g. The Welcoming Center, The Enterprise Center, and SEAMACC.”

The Food Trust will also highlight immigrant business owners at each Night Market event — check out its second profile, of Lebanese restaurant Manakeesh’s Abd Ghazzawi, here. It’s also planning to launch an app with a “return guide” encouraging event attendees to return to the neighborhoods where Night Market events have been held.

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“We want to use Night Market to put an emphasis on diverse ethnic enclaves, immigrant communities, and otherwise culturally relevant locales and use the events as a platform to highlight our diverse populations by incorporating cultural themes at certain events and creating new opportunities for civic engagement and conversations,” Minkus said.

The next Night Market will be held in Spruce Hill on Saturday, July 1.


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