Sarah Cole, an Egyptian & Southern chef, has created an inspiring nonprofit combining both of those cultures while providing food education and access in Alabama.
Say hello to the Black Belt Food Project.
"My mom was born and raised in Egypt, and moved to the United States when she was 28, so I grew up with a mix of very Southern and very Egyptian cuisine in the kitchen," explains Sarah.
It was with that history in mind that Sarah, who'd always dreamed of becoming the chef of a restaurant, opened Abadir's, a popup eatery, in 2020. "It's a mix of very traditional North African food and my take on more wholesome, more natural, versions of those dishes," she says.
"In the Alabama Black Belt, we lack access to everyday resources, one of which is better food options," Sarah explains. "So, in a very short amount of time, Abadir's became extremely popular and it made me realize that there is a need for something different here. People want access to different food options, better food options, so I started Black Belt Food Project."
The nonprofit focuses on food education and food access, offering cooking classes, fresh produce pickups for the community featuring locally sourced organic produce from nearby farmers and producers, and community lunches.
"We're hoping to reshape the way people see and experience food, which will ultimately reshape the way they interact with their own community and the world around them," she says.
Inspiring – and we're not the only ones who feel that way! Our friends at Wonderful Seedless Lemons wanted to help, so they are donating $10,000 to Black Belt Food Project, to see the project expand even further.