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Letter From Our Founder - Meet Further Food’s 2021 Giving Tuesday Partner: La Cocina

Letter-From-Our-Founder-Meet-Further-Food-s-2021-Giving-Tuesday-Partner-La-Cocina Further Food

As the founder of Further Food, I have made sure that giving back is at the core of our mission. That’s why every product we create and everything we do is rooted in helping others live their very best lives. To further our mission of being a force for good, we’ve committed to donating 100% of our proceeds on Giving Tuesday every year to an organization that aligns with our values. This year, I am very excited to share that our partner is La Cocina!

La Cocina is a San-Francisco based nonprofit organization that supports women of color and immigrant women achieve their dreams of building their own food-based small business that uplifts themselves, their families, and their communities. The businesses that La Cocina helps all have one thing in common: they are started by women with a fervent desire to share their heritage and culture with others through food. I shared this same purpose when I started Further Food in 2015, and it’s why I am so personally drawn to La Cocina’s efforts.

Growing up as a Chinese immigrant, I have always valued the cultural and culinary traditions that my family and I brought to America. One of my favorite childhood memories is the herbal remedies and delicious dishes my mother would make for us. It’s what I eventually built my business on: taking the ancient traditions of my Chinese upbringing to create nourishing real-food products that I knew would not only help others, but also bring them joy.

Fast forward 5 years later, and I have learned that no small business can succeed and thrive without a strong network of support. As a woman entrepreneur, I know how difficult it can be to build a company from the ground up—but for low-income women entrepreneurs who face larger risks due to insufficient financial and social capital, the barriers to success are even greater.

To make matters worse, the past year and a half has been challenging and unprecedented, with many small businesses in the food industry being impacted the most. By the end of March 2020, the businesses in La Cocina’s incubator program had lost 70% of their sales. Additionally, 90% of those businesses had to layoff or furlough their entire staff, and for 56% of these small business owners, their business is their entire family’s sole source of income.

Last Giving Tuesday, we were able to donate $3,500 to La Cocina’s Emergency Relief Fund, which combined with the organization’s overall effort, helped 59 food entrepreneurs stay in operation during COVID-19.

The challenges and barriers women of color food entrepreneurs face has not gone away. That’s why we are so excited to partner with La Cocina again this Giving Tuesday to help advance their mission of supporting immigrant small business owners.

If you have the means this season, I invite you to shop with us this Giving Tuesday – November 30 – to help support these incredible women. With our help, these inspiring small business owners can continue to share their love of food, their culture, and their heritage with our community, while creating a sustainable life for themselves and their families, now and into the future. Let’s help them go further, together.

Be Well,

Lillian Zhao

Founder & CEO

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