VIOLIFE® Teams up with RZA to Launch Grant Program to Promote Plant-Based Eating

Photo by Mike Relm
Photo by Mike Relm

VIOLIFE® Teams up with RZA to Launch
Grant Program to Promote Plant-Based Eating

New Upfield US “Plant Grants” Program Provides Funding, Education and Mentoring

     Upfield US announced a new grant program, Plant Grants, aimed at promoting plant-based eating through charitable funding, education, and mentorship. This first year is being sponsored by Violife®, an Upfield brand and portfolio of 100 percent vegan cheeses and spreads, in collaboration with legendary hip-hop artist and long-time vegan, RZA. The 2021 Plant Grants program will focus on helping community-based Black-owned restaurants recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic recognizing that these businesses are often the economic and cultural centers of their communities. The program will provide funding to support re-investment in the business, an introduction to plant-based ingredients, and coaching on menu development from two plant-based chef pioneers, Lemel Durrah and Laricia Chandle to inspire Black-owned restaurants to add more plant-based dishes to their menus or convert well-loved recipes to plant-based. 
      “I’m partnering with Violife because we share a similar philosophy about eating plant-based, and we want to make plant-based eating more accessible, affordable and sustainable to all,” said RZA. “The influence of hip-hop and the culinary history of plant-based eating in Black communities contribute to a movement of embracing meatless options. I’m proud to support Plant Grants to continue this movement and make plant-based eating more readily available at Black-owned restaurants that are at the heart of communities.”
     “At Upfield, we’re excited to be working with community-based chefs and restaurateurs, and plant-based visionaries who are scaling-up the plant-based revolution across the U.S. to bring great tasting plant-based foods to more people,” said Brian Orlando, Chief Marketing Officer, Upfield North America. “Now with the new Plant Grants program, we can expand and promote their incredible efforts in an impactful way to help them develop new menu items with plant-based ingredients and create dishes and recipes, so more peo-ple choose to eat plant-based foods because they are delicious, and better for you and better for the planet.”
    “We are thrilled to partner with RZA to raise awareness about the benefits of plant-based eating and bring awareness to the Plant Grants program,” said Bernice Chao, Senior Brand Manager, Upfield. “We look forward to providing well-deserved recognition and support to Black-owned restaurants and opening the door to exciting new dishes and traditional recipes with a plant-based twist.
     ”The focus of the 2021 Plant Grants pro-gram reflects the disproportionate challenges faced by Black-owned community businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic recovery of these businesses, in particular restaurants.
     The grant program consists of $20,000 in funding to each recipient; coaching and guidance on plant-based menus and recipes from vegan chefs Lemel Durrah, of Compton Vegan, and Laricia Chandler Baker widely known as Chef Fab of Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, and education on including plant-based products in new recipes or transforming time-tested recipes into plant-based options. Marketing and publicity assistance is also part of the program.
     Grants will be awarded to five applicants who are selected based on meeting program criteria, including their commitment to plant-based eating, and engaging their community.
     The 2021 Plant Grants program sponsored by Violife is open now through July 31, 2021, for interested applicants. The selected grantees will be announced in September 2021. For additional information on eligibility and applying to the program, please visit
     Violife is the creator of a range of award-winning 100 percent vegan cheese and spreads products made with coconut oil. All Violife products are free from dairy, preservatives, casein, lactose, gluten, nuts, and soy. Violife comes from the Greek word “Vios”, which means “life.” So, it’s actually life squared – live life to the full! Violife is 100 percent vegan and 100 percent delicious and brings people together by making food for everyone.
     Upfield is the largest plant-based consumer food products company in the world, producing plant-based spreads and plant butters. In the U.S., Upfield produces iconic brands such as Country Crock®, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, Brummel & Brown®, and Imperial®. Violife® 100 percen vegan cheese products were added to the Upfield portfolio following the acquisition of Arivia in 2020. Upfield is on a mission to deliver plant-based nutrition products that are better for you and better for the planet and is helping to create a “Better Plant-based Future” for all.
     For more information, visit

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