Ujima Non-Profit Cafe

Ujima is a non-profit, pay-what-you-can service provider that cultivates community through food and youth empowerment. We work to shift paradigms by increasing food security, environmental stewardship, and employment.

Problem:

  • Forty percent of all food produced in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste, taking a toll on the country's water resources and significantly increasing greenhouse gas emissions. (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2012)

  • 700,000 people across the Metro St. Louis region are low income and have low food access within a half mile. (Missouri Coalition for the Environment, 2017)

  • In the city of St. Louis, 56% of residents are low income with low food access.
    (Missouri Coalition for the Environment, 2017)

  • Black residents make up 49% of the St. Louis City population with 70% living in census tracts considered food deserts. In St. Louis County, 63% of black residents live in census tracts considered food deserts. (Missouri Coalition for the Environment, 2017)

Purpose:

Food justice, education and youth empowerment creates the foundation of what Ujima stands for. We will provide equitable access to food, education, and employment to marginalized and vulnerable communities in the greater St. Louis area.

Vision Statement:

Ujima will facilitate community empowerment that will shift paradigms and challenge the myth of food scarcity. While providing food, employment, and care for marginalized communities, we want to set a standard that be replicated throughout the globe.

Core Values:

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: We are environmental stewards of this planet.

  2. Team-work makes the dream work: We maximize our strengths and talents individually, and unite as a collective to accomplish great things.

  3. Balance is key: We will be efficient and productive in our work, while maintaining a healthy balance of family and self-care.

  4. ComeUnity: We will empower others through food, love, and unity.

  5. Never give up: Our work is essential and we will be relentless while maintaining integrity.

  6. Collaboration is multiplication: Seek out those who align with our mission and find ways to amplify our impact on the world.

  7. Old ways won’t open up new doors: When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.

  8. Life Happens: Creatively use and respond to change.

  9. Value & Utilize Diversity: Empowering marginalized communities through food, care, and jobs.

  10. Accountability is personal power: Accept responsibility for your actions. Take ownership of your mistakes.

Goals:

  • Host 8-12 pop-up fundraiser events in the greater St. Louis area starting Spring 2019-Summer 2020. Each event will be zero-waste (compostable plates, bowls, plates, utensils, etc.) and have a donation-based, “pay what you can” menu.

  • Secure grant(s) in Spring 2019 for $15K that will help build infrastructure, cover expenses for pop-up events and administrative fees.

  • Attend One World Everybody Eats Summit in January 2019.

  • Recruit and secure 12 board members by end of 2019.

  • Recover aftermarket food and include it in 25% of all meals served.

  • Raise $100K through grants and a Crowdfunding Campaign in Summer 2020. Funds raised will go towards purchasing a food truck.