Will host first public info session at Heydays HQ in Midtown on August 27
Food City kicks off community outreach events and microgrant series, announces new team member.
With a bold vision for a grassroots community engagement campaign to reimagine the future of food in the St. Louis region, Food City has hired Keisha Mabry Haymore as Community Manager.
Jan Marson, Founder of Serving Our Communities Foundation selected Mabry Haymore for her brilliance and shine, saying: “Keisha is an inspiring speaker, connector, organizer and mentor. Most importantly she is a friend to all and deeply trusted by the community. We couldn’t be more excited to have such a shining star acting as our liaison to the St. Louis region.”
Darren Jackson, Chief Operations Officer of Serving Our Communities, says they couldn’t have found a better person for the role: “Keisha is on the ground in St. Louis advocating for entrepreneurs and community every single day. She has a gift for inspiring people to believe in themselves, and that’s exactly what Food City is about. We want people to know: your idea is good, your product is good, you deserve accessible food options in your own neighborhood, and you have the power to make whatever change you know is needed. With Keisha’s help and the community’s involvement, Food City will become a force for good throughout the entire St. Louis Metro Area.”
Mabry Haymore’s first order of business is to bring people together through a series of community gatherings and microgrants for people looking to improve the food system. She describes the series as having three goals: “We’re organizing these gatherings to do three things: Listen, Learn and Louden! ‘Food For All’ means everyone has access to fresh, healthy food. It means lifting up food entrepreneurs as a vehicle for economic and community development so that all this momentum behind our beautiful food scene creates an abundance of opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs and industry professionals.”
Attendees can expect complimentary food and drinks, guest speakers, and opportunities to share their ambitions and make new connections. Each gathering is free and open to the public, but attendance is limited.
Upcoming Gatherings include:
Food City Community Info Session
August 27 from 1-4PM at Heydays HQ in partnership with Frizzy By Nature
Designed for major grant applicants to learn more, ask questions and gain advice.
Food City Info Booth
August 27 from 10AM-6PM at Festival of Nations
Microgrant Recipient: Festival of Nations
Brunch at the Trap with Sunday’s Best
September 9 from 9:30AM-Noon at Trap Run
Microgrant Recipient: Trap Run STL
Art Meets Food Happy Hour
October 4 from 6-8PM @ 21C x Idol Wolf
Microgrant Recipient: Urban League Food Pantries
Friendsgiving on Cherokee Street
November 10 from 6-8PM at Profield Reserve
Microgrant Recipient: To Be Determined
:Food City is currently running three programs:
Community Survey – Public input gathered through this survey will inform Food City’s strategic plan aimed at fostering a more inclusive, sustainable food ecosystem in the St. Louis Metro Area.
- Growth Grant: $75,000 – For existing food brands currently selling packaged food directly to consumers; this grant also includes $25,000 in production
- Innovation Grant: $50,000 – For new food brands looking to create packaged food products to be sold directly to consumers
- Food For All Grant: $20,000 – For nonprofit and social impact projects helping to get food to people who need it the most in the St. Louis Metro Area
- Environmental Justice: $5,000 – For nonprofit and social impact projects that improve the environment through farming, soil treatment, cleanup, community gardens, or sustainability
Microgrant Program & Community Gatherings
- Monthly Community Gatherings – Networking and $500 Micro-Grants awarded to support food entrepreneurs and local projects with growth and innovation
About Food City:
Food City by Serving Our Communities aims to create a more inclusive, sustainable food ecosystem in the St. Louis Metro Area with a shared value system of equality, empowerment, and social responsibility.
Food City supports a diverse range of stakeholders through funding, resources, relationships, education, workforce development, and mentorship. The project serves budding food entrepreneurs, industrious farmers, conscientious food policy and direct service organizers, educational institutions, social enterprises, and nonprofit initiatives with one thing in common: a relentless commitment to Food For All.
Recognizing the transformative power of accessible opportunities, the project strives to create an enabling environment that inspires everyone to thrive.
About Serving Our Communities:
Serving our Communities is a foundation and social enterprise launched by the Marson Family, former owners of Nature’s Bakery. After selling their company to KIND (a Mars company) in 2020, the family committed to investing heavily in Nevada and the St. Louis, MO region, injecting nearly $5 million in social impact investments.
Their standout venture is the Marson Foods facility, backed by an investment of close to $21 million. This facility not only generates jobs in the food industry, but it also acts as a vital hub for the Serving our Communities mission. It supports local entrepreneurs by providing essential resources such as machinery and workforce assistance. Additionally, it serves as an educational hub for food science, facilitating learning for both children and adults.
The Marson Family has shown a firm commitment to the St. Louis region’s food ecosystem, fostering a sustainable food chain that champions equality, empowerment, and social responsibility. Serving our Communities has been instrumental in backing underrepresented leaders and founders, from aiding the initiation of a farm in North St. Louis city to funding scholarships for local youth. This is all part of a grand vision: to utilize the universal need for food as a catalyst to bring communities together, nurturing both consumers and creators in this vibrant ecosystem.
About Keisha Mabry Haymore:
Keisha Mabry Haymore is a connector, convener and social entrepreneur on a mission to change the world one connection at a time. She is the owner of Heydays, a business incubator and coworking space for women and founders of color to connect, create and curate anything. Keisha has been featured on National Public Radio, The Daily Show, Fast Company, Success Magazine, Huffington Post, Essence, Black Enterprise, Fox 2 News, Nine Network, The Business Journal and more.
In addition, Keisha is the Grow With Google Digital Coach for Missouri—a program that provides free digital skills training to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to close the digital divide gap. Keisha is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Missouri, an Aspen Ideas Scholar, a Hatch Fellow, a TEDx speaker and her book Hey Friend: 100 Ways to Connect with 100 People in 100 Days is a movement to make the world friendly again, or at the very least, friendlier than it’s ever been.
She’s delivered more than 150 keynote speeches for Fortune 500 companies and top brands like Spotify, Mastercard, Edward Jones, Square, Bayer, Facebook, YUM!, Ikea, SHRM, US Bank and Brit + Co. Learn more at keishamabry.com and heydayshq.com.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.