Black Lives Matter
In response to the racial reckoning that finally began in earnest in the summer of 2020, we as a company looked inward to see what we were doing right, where we could improve, and what we could proactively do to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Even as forward-thinking, diversity-celebrating, and socially engaged retailer we were surprised, maybe even a bit shocked, at how far we still have to go,
But we started a process of introspection and improvement. This page will highlight some of what we’re learned, what we’re doing, and encourage ongoing learning and improvement in our efforts.
Our Original Response
Early last June, these were the basic commitments we undertook and adopted.
Places To Support
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- I Run With Maud
- Black Vision Collective
- Reclaim the Block
- The Bail Project
- Communities United Against Police Brutality
- Campaign Zero
- MN Freedom Fund
- UnCommon Law
- Showing Up For Racial Justice
- Bay Area Protest Fund
- National Lawyers Guild Bay Area
- East Oakland Collective
- Black Earth Farm Oakland
Support Black-owned Brands
The Natural Foods industry is very white.
Our food system was built largely with Black contributions, yet the ongoing legacy of racism has greatly erased and sidelined Black participation in it at scale. As a result, brands owned by Black entrepreneurs and producers are vastly underrepresented in our industry.
Perhaps the most shocking thing we learned while re-evaluating our role and what we could do to support Black lives was the massive underepresation of Black businesses on our shelves.
After reviewing roughly 3,000 brands in our inventory, as of March 2021, we found only 13 Black-owned brands between both of our locations. That’s just 0.04% of our total brand inventory. It was a hard truth to learn and defied all assumptions. But we know we’re not alone in this disparity.
We recognize the need to do more to support and encourage Black entrepreneurs, food makers, farmers, and creators of color. We cannot be another barrier to entry. Further, we must act with more intentionality to find and foster Black-owned brands to diversify our industry and those who it serves.
What We’re Doing About It
The bottom line: Going forward, East Bay Natural Grocers Inc. will now consider racial equity and representation as a factor when choosing new brands to bring in, who those brands are designed for, and how we can foster and grow their success.
First, we will enhance support for the Black-owned brands we currently carry. That means lending our best promotional efforts towards boosting their profiles and products.
Next, our directive is to double the current list of Black-owned brands from 13 to 25. We will then steadily grow the list to 50, 75, until the first major milestone is reached at 100, or roughly 3% of our total brand inventory. Once in our store, we will give these brands at least 6 – 12 months of shelf space to grow and maintain steady sales, instead of the usual window that all brands currently receive. Additional milestones and efforts will be worked on at that time.
In addition, we will review what purchasing requirements may be exclusionary to producers of color and evaluate how to reconcile those. Everyone deserves access to retail space and opportunities.
Great products are too often missed because of inherent disadvantages that many Black-owned brands have at getting exposure. To correct this we put together this industry-specific 250+ Black-owned business directory. While It’s just a start, it was created to help with this project.
This directory is open-sourced and you’re highy encouraged to reference this, make a copy for yourselves, and to share with those you think will benefit. You’re highly encouraged to explore it, shop from it, and bring these Black-Owned brands into your lives.
Submit Black-owned brands
Help us grow this thing. We encourage you to add any brands you know or love. You can do that using this form. We will maintain the directory and edit submissions for consistency.
We need more people on board, and we need your help. Please reach out with your comments/questions/concerns, and we’ll work through them. Together we will continue to build a product set that truly represents and serves our whole community.