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Focus on business of food during 31Ways, 31Days

A century ago, agriculture was the primary occupation for 218,000 black farmers with 15 million acres of land in 1910, but a migration to urban areas, fueled in part by thousands of lynchings, shifted many of them to working in manufacturing.In this new millennium, a nostalgic sentiment for a return to the dishes which remind black families of those rural setting is fueling a new wave of contemporary black-owned restaurants.
Some of those chefs are expanding their markets to offer products for sale in grocery stores for home comsumption.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, African-American households spend 14.5 percent of their income on food, which could mean as much as $100 billion in consumer expenditures.

The most recent information indicates that black restaurants are taking in $6.1 billion in sales, indicating a vast potential for growth.

31Ways 31Days helps black consumers and other interested buyers make strategic decisions to buy from businesses which are most likely to make an impact on the high unemployment rates, particularly the 40 percent unemployment rate for black youth.

On Aug. 4, the suggested habit to begin is to buy the products of black grocery manufacturers or shop with black-owned grocers.

On Aug. 5, the recommendation is to dine at one of the 12,000 black owned restaurants.

For Saturday, Aug. 6, supporting black farmers through farmers markets, urging restaurants to carry their goods or supporting organizations which enhance rural communities is the preferred choice.

National Black Business Month co-founders Frederick E. Jordan, P.E. and John William Templeton enjoyed a lunch at Gussie's Chicken and Waffles, 1521 Eddy St. to begin the month -- an example of a new eatery which uses traditional family recipes to woo diverse audiences.

They've made it a favorite meeting spot, the kind of tradition which can make a huge difference for creating economic development in communities which need it most.

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