The lack of affordable healthy food options in underserved communities has been an ongoing issue across the country, and a Brooklyn-based millennial entrepreneur is looking to change that. Francesca Chaney, 22, opened up a restaurant called Sol Sips in an effort to introduce affordable vegan cuisine to Bushwick, Live Civil reported.
Chaney was inspired to open her own restaurant after noticing the lack of healthy dining options in her community, the news outlet writes. She started making her own juices at home and eventually began selling them at local food festivals. After seeing success with the festivals, she decided to open a brick-and-mortar store earlier this year. To ensure that her meals and beverages are affordable, Chaney’s restaurant allows customers to pay what they wish on Saturday afternoons.
“I guess there was this assumption that I was doing this to be a hero or something,” she said in an interview with Elle. “[But] it was for me first and foremost. Then it extended to community because just living in East New York in high school… and knowing that there were not options for me to have a healthy vegetarian meal outside of my home… just because the option isn’t there doesn’t mean that we’re not seeking the option.” She hopes that her entrepreneurial journey will inspire other Black millennials to become business owners and that they will create ventures that will positively impact their communities.
There has been a major effort to bring juice bars and other affordable healthy food options to impoverished neighborhoods. Hip-hop artists Styles P and Jadakiss launched Juices For Life, a chain of juice bars created to bring healthy meals to neighborhoods that are considered food deserts. Earlier this month, it was announced that Styles P would be partnering with PETA to promote plant-based diets.