Black Lives Matter. Black Voices Matter
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July 3rd, 2020
Black Lives Matter. Black Voices Matter
Plenty is committed to being actively anti-racist. You can read more about that below. However, we want to start with employee voices.
Our Black colleagues are leading the way. They decided to complete this statement, “For me, Black Lives Matter Means…”. We are using our public platforms to share their responses. There are no rules on if or how they respond, and submissions can be anonymous to protect our teammates’ privacy.
Our first statement comes from a team member, who wrote:
“For me, Black Lives Matter means that we have decided to take a substantive look at how we arrived at this point in history. We understand that black people in America are not at war with police or lawmakers – black people in America are at war with an idea of supremacy that is deeply woven into the fabric of this country. We understand that this part of our governing is not broken; the progenitors of this idea have indeed designed a system of oppression that is systemic and can be observed changing form over the course of history. We at Plenty are committed to calling this system out in all of its current forms and actively working to not only support our black community but be part of the necessary and long overdue change in an ill-intended cycle.”
– Brian Pedersen, Maintenance Lead CEA Systems
We will share more statements in the coming days and weeks. For now, thank you to Brian, and we’ll let his voice echo across our platforms before we post our next statement.
Food Justice is Racial Justice
As a company focused on growing fresh vegetables and fruits, we know that food justice is racial justice. The front line for us is food deserts. Structural racism has made access to nutritious, fresh food unequal. There are 55 million Americans living in food deserts. Communities of color—and Black Americans specifically—are significantly over-represented in these areas. Our mission is to make healthy, nutritious and delicious food available to everyone.
Our first step in our anti-racist work is to listen. We are listening to our employees and examining internal policies and programs for bias so we can make improvements. Beyond listening to our employees, we are engaging with the communities where our farms operate – the San Francisco Bay Area, Compton, and Laramie. We are listening to community leaders on how we can contribute to their important work.
Currently, our efforts include:
Build A More Inclusive Plenty
- Created a Black Lives Matter (BLM) & Diversity task force
- Designated a Diversity lead for the company
- Bolstered an escalation pathway to report instances of bias or discrimination
- Established an internal Black Lives Matter resource page, including options for action
- Held learning and listening sessions on bias, racism and how to build a thriving inclusive culture
- Committed to providing a fair and livable wage and ensure equitable pay
- Strengthening our diversity, equity & inclusion strategy to recruit, retain, grow and promote people of color at Plenty
Champion for Racial Justice and Food Justice
- Made Juneteenth a paid holiday and held session to use the day for action
- Committed $25,000 to the Compton United Relief Fund for food for the Compton Community
- Partnered with Gear Up and Compton Unified School District to teach plant science and the amazing world of plants to middle school students
- Donated to the Laramie Farmers Market SNAP program
- Establishing channels for reporting police misconduct in cities where we operate
Use our Platform for Good
- Increased our donations by 3X to local Bay Area food banks
- Committed to hiring minority-owned businesses as we build our farms
- Strengthened our supplier vetting process to ensure suppliers align with our values
- Made election day a paid holiday
- Amplifying Black colleagues’ voices across our social channels
Plenty’s ethos is relentless effort, iteration and learning. We will apply that ethos to our ongoing anti-racist work. Look for more updates here as we embark on our journey towards justice and equality.
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