One Activist's Entrepreneurial Plan For Saving Black Infant Lives In Kalamazoo

May 2, 2019

Tunde Wey at WMUK's studios in April 2019.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

It’s an ongoing crisis in Kalamazoo County: African-American infants are about three times as likely to die before their first birthday as white children. While public agencies and nonprofits are working to change that, New Orleans-based chef, artist and activist Tunde Wey has his own plan.

"I’m starting a company and the company is going to sell prepackaged food products and all the revenue that we get from the sales will go to funding interventions led by black women to address black infant death," Wey, who was the keynote speaker at the Michigan Racial Equity in the Food System Summit in Kalamazoo last month, told WMUK.

The company will sell "prepackaged food products," starting with applesauce, which Wey said will be locally produced. 

Hear a wide-ranging interview with Tunde Wey

"I want to grow this company to viability, and when the company is viable I'm going to transfer the ownership of the company to black women. The challenge that I'm issuing to this community is for the institutions that are here to support this company. And that they should take an inventory of their current vendor list and their business and see how many of their vendors are black women," he added.