Our Rest & Dream 2023 Sabbatical & Fundraiser

Dear Woke Foods Community,

We hope that reading this finds you at ease and in the midst of enjoying the Fall season. We (Woke Foods) find ourselves – both personally and as co-op member-owners – experiencing bursts of motivation to keep pushing while also aware of the need to pause, reflect, and regroup.

We write to share that we are tired (like many of you all) and taking a year off. We are sharing a request for community support in raising $6,000 to support us in making this year worry free and help us cover bills and debts accumulated during the pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic, we hit the ground running with a weekly meal distribution in collaboration with the North Bronx Collective, an Instagram Live series dedicated to the basics of growing food, and an 8-week online program called Earth Lab. In 2021, we opened a restaurant in the north coast of the Dominican Republic and next month marks our third season contributing programming to the South Bronx Food Hub Collective’s monthly food distribution.

We had, and still have, a big vision for Woke Foods and want to continue doing this sort of work, plus so much more in a sustainable way. The reality shows us, however, that being underfunded has created burnout for the co-op members, all of whom are working class black women.

We’re SO proud to have brought to center plant-based ancestral Dominican food as well as African diasporic & transnational food and land sovereignty work.

In order to continue, we need time away to rest, recalibrate, and obtain clarity of mind. Taking the year off actually looks like us engaging in a series of reflective conversations to strategize over and dream about the future of Woke Foods. We will return to our mission once we’ve allowed ourselves the time and space we need. 

We know we are beloved and feel immense gratitude for our broad network of folks centering food sovereignty, food justice, cooperative work, environmental justice, land stewardship, and Black liberation. 

Because our work is at the intersection of the aforementioned, it takes that much more effort and energy from us to show up. We deserve to be funded to imagine new worlds. We hope this time, this sabbatical of sorts, can bring us closer to opportunities, resources, and a healthier structure.

Supporting Woke Foods at this time looks like:

  • Donating directly to us via our PayPal Campaign, Venmo, CashApp, or check (1231 Lafayette Avenue 2nd Floor, Bronx NY 10474)
  • Placing an order from our upcoming “Bills, Bills, Bills” Back-to-School Bake Sale in New York City (Raina and Ysanet will be in Central Park this Saturday ready for you to pick up your order!)

It’s really challenging to build sustainability into our business model and there is no manual for us to counter capitalism. While we’re in our sabbatical, if there are business owners who want to share their experience and expertise with us or words of advice on how we can grow in ways that are financially sustainable while being connected to our values, contact us info@wokefoods.coop <3

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you!

Ysanet, Raina, and Frances

Ysanet Batista

Ysanet Batista is a queer Black-Dominican woman, born in Harlem, NY and raised in between the Dominican Republic and Hialeah, FL. Ysanet graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and spent a couple of years working in major hotel companies before transitioning to community based work. When she is not cooking or developing Woke Foods, Ysanet is helping other people start their own worker-cooperative businesses at Green Worker Cooperatives at their Coop Academy. Her passions include holistic cooking, farming, writing, and community organizing. She is inspired by the power and magic of Black and Brown people, the ocean, and the Now. She is currently a student at Farm School NYC earning a certificate in Urban Agriculture.