What is Wakulima USA
Wakulima USA is a farming and food business cooperative that advances small business development and food sovereignty for low income immigrants and people of color in the Puget Sound region. Wakulima means “Farmers” in Kiswahili the most widely spoken language in Africa. Wakulima’s founding members are Kiswahili speaking African immigrants who are committed to preserving traditional farming and food ways and creating shared prosperity through cooperative economics. Our organization empowers people to harness their traditional food ways, modern farming techniques and food innovation strategies to build successful businesses centered around healthy, sustainable, local farming and food production.
Wakulima aims to increase the total number, net income, success rate and growth rate of farmers and food business entrepreneurs from the communities we serve. We also aim to decrease health disparities resulting from food inequities and to increase the perceived value of traditional food ways in these
Wakulima produces and sells healthy produce and foods to consumers, restaurants and food businesses throughout Washington State. The cooperative currently includes 20 farmers from various countries in Africa who cultivate in Western Washington. Wakulima’s vision is to expand operations to a total of 20 acres, preferably on a large farm where our facilities will also be located.These facilities will include a Food Production Center,Farming and Food Business Development Center and Community Kitchen and Cultural Center.
Our Food Production Center will serve as our primary storage, production and distribution facility. The coop will aggregate purchase, store and distribute farm inputs for members and will act as an integrator, collecting the output from members, undertaking manufacturing, and delivering product downstream through our marketing channels. We will make value addition one of our core focuses - transformation, packaging, distribution, and marketing of farm products (both crop and livestock).
Our Farming and Food Business Development Center will provide farming and food business training, support and enterprise incubation to aspiring entrepreneurs from the communities we serve. We will provide the farmers and entrepreneurs we serve with mentorship, farmland, processing and storage facilities and marketing and distribution support.
Our Community Kitchen and Cultural Center will provide a welcoming space for diverse communities to come together and share their foods, cultures, values and stories. It will be a venue for community events, farming instruction, cooking and nutrition classes, and cultural programs. It will include a commercial kitchen that is accessible and affordable for the communities we serve. It will also serve as a knowledge center for farming, food culture, cooking and nutrition.