The SHIFT Fellowship

Our work to build a more equitable and just food economy requires everyone involved to play a role. 

We’re proud to partner with Associated Buyers, a local natural foods distributor with 34 years of experience championing local products, to launch a rotating 6-month fellowship for a BIPOC-owned product company in our kitchen. 

Through this partnership, Associated Buyers provides sales support, mentor connections, and marketing support and CommonWealth Kitchen supports the company to scale their production.

Why We Created This Fellowship

The current specialty foods industry is exciting and dynamic, but its structure leaves many qualified entrepreneurs locked out of opportunity. It also denies the industry access to new talent and novel products, as it is largely limited to those with large sums of capital and connections.

As one step towards changing this system, Associated Buyers commits to supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs by partnering with our entrepreneurs, providing resources and support to increase their influence, economic contribution, and representation. 

Join us!

We are looking for partners to offer valuable expertise and support. Reach out to us to learn more. 

  • Retailers: Can you offer a sales meeting, funding,  dedicated space on the shelf, or waive slotting fees for the Fellow and other BIPOC food businesses?
  • Consultants: Can you offer pro bono consulting, seminar fees, specific expertise, knowledge, or connections?
  • Sponsors: Can you offer funds or services? 

Our Inaugural Fellow: Kamaal Jarrett
Founder of Hillside Harvest

Hillside Harvest is a gourmet, Caribbean American sauce and condiment company crafting flavor-forward products that inspire consumers to explore delicious new ways of enjoying their favorite dishes.

Kamaal Jarrett, founder of Hillside Harvest. Photo: Katie Noble

Our Second Fellow: Ruby Chan
Founder of FreshZen

FreshZen Foods is a premium, plant-based Asian food company serving the food service and retail markets. We make gluten-free, vegan,  Asian chili sauce and pestos.

Ruby Chan, founder of FreshZeFood. Food Photos: Ploy Khunisorn