Re-imagining traditional African favorites with Global Village Foods

Husband-and-wife team Damaris and Melvin Hall transformed Global Village Foods, once a community African restaurant, into a growing producer of ready-to-eat meals. 

Damaris grew up in Kenya, where simple fresh ingredients and rich aromatic spices created vibrant traditional dishes for family gatherings and communal celebrations.

A world away, Mel, from Memphis, cherished Sunday dinners with three generations of family around a table full of bold, soulful Southern fare. 

The two met in Kenya and settled in Vermont, a state well known for its slow food movement and strong community. They began a food business, Global Village Foods, based on their favorite recipes. Out of local food festivals, farmers markets, and a restaurant, they built up an enthusiastic following for African-inspired foods. 

As parents of a child who had severe food allergies, they realized how challenging it was to find flavorful, nutritious, good food options. They believed everyone deserved to have a great-tasting meal that fit their needs, and so they re-imagined traditional African favorites as allergy-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free meal options. 

To share the warmth and comfort of fresh-made dishes with the ease and convenience of ready-to-eat frozen meals, Demaris and Mel created Global Village Cuisine. As demand for their products grew, especially at universities, Demaris and Melvin needed a loan to build inventory and hire additional staff. They turned to Fair Food Fund for assistance. 

In 2022, Fair Food Fund provided a participation loan to Global Village Foods in partnership with Vermont-based Flexible Capital Fund. With this collaborative investment, Mel and Demaris were able to grow their business at a key time. We were excited to provide a loan to support a plant-based food business, bringing culturally relevant, locally sourced food options into the marketplace.


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