Farmer and Chef Chris Williams Putting on for H Town
In the face of systemic racism, trailblazing Black farmer and chef Chris Williams is coming up with innovative ways to support the Black community in H Town. Williams is the owner and head chef of Lucielle’s restaurant in Houston, Texas, but he’s decided to go beyond the kitchen and use his non-profit Lucille’s 1913 to bring farming culture back to historic Texas neighborhoods.
- Fort Bend County donated 54 acres to the cause, which Williams has dedicated as a hiring opportunity for local residents. Residents will be employed to grow and harvest crops, and learn to make seasonings as they return to being “masters of the land.”
- Recent US Department of Agriculture data shows a significant decline in black farm operators. According to the USDA, only 45,000 of the 3.4 million farmers in the United States identify as Black. That’s only 1.5 percent! Williams seeks to bridge that gap by creating a farm-to-table network in which the Houston area is less reliant on foods brought in from the west and Mexico, and will be more inclined to cultivate their own produce locally. He hopes to inspire local families to take charge in the face of food inequality and build little farms at home!
- Lucille’s Fine Southern Food. Williams and his family have already made nationally acclaimed strides in facilitating their own farm to table network at “Houston’s Best Southern Restaurnt” Lucille’s, named after his great-grandmother Lucille B. Smith. Smith was an entrepreneur, chef, educator, inventor, and food corporation founder who created the first hot roll mix to be marketed in America! If you’re ever in the Houston area, visiting Lucille’s and trying out great-grandmama Lucille’s famous biscuits is a must.
We know that Black folks experience food deserts, empty shelves, and no good bad produce at a wayy higher rate than other groups. In 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, 24% of black households experienced food insecurity. That’s THREE TIMES the rate at which it was experienced by white folks. Big ups to the good brother, Chris Williams for setting the example.