“My big audacious dream was to grow a radically new, decidedly delicious and truly equitable spice trade, to push a broken system into an equal exchange.”
Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Sana Javeri Kadri experienced the intersection of food and culture. Living in the US though, she came to realize that little had changed in the world of South Asian spices since the Middle Ages—farmers still got the short end of the stick, supply chains were long and complicated, and the spices that came to market were long past fresh.
Returning to Mumbai, she threw herself into research, visiting farms and markets, and taking meetings at The Indian Institute of Spices Research, an encounter she describes as “life-changing”.
Starting with just one spice, turmeric, her “big audacious dream was to grow a radically new, decidedly delicious, and truly equitable spice trade, to push a broken system into an equal exchange.” This involved sourcing directly from farmers and paying them a true living wage, as well as encouraging regenerative farming practices and establishing transparency in the supply chain.
But their care for their partner farmers goes beyond simply wages. Through their Farm Worker Fund, Sana and her team seek to prioritize the social and economic well-being of the farming communities with short and long-term solutions for providing access to basic rights, health, education, and dignified living.
For the folks at Diaspora, community shapes everything they do, and allows them to tell their own stories of “freedom, struggle, and diaspora through food”.
“We believe that every woman has the right to create the life she wants for herself.”
According to Forbes, on average worldwide, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And BIPOC women earn even less. At current rates, they estimate it will take 257 years to close that pay gap. LONA aims to hurry that timeline.
By providing grants, mentors, and expert advice to female-founded start-ups and businesses, they enable women to create economic opportunity for themselves and other women, and to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.
From South Asian queer spice company Diaspora to rural Indigenous artisans in Guatemala to Black-owned food businesses in the Bay Area of California, LONA’s grantee program powers long-term, self-sustainable solutions for female business owners. “We believe that every woman has the right to create the life she wants for herself.”
And to spread the love and support even further, LONA encourages grantees to act as mentors to those who come after them, to positively impact a broader population of women and girls as they pay it forward.