YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE
THE SPRING FORWARD ISSUE
More than 49 million Americans suffer from food insecurity across the United States. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Core2Globe, Shadeed Abdul-Salaam, aims to combat this long-standing issue by serving food boxes to underserved communities throughout the state of Georgia.
A public, non-profit, Core2Globe addresses public health and environmental concerns that plague underserved communities. Their successful food distribution program is a part of their initiative to tackle food insecurity and combat hunger.
"Our position is being able to play a role in providing fresh fruits and vegetables to people," said Abdul-Salaam. "Our goal is to make sure that we can feed the people good food and help them to fight off the challenges from food desert deprivation to improve their health to fight diseases especially during the pandemic."
Public health advocate and scientist, Abdul-Salaam is an alumnus of both Morehouse College and Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. His biology and chemistry educational background led him to pursue a career with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he studied tobacco's harmful effects.
He is a current faculty member at Morehouse College, researching ethnobotany and medicinal properties of the plant and guiding aspiring scientists along with their studies. Abdul-Salaam's knowledge base is extensive, and he is sharing it to help others learn about healthy edible plants and teaching others how to grow their food through agricultural work.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive the unemployment rate, the need for food is steadily growing, leaving many families without adequate resources. Core2Globe has partnered with USDA and several local farmers to give fresh produce to several local communities in South Fulton County. For more than 11 months, Abdul-Salaam has helped feed thousands of individuals and given away more than one million and a half pounds worth of food.
"Farming, agriculture, and food security are associated with our liberation and our freedom," said Abdul-Salaam. "We have opportunities to utilize technology, indoor growing methods, and other strategies to make sure we can teach the people about agriculture. We want to feed you, but we also want you to learn how to feed yourself."
Abdul-Salaam is changing the narrative of how people view and consume food. One key initiative is his zero-waste prevention program, which helps prevent food waste and recycle unused food to feed farm animals. Core2Globe's zero-waste initiative program aims to recycle food so that it does not enter landfills, incinerators, or the ocean, which causes extreme harm to the environment.
"If schools throw away food, instead we can give it to farm animals versus the food going into a landfill," said Abdul-Salaam. "Our goal is to have a strong food ecosystem."
Several organizations have requested Core2Globe's food distribution services along with numerous schools, including Benjamin Banneker High School, Brookview Elementary School, Chattahoochee Hills Charter School, Fulton Leadership Academy, Westlake High School, and more. Core2Globe aims to partner with schools across the state of Georgia to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to families and individuals in need.
"We provide a farmers market at our farm, but we aim to establish farmer's markets for various school systems. We want teachers to go outside of their school building and make their food purchase before they go home with our Core2Globe farmers market," said Abdul-Salaam. "In the future, we want to offer an on-site farmer's market for schools, cities, and underserved areas around the state of Georgia and beyond."
In addition to teaching people about health and agriculture, Abdul-Salaam offers traveling excursions for students, individuals, and families. The travel experience provides a new perspective on farming and exposes how other countries use their land to produce food.
"We want to see cohorts of students that can learn different aspects of health, innovation, and agriculture," said Abdul-Salaam. "While also giving them opportunities to travel and see what they can do to help advance society and what they can learn from the societies and communities that they visit."
Core2Globe continues on a successful path due to its staff's outstanding leadership, including the administration of Chief Operating Officer Joseph McNeal, who plays a vital role in its success. The innovation-based organization is looking forward to offering additional programming to uplift underserved communities throughout Georgia and beyond.