Queer Food Fund Connects LGBTQ+ Community and Food Industry

The Queer Food Fund (QFF) was founded in July 2020 by Vanessa Parish, Jona Beliu, Mavis-Jay Sanders, and Gabrielle Lenart as a mutual aid resource. The organization aims to address the increased poverty rates and hunger faced by the LGBTQ+ community, particularly within the food industry. QFF started as a not-for-profit hub with a 25-person board of directors, focusing on initiatives such as the Queer Food Directory, an online database connecting LGBTQ+ individuals in the food industry.

One of QFF’s major projects is the Queer Food Fund, which raises money for mutual aid projects benefiting Black queer and trans individuals. In its first three years, the fund raised and distributed around $45,000, with $10,000 raised in 2021 and $20,000 raised in 2023. Each recipient receives $100. However, due to the current political climate and the impact of the pandemic, the fund raised significantly less in 2023, totaling $5,000 but still reaching 50 people.

QFF also engages in corporate consulting and community involvement. The organization partners with the James Beard Foundation to host virtual education panels for niche groups within the industry, such as LGBTQ+ cookbook writers and food photographers. QFF is also expanding into food policy by collaborating with agriculture organizations.

The foundation’s mission extends to working with soup kitchens, helping restaurants find donation centers for their food surplus, and spreading the word about community events and aid opportunities. QFF encourages small businesses to engage in mutual aid by starting small and finding ways to help within their own models.

The most important aspect of mutual aid, according to QFF, is to provide support without asking for demographic or identity information. The organization believes in trusting individuals’ needs and allowing them to allocate the aid as they see fit.

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