What Is the Cheese Culture Coalition?
The mission of The Cheese Culture Coalition is to promote equity and inclusion within the cheese industry by empowering BIPOC communities through education.
They offer cheese education free of charge to young students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour starting from elementary school. Each class has a program tailor-made for those students. The time, number of cheeses tasted, and even the language used to communicate is based on the needs of the class. By working with the teachers and school administrators we can create engaging and educational experiences.
They also have the Cheese Education Grant. The Cheese Education Grant is given to BIPOC individuals who have an interest in beginning, expanding, or advancing their careers in the cheese industry. It is an open ended grant
that can be used for, but not limited to: funding travel and admission to the American Cheese Society conference, educational producer visits, scholarships for higher education, the Certified Cheese Professional exam, or other
certifications, or funding for workshops or classes through producers or other teachers.
Why Is the Cheese Culture Coalition Important?
Founder Whitney Roberts has spent years working in the cheese industry as a monger, maker, and educator. For years she’d seen the lack of diversity and wondered how she could make cheese more accessible to BIPOC individuals. In the summer of 2020, she founded the Cheese Culture Coalition with the goal of making careers in cheese, animal husbandry, and land stewardship more accessible to marginalized communities.
Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Colour have been stewards of the land, animals, and food production for generations, but have had lands and opportunities stolen. The CCC is here to encourage educational and career
growth for folx from these communities. The board is comprised of cheesemakers, mongers, photographers, designers, educators, and marketing professionals. Having different shades of representation in so many aspects of the cheese industry is crucial if we want to inspire the next generation. What we do today will inspire and help to create a more inclusive and equitable future for the cheese industry.
Where Does the Money Go?
The Cheese Education Grant is given to BIPOC individuals who have an interest in beginning, expanding, or advancing their careers in the cheese industry. It is an open-ended grant that can be used for, but not limited to: funding travel and admission to the American Cheese Society conference, educational producer visits, scholarships for higher education, the Certified Cheese Professional exam, or other certifications, or funding for workshops or classes through producers or other teachers. After two years of virtual conference, ACS will be holding an in-person conference July 2022 in Portland, Oregon. The Cheese Culture Coalition is raising funds to send at least one BIPOC industry person to conference. This will include their registration, hotel, flight, and ACS membership if they are not already a member.
In addition to the grant, The Cheese Culture Coalition uses funds for classes. These expenses include (but are not necessarily just limited to) purchasing educational materials, cheese, product delivery, packaging and more. While
our teachers and board are volunteers, we do have minimal operational costs that are paid for with donations.
Once the pandemic allows for easier and safer travel, we will be announcing our grant awards for folx to travel domestically or internationally to gain experiences and education that they may not otherwise have the opportunity
How To Get Involved
The Cheese Education Program specifically focuses on the cheese education of school aged students in underrepresented communities. This program brings comprehensive cheese education to schools through assemblies or workshops/virtual workshops in which a volunteer or representative will come directly to the students. For more information or to get your school involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org