North Minneapolis plant-based business to fight hunger, educate community on healthy eating

MINNEAPOLIS — There’s a mouth-watering smell coming from Mykela “Keiko” Jackson’s kitchen: Fried chicken is on the menu — chicken made from mushrooms.

“I want to really recreate soul foods and to make them food for the soul,” she said.

In the last few years, that’s what she’s been doing. Keiko transitioned to the Alkaline plant-based diet in 2018. It sparked the start of a journey.

“When I transitioned to the plant-based diet, I was, like, really amazed by all of the benefits. The mental clarity, the energy that I had. My eczema cleared away,” she said.

Keiko started sharing food through pop-ups in north Minneapolis. Then later as the head chef at Trio, where she curated a vegan menu, educating and empowering the Black community on the lifestyle along the way.

“I believe that having access to health foods, natural medicine and education should be a birthright. It should be free, essentially,” Keiko said.

It’s why she’s creating The Food Trap Project; a space for health and wellness within low-income communities.   



“You come, you take whatever you need, and if you can leave anything, leave some stuff for the next person,” she said.

Once it’s up and running, FTP will provide fresh produce, plant-based meals, vegan cookbooks and more to north Minneapolis, which is a classified food desert.

“We have disproportionately higher rates of diet-related illnesses,” Keiko said. “We’re, you know, disproportionately poverty-stricken. A lot of this is systemic issues. And people don’t understand you are what you eat. We say this, but we don’t really think about it.”

READ MORE: How a north Minneapolis woman made it her mission to bring healing and wellness to People of Color

Keiko believes a foundation for change starts with food.

“Centering this around food, and food being a baseline for us to do all these different things is super important,” she said.

It’s a movement she’s grateful to be a part of.

“I want more for our community so I’m willing to give more and more of myself and dedicate to this mission,” Keiko said.

Right now, The Food Trop Project is in the process of gaining sponsors and donors. It’s set to open mid-April at Sanctuary Church in north Minneapolis.

Keiko is hosting an FTP Art Show on March 17 at the MLX – Modus Locus Expansion. The show will feature Black artists and all proceeds go toward the project. Click here for more information.

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