Chef launches programs to teach Brooklyn community about healthy, vegan food alternatives

Donna Davis is making a difference in her community, one vegan meal at a time. 
Also known as Cheff' Rootsie, Davis is also a community educator. She has launched programs to teach the community about implementing healthy vegan options into their meals. 
"Particularly in the Black and brown community, we're suffering from these types of diseases, so being healthy and seeing my people healthy, and people in general, it's really, really important to me,” said Davis. 
Davis says she became a vegan more than 20 years ago, making a lifestyle change for her weight loss journey. 
She was able to start her own business, Veggie Grub, with the help of NYCHA’s Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability program. 
"What they were offering is what I needed to take my business to the next level, to become a real businessperson,” said Davis. 
She later graduated and won an opportunity to work out of a complimentary commercial kitchen. Although the kitchen closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, she’s been able to continue cooking with the help of the owners of East Coast Street Tacos in East New York. 
Davis has been recognized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and has won awards for her cooking. 
She now sells some of her food items at Lily’s Vegan Pantry and is hoping to one day open her own chain of vegan restaurants.