By Isaiah Montoya
Photos courtesy of One Grub Community
This issue of CityBEAT not only highlights local non-profit organization Planty for the People but also its predecessor and current partner; the vegan eatery One Grub Community. One Grub Community shares the same general vision as Planty for the People while bringing the locally grown produce to life.
Owner of One Grub Community Roman Wilcox has been a chef for quite a while and in 2016 he utilized a food truck to begin his foray into veganism. “I wanted to have a program in place to bring the healthiest food access possible to the people of El Paso,” says Wilcox.
Wilcox’s love for his hometown of El Paso is evident in many of his statements and it is this desire that drove him to continue on his mission of bringing healthy options to the Sun City even after the food truck broke down. When the food truck was in operation Wilcox would often make donations to underserved communities and the organizations that help them, including The Opportunity Center.
Through Wilcox and his wife, the non- profit Planty for the People and One Grub Community still have food outreach for the needy at the forefront of their mission. “We want to make sure that no matter what a person’s circumstances are, they have access to healthy and fresh food,” says Wilcox.
After the food truck broke down the Wilcox’s were presented with an opportunity to serve breakfast at the farmer’s market, where the market coordinator urged Wilcox to continue creating healthy food products but with possibly another marketing style. “I had always wanted a deli,” explains Wilcox. “I went for it and our clientele base gave us continuous sellouts for a year-and-a-half. This gave us the confidence to go forward with vegan food in El Paso.”
With some vegan success under his belt and with the help of First Christian Church, which had available garden beds on their property, the non-profit dream materialized. “We wanted to use volunteers to help build up the gardens,” says Wilcox. “We wanted to provide free education and make delicious food that’s healthy with no trans-fats or saturated fat or cholesterol. We wanted to keep in mind those who choose a vegan lifestyle in a city that doesn’t usually look for that.” Wilcox goes as far as to consider people who are allergic to shellfish and those with a gluten intolerance.
Wilcox’s thoughtfulness regarding the needs of the community allow him to constantly create new vegan dishes. “We want the cooks to have fun and be able to explore new things,” says Wilcox. According to Wilcox the community’s response has been enthusiastic each week regardless of what’s on the menu; but the Bomburrito may be the all-time favorite; which is a unique vegan version of a breakfast burrito wrapped in a 14-inch tortilla.
Getting to this point with One Grub Community may have had its up’s and down’s but according to Wilcox, the future looks bright. “We are on the verge of breaking through and we have some very interesting projects coming up,” says Wilcox.
Currently the church building on which Planty for the People and One Grub Community is located is up for sale which has worried many people…but not the Wilcox’s. “We’re building up wherever our location may be in one year. This is going to be a gathering place for all of us like-minded people that love each other like a family. It doesn’t matter what you have in your pocket or what clothes youre wearing, you have a safe place here. We also give a warm Chuco welcome to all vistors from other places.”
For more information on One Grub Community go to www.onegrubcommunity.com, call 915-588-7078 or go to 901 Arizona Ave. Wed. through Fri. 10 am to 6 pm.