Diamonique Lundy ’21 MS had always been fascinated by the holistic approach of nutrition and the role our diets play in our overall health. “I love the idea of farm to table and of knowing where your ingredients come from,” she says. “Plus, I really enjoy cooking. It is so rewarding to use great ingredients and recipes to make healthy meals.”
Lundy’s coursework in Montclair’s Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science program added a new dimension to her thinking. “I learned that many communities, both urban and rural, do not have access to fresh ingredients, which leads to poor health and dietary diseases,” she says. “In addition, the communities that lacked access to healthy eating options tended to be populated by people of color.”
She began creating workshops to educate people about nutrition from a culturally competent viewpoint and began thinking about how she could make healthy, fresh food convenient and represent what people like to eat.
The result is SoLo’s Food, a meal prep service specializing in healthy and authentic soul, Caribbean and Latin food. Her company offers research-based meal plans that allow people to enjoy their cultural foods while also meeting their healthy eating goals. The entrepreneurial venture was a winning team at the 2020 Startup Montclair pitch competition, sponsored by the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
The company is already reaching a national market and Lundy has plans for more. She earned a coveted spot in Target’s Accelerator program, an online incubator for some of the country’s most promising entrepreneurs. “My goal is to get SoLo’s Food onto retail shelves, to bring healthy food to an even broader population,” she says.
“Montclair State provided my first adult experience with social justice,” Lundy continues, noting that as a student at Montclair, she worked part time on campus as a graduate program coordinator. “In addition to the conversations and projects that were part of my classes, Montclair connected me with volunteer opportunities at a community garden and food pantry in Paterson. I learned the importance of equity and inclusion, and of making sure everyone is represented and has a voice.”
It’s a philosophy that infuses all of Lundy’s entrepreneurial ventures, including WEALTTH Social, a social networking mobile app that helps business-to-consumer professionals connect in real life.
Despite the demands of entrepreneurship, network building and lifting up the talents of others, Lundy finds time to give back to the community. “I particularly like mentoring students,” she says. “I encourage them to always be authentic in what they believe and in their life’s mission. When you are sure of your purpose and goals, and you keep them front and center in your mind, you can put your energy into executing your plans.”
– Michele Hickey