Ron Simmons of Master Blend Family Farms

Ron Simmons of Master Blend Family Farms

Ron Simmons

Ron Simmons of Master Blend Family Farms, LLC was selected as one of the top three professionals who will join the inaugural class of Kingsford’s Preserve the Pit Fellowship.

Simmons was selected among hundreds of applicants and will receive a $16,000 grant along with immersive training throughout 2021 and the opportunity to get one-on-one mentorship with industry leaders.

According to Simmons, he learned that Master Blend had been selected via email.

“I had to read the content of the message a few times to really wrap my head around what was about to be taking place,” said Simmons. “Even today, I am still

shocked and full of gratitude.”

Simmons said they want to use the grant funds to develop an innovative way

to inspire more potential farmers.

“The industry of agriculture and the number of new farmers are declining,” said Simmons. “It needs more young inspiring minds to help develop new ways of farming to help feed our great nation.”

Creating a path of opportunity for future generations is something the Simmons’ hope to accomplish. The family expressed a desire to transition one of the farms, into a farm school and develop a hog barbecue station.

The selection for the PTP Fellowship was based on each applicants’ connection to barbecue, their contributions to the legacy of the Black barbecue community and their commitment to fueling its future. Participants were judged by Kingsford and a panel of industry leaders, among them was Kevin Bludso, Howard Conyers, Devita Davison, Bryan Furman, Rashad Jones and Amy Mills.

“We are blown away by the interest in Preserve the Pit and the passion that was conveyed by applicants for strengthening the Black barbecue community,” said Shaunte Mears-Watkins, vice president of strategy and marketing for Kingsford. “The selected fellows are motivated to begin their experience as a Preserve the Pit fellow, and we’re happy to be able to support them throughout their journey.”

Simmons said he is looking forward to having the opportunity to expand their network

and to working with the Kingsford team.

“I am looking forward to learning new techniques of preparing and showcasing our Pit skills,” said Simmons. “I am proud that my existing MB team has worked alongside my family to get our brand to where it is today.”

Kingsford is a leader in barbecue. The company expresses it’s commitment to preserving the culture and history of Black barbecue in America and investing in its future

Ena Sellers may be reached at esellers@ncweeklies.com