Milwaukee is best known for its breweries, festivals, and food; all of these impart a unique lens through which Meiko Krishok views the world. Her interest in travel, culture and cuisine emerged from these hometown influences as well as her family’s Korean roots. After college, Meiko taught in Detroit through Americorp, and like many others, she found a community through farming and activism. Meiko was eager to give back to others, especially in a way where she could share her knowledge of food; when she was put in touch with a woman selling an old concession trailer she seized the opportunity.
Armed with the food truck, Meiko saw a way to get involved in something community-based while also supporting local growers. Meiko evolved the food truck, Pink Flamingo, into a brick-and-mortar location and catering company, which has withstood the pandemic through their to-go business. Meiko’s entire company, with various aspects including the to-go business and the Pink Flamingo food truck, is known as Guerrilla Food. Meiko’s success, however, is not without massive hurdles faced by many small business owners, especially those who don’t have a traditional background in business. Taking the time to build her financial literacy and finding a network of collaborative small business owners helped Meiko stay afloat during especially tough times.
Meiko emphasizes the communal aspect of her business. Although she never received formal training in business, Meiko has taken advantage of many resources that have been made available to her and relies on her community and business network for support. She recognizes that there are huge learning curves that restrict access to capital and connections. Yet, she has felt supported as she has successfully navigated these challenges and secured funding. So much of the joy that Meiko takes from the business comes from bringing people together to enjoy food and culture. This is what makes Guerrilla Food stand out: their commitment to “using food as medicine”.