New to Vegan Food Justice Activism?

Learn From, Connect With and Donate to These VOC Organizations Already Doing the Work (part 1)

Hi there, everyone!

This is part one of a continued series. Consider this the Black Feminist Vegan starter guide to vegan activism as a praxis for Black feminism.

I say this because not only do these organizations/collectives  provide essential vegan resources to Black and Brown communities while working to alleviate human and non-human oppression, but they also have informed so much of my vegan activism. From now on, I will probably send people here for resources on current topics within vegan food justice and vegan activism. Most importantly, I’ll send ’em here for the purpose of effective vegan transition resources that center Black and Brown experiences. 

So, if I sent you here….. heyyyyyy! Thanks for coming!

For each org/collective, I will highlight three resources that I feel particularly helped me on my journey to becoming, and evolving as, a very passionate Black vegan activist.


Food Empowerment Project

2011marchalert1.jpgFood Empowerment Project seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. We encourage choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, the unavailability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas, and the importance of not purchasing chocolate that comes from the worst forms of child labor. Check out this brochure.

F.E.P. Chocolate List 

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The purpose of the list is to inform consumers on how to buy ethically sourced chocolate that does not involve exploitation of humans or nonhuman animals, but also to inform us on where companies stand on the issue. As chocolate is not a necessity, this resource brought my attention to one way in which we unknowingly ascribe to systems of exploitation that can obviously, given the 100+ recommended brands, be avoided. This is an industry of exploitation that both vegans and non-vegans need to be more aware of.
For example, they have broken the list down into categories to distinguish between chocolates they feel comfortable recommending, given their sources and their stance on the issue, and companies who they cannot recommend. Reasons for not being able to recommend range from no response to failure to disclose supplier information. (Among the companies that are blatantly not recommended are, of course, the big name companies such as Hershey’s and Nestle.)
I recommend learning from this particular campaign because it speaks about exploitation of environment, animals and workers by dairy system as well as available alternatives.
Specifically, this campaign addresses the fact that cows in Sonoma County consume 31 gallons a day— which is a significant amount of water that could be allocated to low-income communities or garden crops especially considering the state is dealing with a drought. The state’s allocation of water to dairy farms is especially unjust considering the workers sometimes lack food and water for themselves.

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This campaign is a salient example of action that is being taken against environmental racism. In order to take action toward alleviating environmental racism, it is important to be aware of what it is and how it impacts our communities. Safeway stores have land contracts that deliberately prevent other grocery stores from moving in for up to 15 years. This prevents local grocers from occupying these spaces even when they are vacant.

Afro Vegan Society

36340030_1543929109068165_9075564504049254400_n.jpgAfro-Vegan Society is a non-profit organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. Through community engagement, event planning, providing vegan resources, and writing, AVS is working to make the vegan lifestyle accessible, affordable, and approachable in predominately black areas and neighborhoods. We focus our efforts on working exclusively with black people and communities, and embrace Afrocentric art, culture, and ideas.

Afro-Vegan Society is empowering our community by using veganism as a tool to overcome systemic race-based oppression shared among those who have a common African ancestry. 

I recommend this essay to every Black person who considers veganism for social justice, advocacy, decolonization and/or ethical reasons. This resource highlights the perceived competition between black liberation and animal liberation movements, while considering the common root of all systemic oppression.
When we consider systemic oppression to be structured, we realize that structures within this capitalist system that are used to exploit us as Black and Brown people are connected, in profit, to those that exploit nonhuman animals through the meat, dairy and egg industries. Through this lens, we can better understand how one way to work toward complete and collective liberation is to discontinue financial support from animal agribusiness.
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As we recognize the suffering caused by white supremacist structures, we must also consider how white supremacy exploits both our bodies and mother cows by way of dairy consumption and allegiance to the dairy industry.
I recommend this resource because it highlights three important elements to consider as we begin divesting from the dairy industry. The first being the impact dairy has on our bodies, especially as African American people. The second would be the exploitative practices of dairy industry on human and nonhuman bodies. Lastly, in response to what we’ve learned, guidance on how to eat and live a dairy-free lifestyle.
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Thrive Baltimore and The Greener Kitchen

In addition to those significant resources, Afro-Vegan Society actively improves vegan access, awareness and education through two amazing community venues.

The first being Thrive Baltimore which is a community resource center that is run by a collective of food, environmental and social justice activists, our mission is to provide education, resources and support to anyone interested in adopting a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

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Part of Thrive Baltimore’s mission is to provide free plant-based cooking demos, nutrition lectures, food tastings, film screenings and other fun, informational programming in an open, socially conscious environment that makes it a space where all are welcome. Thrive is dedicated to encouraging people to make healthier, kinder choices that will enable them to live more conscious lifestyles. Click here to check out their upcoming events!

Next, we have the Greener Kitchen– Baltimore’s first all-vegan deli and carry out. The Greener Kitchen describes their purpose as delivering on our promise to bring affordablesustainable, and healthier food to those who need it.

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As a plant-based cooperative kitchen, vegan food distributor, deli, and caterer, their mission is to completely transform Baltimore’s food landscape.

I love Afro-Vegan Society because they are actively closing the gap within their community that we as Black and Brown vegan activists are raising awareness for. Definitely connect with them in some way if you are ever in the DMV. Jamila and Brenda are both such amazing, beautiful Black vegan activists!


I truly hope that this resource is helpful to you in some way on your vegan journey as a Black/Brown person! In my journey as a young Black vegan, I have definitely learned that it is most helpful to our end goal support activists that are alleviating the issues that we recognize prevent access to veganism in Black/Brown communities instead of working over ourselves, we can get in where we fit in to help the movement expand and progress in the direction of complete and collective liberation.

Thank you for sharing space with me today.

Ready to learn more? Head over to Part Two!

As always, keep up with me on Instagram: @BlackFeministVegan.
Peace!

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