March 4th, 2021
By Kelsey Westbrook
It’s no secret that so many industries have actively and blatantly co-opted ideas and movements deeply rooted in Black history, and the health and wellness community is no stranger to that kind of thievery and, well, irony. We see ads for “Yoga with Cannabis” classes, white women in Lululemon calmly stretching in prayer pose splayed across our screens, while those same folks would never lift a finger to liberate a Black man serving a life sentence for marijuana charges. To that end, our society looks at vegan and vegetarianism as a white trend — vegan food must be a bowl of lettuce scooped by a white “Trustafarian” that couldn’t possibly create a dish that would sustain, much less have an ounce of soul or warmth whatsoever. In actuality, veganism has deep roots in West Africa, and a holistic approach to health and wellness stems far beyond today’s whitewashed $12 salad bowl and yoga pants, and rather, from the African Diaspora.
That’s where Change Today, Change Tomorrow and our Food Justice programs come into play: to change the narrative around what healthy and delicious food looks like today, promote Black health and wellness products, and break down barriers so that West Louisville has access to nutrient-dense food at no cost. The Healthy Change Vegan Cookoff, which took place on February 28th at St. George’s Episcopal Gym, (a part of the Healthy Change series) was an incredible success with seven talented chefs, volunteers, community partner Trees Louisville, and more. Healthy Change was able to showcase what amazing vegan food can truly be at its core: flavorful, filling, nuanced, and most of all, delicious.
“Today, we came out to the community to try and help start some people’s imagination with vegan ingredients and healthy cooking,” said Chris, who volunteered at the event, “and hopefully, we’re able to [pull] some excitement about new ingredients and ideas.”
Healthy Change provided 110 produce bags courtesy of Cleav’s Family Farm, Health Daddy Wow assorted teas and supplements, and refreshments by Juice Bar. Attendees were able to sample the culinary delights from talented chefs including Charisma Eclectic, Marlita Harris, Nea Roby, Alexandra Quintela, Anna Evans, and Sultra Mathematiks. This quarter’s winner was Sultra of Sultra’s Vegan Kitchen sharing the title with last quarter’s Jasmine Sanders of J’s Bites.
“I like the vegan dishes, you don’t see that in the West End,” said West Louisville resident, Isaiah, “it was nice to try different foods. It felt like a neighborly environment.” Change Today, Change Tomorrow is changing food justice one event, one produce box, and one vegetable at a time (stay tuned for more info on our Change Gardens plans). Join the food justice movement and find out more about supporting our initiatives by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.