I made these yesterday morning for my 4 year old’s birthday party. They were a fantastic hit, enjoyed by everyone. I surprised quite a few non-vegan folk who didn’t know that it was possible to make a superior tasting cupcake without eggs, animal based butter, and animal based milk. I enjoyed photographing my masterpiece.
I got the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Save the World via Chow website. I did my own modifications for the recipe. Because the birthday party was for 2-6 years olds, I thought it would be a good idea to reduce the sugar that the recipe calls for by 50% and replace it with coconut sugar which has a low glycemic index and can prevent the crash and burn hyper kid syndrome that many birthday cupcakes are known to produce. I also ended up using 50% less sugar for the vegan butter cream frosting recipe as well (I used my own recipe for the buttercream frosting which I will share towards the end of this post).
What makes these cupcakes special is that they are not only vegan and organic; most of the ingredients I used came from brands that are much more ethical than many other brands selling vegan foods. This is because ‘cruelty-free’ vegan products often promote the idea that cruelty-free means no non-human animal may have been directly harmed or killed, but the way the ingredient were sourced could come from human exploitation and abuse which is common-place within a capitalist food system built on racialized and sexualized exploitation.My dissertation explored this phenomenon of “cruelty-free” vegan products that are marketed as compassionate and sustainable, despite the human suffering and pain that had gone into producing them…and the disturbing reaction of so many food companies and pro-vegan patrons who do not care about this. *I used coconut manna to make my buttercream frosting. I love coconut manna and everyone agreed that the frosting was fantastic because of the fullness of taste and texture that the coconut manna brought.
Buttercream Vanilla Frosting Ingredients
3/4 cup Nutiva Buttery Spread
1/4 cup Coconut Manna
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
3/4 cup of Confectioner’s sugar (I made my own using the Dry Vitamix blender container and putting in the Coconut Sugar)
Instructions: Whip all ingredients on high, using a mixer, until creamy and fluffy. Apply to cupcakes once they are cooled down.
Here are the brands I used for cocoa, sugar, coconut oil, shortening, vanilla, and coconut manna that were fairly traded, vegan, and hopefully caused the least amount of suffering (in comparison to other brands).
And here is the recipe book where the cupcake recipe is from by Moskowitz and Romero: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Click on the image to get it now!
This event has ended. To Buy recordings, go here. If you registered and paid for the live event you already have access via Anymeeting.com. We will also be turning the proceedings into an edited volume. Click here for more details.
TIME: 10am-5pm PDT Zone (Each Day)
DATES: April 24-25, 2015
This event has ended. To Buy recordings, go here. If you registered and paid for the live event you already have access via Anymeeting.com.
The Sistah Vegan Project’s Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference will bring together scholars, writers, activists and community organizers to examine the intersections of the #blacklivesmatter movement and veganism.
Designed for black vegans, vegans of color and their white allies, this interactive, online event, offers an opportunity for collaborative discussion, building networks of engagement and knowledge sharing. The conference will also work to bring forward suggestions and inspiration to build momentum for collective change.
In this time, when large numbers of people are taking to the streets under the #blacklivesmatter banner, this year’s conference’s workshops and talks ask:
– How do veganism and #blacklivesmatter intersect?
– What does a vegan praxis of “black lives matter” look like?
– What does veganism that ignores “black lives matter” look like, and what are the unintended consequences?
– Why do race and whiteness matter, and how do they operate within veganism and beyond?
– What does allyship look like within the #blacklivesmatter movement amongst non-black vegans and black non-vegans/
#Blacklivesmatter is happening because of an America in which “post-racial” rhetoric dominates the mainstream and has been accepted as truth by many white Americans.
This narrowness of perspective/thought/rhetoric extends to vegan (largely white spaces) in which embracing anti-oppression is limited to non-human animal rights and specieism and does not acknowledge other forms of oppression (systemic racism, xenophobia, etc.).
In this context, black lives really do not matter and instead work to combat racism and other forms of human oppression is seen as an unnecessary distraction from the “real work” for non-human animal liberation.
Many of us, as black vegans and as non-white and white allies, find that our politics cannot be single issue. As much as veganism provides an anti-oppression framework it must do so holistically.
We cannot ignore the connections between child slavery on cocoa plantations and the enslavement of non-human animals on factory farms. “Cruelty-free” cannot simply mean that no non-human animals were harmed during production but that the workers who produce our goods are also well treated and well compensated.
We challenge the racial and class privileges that allow mainstream vegan rhetoric to speak of lower income people of color who don’t adopt plant-based diets as lazy without seeing and understanding their realities of lack of access to good, affordable food. We question the ease with which many white vegans shrug off the Thug Kitchen controversy ; their inability to see this minstrel show as reinforcing pernicious stereotypes about black people that make it easier to accept violence against them.
We call and fight for a vegan, collective praxis that uses a true anti-oppression lens and embodies anti-racism, Black liberation and the dismantling of white supremacist systems and institutions in a supposed post-racial era along with the systems that abuse and oppress non-human animals.
Registration and Ticket Purchase: This event has ended. To Buy recordings, go here. If you registered and paid for the live event you already have access via Anymeeting.com.
Sponsor the conference: Find out more about sponsorship here.
Nominate the Vegan Anti-Racist Change-makers of 2015: Click Here.
CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS WILL ALSO BE RECORDED FOR REGISTRANTS TO ACCESS IF THEY CANNOT ATTEND IN REAL TIME
10:20 am.”Dispelling the Myth of ‘Cruelty-Free’ Commodities Within the Context of Black Lives Matter and a Racist Food System: A Dialogue Between Lauren Ornelas (Director, Food Empowerment Project) and Dr. A. Breeze Harper
11:00 am. “Cooking Up Black Lives Matter: A Critical Race Dialogue with vegan Chef Bryant Terry” | Panelists: Chef Bryant Terry and Dr. A. Breeze Harper
11:30 am. “Locating Intersections and the Decolonization of Veganism through Black Womanist Theology” | Candace Laughinghouse, PhD Candidate (Regent University)
12:00 pm. Break
12:30 pm. “‘The Pig is a Filthy Animal': Challenging Speciesist ‘Race-Conscious’ Black Liberation Rhetoric (Before, After, and Beyond Ferguson) | A. Breeze Harper (moderator) and Kevin Tillman (Founder, Vegan Hip Hop Movement).
1:00 pm. “From Critiquing Thug Kitchen to Revealing Vermont’s Speciesist White Agricultural Narrative: pattrice jones tells us about her Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter as a White Ally” | Speakers: A. Breeze Harper (moderator) and pattrice jones (co-founder, VINE Sanctuary)
1:45 pm. “Dear White People, Black Lives Matter: An Introductory Workshop For White Vegans on Being an Ally”| Speakers: Dr. Paul Gorski (George Mason University) and Dallas Rising
2:30 pm. “ALL Black Lives Matter: Exposing and Dismantling Transphobia and Heteronormativity in Mainstream Black ‘Conscious’ Plant-Based Dietary Movement” | Speakers: Toi Scott (Afrogenderqueer.com) and Victoria Crump.
3:20-4:00 pm. Funding Pro-Vegan Anti-Racist Projects: Challenges and Strategies in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era” | Panelists: Alissa Hauser (Executive Director, The Pollination Project) and Dr. A. Breeze Harper
4-5:00 pm. The conference should end at 5pm, however, nothing is scheduled after 4:00pm because as with most ‘planned’ events, sometimes things don’t work out and talks get delayed, there are technology issues, or Q & A runs over.
April 25, 2015
10:00 am “From ‘Post-Racial’ White Vegans on Veganporn.com, to Sistah Vegan anthology,to the Black Lives Matter Movement: Dr. A. Breeze Harper Ruminates On Nearly 10 years of critical race feminist activism and scholarship at the Sistah Vegan Project”. Speaker: Dr. A. Breeze Harper (The Sistah Vegan Project).
10:30 am “Black Lives [Don’t] Matter: Michael Vick and the Demonization of Blackness Among White Vegans and Animal Rights Activists”| Speaker: Harlan Eugene Weaver, PhD (Davidson College)
11:30 am. “Pro-Vegan Self-Care for Racial Justice Activists: Building a Long-Term Community of Support”| Speaker: Jessica Rowshandel, LMSW
12:00 pm. Break
12:20 pm. Announcement of the Anti-Racist Changemakers of 2015 Award Winners and Raffle Prizes. Registrants have a chance to win a prize from one of our Pro-Vegan Anti-Racism Allies, such as T.O.F.U. Magazine, Dr. Bronner’s Soap, and Organic Angie (Raw Vegan Organic).
1:00 pm. “Memory and Betrayal: An Inquiry into Race, Empire, and Relationship During an Era of Black Lives Matter” |Speaker: Martin Rowe (co-founder and senior editor of Lantern Books)
1:30 pm. “[TITLE TO BE DETERMINED]” | Speaker: Christopher Sebastian McJetters (Vegan Publishers)
2:30 pm. “Abolitionist Veganism and Anti-Oppression Within the Context of Black Lives Matter” | Speaker: Sarah K. Woodcock (Founder, The Abolitionist Vegan Society)
3:00 pm. “Not Business as Usual: The Praxis of Black Lives Matter in Vegan Entrepreneurship | Speaker: Hnin W. Hnin (ROC United and Eatable.com)
3:50-4:45 pm.KEYNOTE ADDRESS.“The Origins of the Criminalization of Blackness in the Context of a ‘Race Neutral’ Analysis and how it Helped Shape Policing Policies” | Speaker: Liz Ross (Founder, Coalition of Vegan Activists of Color)
HOW TO REGISTER AND PURCHASE A TICKET
For this year’s conference, we ask that participants support the ongoing work of the Sistah Vegan Project by paying for a ticket to access the event. A limited number of full and partial scholarships will be available to apply to, starting the first week of April 2015. Send an email to email@example.com for inquiries.
Your monetary support will help the many goals of the Sistah Vegan Project such as:
Organizing yearly Sistah-Vegan conferences that leave participants with concrete tools they can implement into their personal and work lives to dismantle systemic racism with a pro-vegan/ahimsa foundation.
Supporting the production of an edited volume of the proceedings of the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference which a publisher has already expressed interest in publishing.
Provide financial support for operating costs for The Sistah Vegan Project (i.e. travel to conferences, utilities to run the project, internet and web technologies, editing services, design services, etc).
The creation of ongoing tools and resources, such as webinars, toolkits, and short publications that use critical race feminism and anti-speciesism to educate people about how to effectively dismantle systemic oppression and violence against people, non-human animals, and Earth’s natural resources.
Food and Nutritional toolkits with an emphasis on marginalized populations.
Sistah Vegan, Where Do You Get Your Vegan Cookies?
I Have to tell you about the undeniably best paleo, vegan, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free cookie I have ever had. Barr Necessities locally made cookies in the SF Bay Area. It’s actually not really sweet and it is a meal. The base is organic almond flour. It is an extremely healthy cookie-meal. If you live in the SF Bay Area, check them out!! A great alternative– especially for children! My kids love them– especially my youngest baby who has eczema and shouldn’t be having a lot of gluten or refined sugar in her diet! Great cookie for restrictive diets due to soy and gluten allergies. And it’s a great cookie to not exacerbate eczema in the little ones. This is very important for out family since my baby (20 months old) gets to see her older siblings eat treats that she can’t often eat. It’s awesome to have a cookie in which all of the kids can eat!
For 2016, I have decided that the theme for my next conference will be From Seed to Table[t]: Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism (Challenges and Possibilities). I could not be more thrilled! I have also decided to make the big move and host the conference through my consulting company Critical Diversity Solutions(CDS) with the Sistah Vegan Project being a co-organizer and one of the sponsors. Because of the focus of CDS, I think this makes strategic sense; it also opens up the event to my existing Sistah Vegan fan base and new people who have more interest in the basic foundation of CDS. If you missed this year’s April 24-25 2-15 conference, learn about how we interrogated the meaning ofBlack Lives Matter Within Ethical Consumption.
First of all, the date of event will most likely be spring of 2016. I am hoping that I can host the event in an actual physical space. I have my eyes set on Impact Hub Oakland. I envision that the event would be live streamed and recorded; in addition, those who cannot show up in person to give a talk can participate via video-conference. Audience members who cannot show up physically can participate from a tablet, smartphone, computer or dial in via phone.
What the Sistah Vegan Project Needs From You to Make This Conference Possible
A Space To Host the Event.
I would love to have this event take place in Oakland at the Impact Hub Location. I think it would be perfect. If you have ever visited this space, you would probably agree that it’s an amazing co-working space that is very conscious around racial power dynamics, diversity, ethical consumption, and technology challenges+innovations. I have never organized a conference for a physical location and am seeking a volunteer to help me with this.
I would like to work with a designer to create a captivating poster design for this event. Would anyone be willing to do this pro-bono?
I am seeking sponsorship and have been told to start early. I need help with finding sponsors. Those that come to mind are
Hack the Hood
Black Girls Code
I am curious to know if organizations or companies that have never publicly spoken about the role of foodie+tech within an era of systemic racism, would support this conference. Who wants to volunteer to get sponsors?
I am on a community food listserv (Comfood). I am also on my community Critical Race and Food Studies list serv. The other day, I sent an email to the wrong listerv (the Comfood one).
On July 24th 2015 I wrote:
I was wondering if people who post events on this list would be willing to let everyone know if the event happening is occurring in a ’sundown’ town. I know ’Sundown’ laws are technically illegal this day in age, but just because it’s illegal to post such signage doesn’t mean it isn’t happening through the USA.
I immediately sent an apology
I sent that last request about sundown towns to this comfoods listserv by mistake. I thought I had sent it to the community critical race food studies listserv.
First of all, it didn’t occur to me until someone privately wrote me that it was not an unreasonable request. They thought it was a good idea. I wrote them back privately:
Now that I think about it, it’s ridiculous that I did send an apology (but in all honesty, as a black woman doing anti-racism scholarship around food, I have gotten used to people emailing me that food and racism distract from the ‘good food’ movement).
I started the Critical Race and Food studies listserv several years ago because of this lack of engagement in mainstream ‘good food’/ ‘local food’ circles.
But yea, I have mentioned many times in my blog posts that I am tentative about going to an event around food or veganism if I don’t know whether or not it’s in a region of the USA that was or still informally is a ‘sundown’ town.
This is a reasonable request. And it’s a really sad and depressing thing that I have to make that request in 2015. And it’s even more sad that I felt compelled to apologize because I didn’t want to make Comfood feel “uncomfortable” (Let’s face it, most content is ‘post-racial’ or at least doesn’t engage with the realities of systemic racism and normative whiteness on the food system).
What is even more frustrating is that the ComFood list has hundreds of members. No one publicly engaged with what I had written or even suggested that what it implies is something that shouldn’t be swept under the rug… and only 2 people privately wrote me back in response. 1 requested to be added to my Critical Race and Food Studies Listserv and the other had sent me the private message about them thinking that my request was not unreasonable at all.
I guess even though it was a mistake to initially have sent to the wrong listserv, I am blown away by the lack of engagement with what I had accidentally sent, by the community at large…Especially since the widespread coverage of Sandra Bland’s death and what it means to travel while Black has been blasted everywhere it seems. (You know, maybe this would get some of the ‘what does race and racism have to do with [white] community food building’ folk to make the connection about how safe it is to be Black in the USA while driving to your new job or some other professional venue for your work. Blogged about this a few days ago here.)
What does a food sustainability workshop or event look like in mostly white spaces, when there is acknowledgment of systemic racism as unsustainable…? No matter how many lessons about permaculture or canning, systemic racism is not sustainable or healthy. (And yes, there are plenty of people of color doing these workshops that acknowledge systemic racism as non-sustainable and that anti-racism and food security are intertwined…I’m more concerned about the other folk.)
I also am thinking about the ways in which many mainstream [white] vegans engage in debates about “humane” meat being not humane or sustainable at all, with omnivorous locavores. What do workshops and retreats about veganic permaculture (and similar) look like in mostly white spaces? Do these spaces normally engage in dismantling systemic racism and speciesism to redefine ‘humane’ and sustainable? (Perhaps they are already doing it and I just haven’t experience it yet? If you know of any, please let me know!)…And if you don’t know what veganic permaculture is, click here and learn more!
So, that was what was on my mind today…
I’l be talking a lot more about these issues in my upcoming book (see below).
For 2016, I have decided that the theme for my next conference will be From Seed to Table[t]: Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism (Challenges and Possibilities). I could not be more thrilled! I have also decided to make the big move and host the conference through my consulting company Critical Diversity Solutions(CDS) with the Sistah Vegan Project being a co-organizer and one of the sponsors. Because of the focus of CDS, I think this makes strategic sense; it also opens up the event to my existing Sistah Vegan fan base and new people who have more interest in the basic foundation of CDS. *Date of Event will most likely be Spring 2016.*
Also, I am hoping that I can host the event in an actual physical space. I have my eyes set on Impact Hub Oakland. I envision that the event would be live streamed and recorded; in addition, those who cannot show up in person to give a talk can participate via video-conference. Audience members who cannot show up physically can participate from a tablet, smartphone, computer or dial in via phone.
I just wanted to humbly celebrate the 5th year anniversary of Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society (Lantern Books 2010).
In the photo below, it was my first talk I gave about the book at Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA. I talked about whiteness. I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since it was published. I was doing a book signing with my son on my lap. He was 13 months old in 2010.
And my Sun isn’t a baby anymore. He’s 6, but still sits on my lap.
Take time to watch the video from Farm Sanctuary and let me know if you think there has been progress or not over the past 5 years when it comes the mainstream AR and vegan spaces actively trying to dismantle systems of racism, whiteness, and speciesism at the same time.
And I have been thinking a lot about Sandra Bland. Though not the same thing, when I was invited to speak in Orland CA I immediately checked and worried about if I would be entering sundown town territory (actually, I should called it terror-tory). And ’til this day, I still worry about where I will be speaking and have shared this many times with my fans– particularly when I go out to speak in predominantly white areas of the USA. Did you know my mom and dad worry like hell when I go out speaking about racism and whiteness as a Black woman in the USA? The other month when I was doing my Scars book tour talk, I lost my phone. A man found it and called my mom (she was on the contacts list as “Mom”). My dad emailed me immediately, saying someone had found my phone and that he was worried that someone had hurt or even killed me and the baby (I was traveling with her). Why? Because of the anger and rage the content of my talks illicit in many white people in the USA.
When I started talking to white fans of my work about my fears of sundown towns or why I wouldn’t go to certain places to discuss AR and race/whiteness, though “well-meaning”, they told me they didn’t understand why I would have that worry….
Well, over the past few years that more and more whites have learned about Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, the SC Charleston shootings, and now Sandra Bland– because of great organizing by mostly Black folk using many tools– especially social media…. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I HAD THESE WORRIES?
And overall, those like Vegan Revolution who Tweeted their disgust about Black Lives Matter [more than cows and chickens], do you finally understand why I have been doing this work for years? I write this and have always written from a place of compassion, honesty, and love but I need to honestly know…
…Would it take me being killed by a racist cop (or non cop) while traveling to a vegan oriented event for you to make the connection and start doing something about it? Remember, apology and pity are not enough.
I certainly hope not…and I certainly hope it doesn’t take one more killing for you, who still doubt this reality, to do something about it.
“Sistah Vegan, Where Do You Get Your Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza Crust?”
Well, I’m glad you asked. As a matter of fact, here is what I made a while ago that I want to share with you. It’s an eggplant and fresh fig pizza on gluten-free crust.
Recipe (1 Serving)
The recipe is simple. The crust I used is actually tortilla and gluten free. Food for Life brand Brown Rice Flour Tortilla. Oil both sides of your crust with olive oil. Lay flat on a cast-iron pan. Spread some salt-free tomato sauce (I use organic marinera, but I’m sure homemade is best!) and mix in the oregano and garlic lightly on top of the sauce. Then, add:
Two Crimini Mushrooms. I thinly sliced mine.
7 slices of small long Eggplant
1 big fig, thinly sliced
1/2 c of chopped Spinach
Raw Parmasean (you can buy it or make it by adding a walnuts and nutritional yeast to the food processor. Ratio of Walnuts: Nutritional Yeast: is 5:2). Sprinkle on to liking, along with black pepper.
Set Oven to 500 degrees. Bake 8-10 minutes. Watch out for it, as it bakes quickly!
My 20 month old is addicted to hemp seeds, kale, raw pumpkin seeds, chlorella, and chia seeds to name few. She screams for the raw kale, ginger, chlorella & pumpkin seed smoothie I make in the morning.
My 3 year old throws a tantrum in the natural grocery store if she can’t get her damn seaweed and Organic tamari almonds.
And my 6 year old likes to constantly remind everyone that he must have mommy’s braised kale nearly every day so he can have a great source of lutein for his developing eye health. I should get upset that he doesn’t use his fork to eat the greens; instead, he shoves them into his pie-hole with his hands, eating it in ecstasy.
When people learn that my children are eating these types of foods that I mentioned above, many tell me that their children would never eat hemp seeds or raw kale. They ask how or why my kids even ‘like’ the taste. For years I have been asked these types of questions and for years I have had a love/hate relationship with the world of food and health monitoring of young children via proper nutrition and eating. I always felt like I was the last person who should be telling anyone some secret I have to getting my children to eat what is supposedly impossible for the standard tot in the USA to like. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that eating ‘healthful’ and ‘good’ foods is not exactly objective– nor is it easy for all to have access to the resources they need (money, community, nutritional literacy, transportation, culinary appliances) to feed themselves or their families the way your standard Berkeley hippy organic parent would.
So, what I want to do is share my ideas with you without sounding like an obnoxious, hurtful, know-it-all parent who judges people for giving their child potato chips over seaweed chips or allows their child to watch Disney over PBS. I would like to start sharing my ideas via a new blog series that yes, will eventually turn into book. If you sincerely want to know what the hell to do with a chia seed with your 20 month old in mind…if you can’t figure out how to get stinging nettles into your child’s diet to alleviate eczema….and if you can’t figure out how to make Chlorella palatable for your 3 year old then this series (and eventual book) is going to be for you.
And I’m going to be lovingly upfront. Once again, I know not everyone has access to the ingredients and products that I will talk about; furthermore, not everyone knows that many of the super foods they do have access to comes to them via human exploitation embedded in a racist-sexist and capitalist food system. I will try my hardest to suggest ingredients that are least likely to have come to you via suffering, pain, and exploitation. For example, I love me some quinoa but I also want to suggest a source for the seed that is from non-exploited farmers and from a source that does not destroy an entire village’s culture and means to thrive.
I hope to get on board with this project by the Fall of 2015. In the mean time, check out the other projects and work we have done and will be doing: