Leadership, Diversity, and the “Cruelty-Free” Conundrum in the Plant-Based Food Business


Date: September 10, 2019

Time:  10am-2pm PST

Facilitator: Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Animal-free food alternatives are on the rise in the USA, ranging from veggie burgers, to cashew milk yogurts, to vegan D3 supplements. These products have been marketed as “cruelty-free”, conveying the narrative that non-human animals have not suffered, been harmed, or killed. However, underneath this narrative is often this uncomfortable reality: Company/organization leadership can be dedicated to alleviating animal suffering through “cruelty-free” products within a workplace climate in which marginalized human employees suffer from a lack of inclusive practices for racial and gender equity. This is a common conundrum that can have consequences on employee retention, recruitment, growth, and broader market outreach to name a few.

Join national speaker, strategic consultant, and groundbreaking author Dr. A. Breeze Harper for a leadership training to upgrade your professional diversity toolkit within the plant-based food world. Some questions to be addressed:

  1. How do racial power dynamics affect plant-based food businesses and organizations?
  2. How do race, gender, and socio-economic class affect marketing and outreach?
  3. How can plant-based food businesses and organizations recruit and retain an inclusive employee base with racial equity in mind?
  4. Why is labeling a product “cruelty-free” not enough to ensure workplace diversity, inclusion, equity and better social impact for animals and human beings?

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About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

(Photo Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen)

As the founder of The Sistah Vegan Project and the founder and senior strategic consultant of Critical Diversity Solutions LLC, Dr. Harper has helped leaders in the animal advocacy and plant-based sectors pinpoint how their recruitment and retention, marketing and communication, and educational outreach can achieve greater success when racial and gender inclusion frameworks are integrated and operationalized. Clients have included Mercy for Animals, PetSmart Charities, Animal Grantmakers, Handpick mobile food app and HSUS.

Dr. Harper has been featured on the podcast The Secret Ingredient hosted by Raj Patel et. al where she spoke about the impact of race and whiteness in veganism & ethical consumption.

Her award winning graduate MA thesis from Harvard focused on how racial power dynamics affect vegan culture. She graduated summa cum laude with a PhD from UC Davis, her dissertation work showing how race and gender affect the plant-based commodity chain, marketing, and outreach. In 2010, Lantern Books published her groundbreaking book, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society. She has published chapters about diversity and inclusion within the ethical consumption movement that can be found here.

Dr. Harper has given workshops and lectures about plant-based food culture, diversity, and inclusion to over 50 universities. In the spring of 2018, she delivered a keynote address about radical diversity and inclusion to a professional audience of over 1400 people at the Animal Care Expo. Most recently, she was appointed series editor of a new Lantern Books series that interrogates how racial and ethnic experience shape vegan and animal rights. In 2019 January, she designed and facilitated a sold-out workshop about how racial inequities affects animal advocacy and vegan culture in the USA, which is accessible as an MP4 (Click on photo to access).

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