The latest news and updates in the vegan and plant-based world (May 2022)

Here’s what’s been happening for the vegan and plant-based advocacies around the world last May. All features have been sourced from and Visit their sites for the full stories, and to be updated on more news that’ll bring us to an even better world.

Shaq ditching beef

As reported in last May 2, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal revealed during a segment of “Urban Eats and Treats” that Atlanta-based vegan burger chain Slutty Vegan (founded by entrepreneur Pinky Cole) has helped him find replacements for his favorite foods but without animal products.

Excerpts from the story:

“O’Neal says he aims to consume healthier foods, and turns to Slutty Vegan when he wants more indulgent meals like burgers. He has become a regular at Slutty Vegan, where the plant-based burger patties are made by Impossible Foods. In 2019, O’Neal’s love of Slutty Vegan’s burgers was documented by the chain in a video shared to its social media accounts showing the NBA legend devouring two Fussy Hussy burgers—an Impossible Burger patty loaded with pickles, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and the chain’s Slut Sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.

“O’Neal is also a supporter of plant-based burgers in other ways. In 2019, O’Neal joined 13 other professional athletes as investors and ambassadors of vegan brand Beyond Meat. In addition to O’Neal, NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, DeAndre Jordan, JaVale McGee, Harrison Barnes, and Luke Walton were part of the investment group, along with NFL stars DeAndre Hopkins, Malcolm Jenkins, and Derrick Morgan (and his wife Charity); and ski racer Lindsey Vonn, rock climber Alex Honnold, and snowboarder Shaun White.

“The former professional basketball player is looking toward a meatless diet to improve his health, a shift that many of his NBA peers and contemporaries have already made. One example is fellow Beyond Meat investor DeAndre Jordan, who went vegan four years ago for a multitude of reasons.

“In 2018, Cole opened the first Slutty Vegan outpost as a food truck that drew hours-long lines of hundreds of hungry guests waiting to get ‘slutiffied’ by sampling the proactively named vegan burgers on offer. Since then, the concept has expanded to four brick-and-mortar locations and a bar concept in Georgia, with additional out-of-state locations in the works. Slutty Vegan also makes retail products, including limited-edition dips in Hot-Lanta Chik’n and Spinach and Artichoke flavors now available at select Target locations.” (Anna Starostinetskaya,

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Billie Eilish leads climate event in London

On May 3, reported that vegan musical artist Billie Eilish would be hosting the “Overheated” climate event in London this June to discuss the climate crisis and actions that are being taken in the music, fashion, and food industries. The six-day conference is being presented by Eilish, Support + Feed (a plant-based food initiative founded by Eilish’s mother, Maggie Baird), and environmental nonprofit Reverb.

Excerpts from the story:

“The event, which overlaps with the UK/Ireland dates of Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” world tour, will feature a mix of musicians, climate activists, and designers hosting sessions on topics such as green practices in the music industry, the benefits of a plant-based diet, and sustainable fashion methods.

“Musicians Sigrid and Love Ssega are slated to perform during the music climate session, and an accompanying documentary screening will feature Eilish; Eilish’s brother, music producer Finneas; and musician Yungblud, as well as fashion icon Dame Vivenne Westwood, Glastonbury festival co-organizer Emily Eavis, music project Girl in Red, Maggie Baird, climate activist Tori Tsui, and cultural sustainability fashion activist/entrepreneur Samata Pattinson.

“Eilish has been vegan since age 12 and is putting climate action center stage during her ‘Happier Than Ever’ world tour to illuminate the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. The tour, which began in February and ends in September this year, includes ‘The Billie Eilish Eco-Village’ activation on the concourse of every show for concert ticket holders. The activation showcases Support + Feed along with other local environmental nonprofits.

“Eilish has been outspoken about the need for climate action for a few years, and especially the impact animal agriculture has on the environment. Last year, Eilish joined a number of celebrities—including Moby, Joaquin Phoenix, Alan Cumming, Evanna Lynch, and Alicia Silverstone—to urge Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma, the president of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to include the role of animal agriculture in all discussions about the climate crisis at the world-renowned event. While animal agriculture has been widely ignored as a topic of discussion at previous climate talks, the demand letter pointed out that the destructive industry accounts for nearly 17% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) globally—making it the second largest GHG emitter in the world, on par with all transportation sectors combined.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Serena Williams invests in vegan menopause brand featured on May 4 tennis legend Serena Williams investing an undisclosed amount in WILE, a vegan supplement brand created by women for women undergoing different stages of menopause. Williams participated in WILE’s $3-million seed round through Serena Ventures, a new early-stage venture capital firm that just raised $111 million to support brands and founders that Williams believes in.

Excerpts from the story:

“WILE was created by women—Gwen Floyd, Corey Scholibo, and Julie Kucinski alongside actress and activist Judy Greer—with the purpose of demystifying the natural process of menopause by shifting hormonal stigmas and empowering women to thrive through these stages in life. WILE makes a variety of plant-powered supplements, tinctures, and functional beverages that target common issues such as stress, hot flashes, and mood swings, and support the overall wellness of women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.

“With the help of the new funding, WILE will launch 9 products this month at Whole Foods Markets where Floyd hopes the brand can reach some of the more than 30 million women currently undergoing different stages of menopause.

“While WILE is one of the first investments the plant-powered athlete has made since launching Serena Ventures, Williams has previously invested in other vegan brands, including meal company Daily Harvest. In 2019, Williams participated in food innovator Impossible Foods’ $300 million Series E round as an individual investor alongside her husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. This funding round also included participation from music legend Jay-Z, late-night host Trevor Noah, actress Katy Perry, social entrepreneur Jaden Smith, and many more.

“Sister and fellow tennis legend Venus Williams is also empowering people through a different approach. Last year, she launched Happy Viking, a plant-based nutrition brand that helps people optimize their wellness with formulations that she herself uses to stay on top of her game. Venus has been following a plant-based diet since 2011 after being diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. After removing animal products from her diet, Venus Williams was able to manage painful symptoms and get back on the court. She worked with nutritionists to create Happy Viking—named after her own warrior spirit—products which include pea protein-loaded shakes and whey-free superfood powders designed to support not just optimal physical but also mental health.” (Anna Starostinetskaya,

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Chef Matthew Kenney expands vegan restaurant empire

Miami south beach street view with water reflections at night

On May 6, reported that acclaimed vegan chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney would be expanding his vegan restaurant empire with the opening of five new eateries. Kenney’s popular fine-dining establishment Plant Food + Wine (PFW) is opening in Miami, Florida and Lima, Peru; his Latin America-inspired eatery Oleada and pasta bar Sestina are slated to open in Los Angeles, California; and PlantPub—a venture Kenney joined last year—is opening a second location in Boston, Massachusetts.

Excerpts from the story:

“Rooted in sustainability, innovation, and the future of food, Kenney’s is one of the few plant-based brands that has expanded worldwide. Kenney graduated from the French Culinary Institute and, after working in upscale New York City kitchens, he opened a number of his own restaurants in New York and along the East Coast before expanding across the country and around the world.

“For the opening of PFW in Lima, Kenney partnered with chef Andre Patsias to create a location that will pay homage to the original PFW in Venice, California, but created with the local Peruvian cuisine and culture in mind to honor the country’s traditional techniques, flavors, and produce. PFW’s new Miami location will pay homage to the diverse culinary influences of Miami and the surrounding area. In Boston, Kenney is involved in the opening of a second location of vegan bar PlantPub in the city’s Fenway neighborhood. PlantPub Fenway will be much bigger than the flagship Cambridge, Massachusetts location.

“Kenney also launched in May Latin America-inspired concept Oleada Cocina in Los Angeles with a menu that features familiar burritos and tacos, along with ceviche, tostadas, aguachile, and cocktails. And in LA’s Century City neighborhood, Kenney is opening a second location of Sestina, a vegan pasta and wine bar. The Italian concept pairs small plates and desserts with an extensive sustainable wine program.

“With these openings, Kenney counts 57 restaurants under the MKC umbrella with new concepts always in the works.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Leonardo DiCaprio invests in startup that grows leather from cells

On May 10, announced that actor Leonardo DiCaprio had just invested in a startup that aims to take cows out of leather production. Milpitas, California-based biotechnology startup VitroLabs Inc said that it has raised $46 million in a Series A round with participation from the actor and environmentalist, along with global luxury group Kering and Bestseller’s Invest FWD, among others. VitroLabs is currently developing a scalable tissue engineering platform for the production of leather using only a few animal cells. The new platform has the potential to replace the environmentally damaging practice of traditional animal leather-making which involves raising and slaughtering animals and using chemicals to preserve and tan their skin for coats, shoes, furniture, and other products.

Excerpts from the story:

“Combining advanced tissue engineering processes with proprietary technology that enables commercial scale, VitroLabs is on a mission to produce cell-cultivated leather that achieves the look, feel, and performance of traditional leather. The cultivated leather process involves taking a one-time collection of cells from an animal, which then grows in a nutrient-rich environment. Without ever going back to the animal again, the cells grow, divide, and form into tissue. The composition of the material has the complexity of traditional leather, containing a variety of proteins that make up a durable and luxurious material when finished, but without the need to slaughter animals.

“Ingvar Helgason co-founded VitroLabs with the mission to create high-quality materials that meet the uncompromising standards of the luxury industry while drastically lowering environmental impact and furthering animal welfare.

“In recent years, there has been an explosion of companies that are developing alternative materials to leather, but instead of creating an alternative using other materials that don’t necessarily have the same look and feel as traditional leather, VitroLabs’ cultivated animal leather preserves the biological characteristics that consumers are used to while eliminating the most environmentally and ethically detrimental aspects of the conventional leather making.

“With its new funding infusion from DiCaprio and others, VitroLabs is now positioned to bring cultivated leather to scale. Since 2016, the company has been pioneering the cutting edge material made by using advanced tissue engineering processes to create cell-cultivated animal leather. The company has made significant progress on product quality in the optimization of cell expansion processes and proprietary design of a novel, large-scale tissue cultivator. Last fall, VitroLabs moved into a new 45,000-square-foot facility, designed for pilot production and laboratory space as the company moves toward commercialization. The funding will be used to fast-track commercialization and to expand scientific, manufacturing, and business development teams.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Tabitha Brown’s best-selling vegan seasoning hits stores

Last May 11, reported that this month, vegan actor and influencer Tabitha Brown would be introducing her McCormick Sunshine Seasoning to grocery stores across the United States. The salt-free, Caribbean-inspired spice mix—which features Brown’s face on the label—includes her go-to garlic powder, along with ginger, allspice, thyme, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and mango and pineapple for a little sweetness. After a wildly successful online launch last year—where it sold out within 39 minutes—Brown is expanding the limited-edition seasoning for the first time to reach more consumers.

Excerpts from the story:

“Brown announced the news of the retail launch in a video posted on Instagram. In addition to this launch, her always-popular social media recipe tutorials will continue to feature McCormick products as part of a long-term partnership with the brand. Some of the recipes that Brown developed to showcase the spice blend’s summery Caribbean-inspired flavor profile include Sunshine Shick’n (shiitake mushroom-based vegan chicken stir-fry coated with a sweet and savory sauce); Maple Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges; and Chicky Farro Bowl (farro bowl topped with roasted chickpeas coated in Sunshine Seasoning).

“In celebration of the McCormick Sunshine Seasoning release, Brown’s fans will soon be able to cook side by side with Brown in the comfort of their own kitchen through ‘Bring Tabitha Home’, an augmented reality experience. Available exclusively through the McCormick Flavor Maker app starting on June 15, this feature will allow fans to place a hologram version of Brown directly in their home kitchen, and then share through social, text, or email.

“Since first gaining notoriety in 2017 after sharing a video of herself eating a ‘TTLA’ sandwich—made with garlic aioli, Lightlife tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, and avocado—from Whole Foods, Brown has gained more than 10 million social media followers. In 2020, Brown struck a deal with Dunkin’ Donuts to announce the chain’s nationwide rollout of Planet Oat oat milk. Last year, she became a New York Times bestselling author with the debut of her first book, ‘Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business)’, which details Brown’s struggle with chronic autoimmune pain and her journey to veganism and healing.” (Nicole Axworthy

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KFC to launch Quorn Vegan Chicken Buckets in Europe

On May 11, reported that Quorn had just created a meatless version of the KFC Original Recipe Tender, which would launch first in the United Kingdom.

Excerpts from the story:

“KFC and Quorn are also intending to bring their hit vegan options to Europe, beginning in Germany. Per Food Navigator, vegan chicken buckets and veggie wraps are on the cards.

“KFC is one of the world’s biggest fried chicken chains. But in the last few years, it has focused on bringing more vegan options to consumers. In the United States, it recently rolled out Beyond Fried Chicken (made with Beyond Meat) to all of its stores.

“In 2021, the chain’s US president Kevin Hochman told Bloomberg: ‘We don’t think that plant-based is a fad. We think it’s something that’s going to continue to grow over time.’” (Charlotte Pointing,

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Brighton vegan capital of the world

Beach, Brighton and Hove, East Sussex,England, UK July 19th 2014, Brighton seafront and beach activities. The Victorian Brighton Pier and the Brighton wheel at sunset.

Last May 11, announced that, for the first time, Brighton and Hove had been crowned vegan capital of the world.

Excerpts from the story:

“While Portland in the United States and Bristol in the United Kingdom have historically reigned champion, this year, the online cookbook ‘Chef’s Pencil’ has given Brighton the top spot on its annual scoreboard.

“’Chef’s Pencil’ uses search data from Google Trends to determine which city is the world leader in veganism.

“Brighton has long been renowned for its abundance of vegan restaurants and shops. According to restaurant locator Happy Cow, the city is home to more than 240 vegan and vegetarian-friendly eateries. Popular spots include the sushi bar Happy Maki and pizzeria Purezza.

“In terms of ‘most popular countries for veganism in 2022’, the United Kingdom came out on top, closely followed by Germany and Austria. The United States came in at number 11.” (Charlotte Pointing

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Disrupting the $89-billion cheese industry

On May 12, reported that food technology startup Change Foods was on a mission to disrupt the $89-billion cheese industry by creating animal-free dairy products using precision fermentation. Specifically, Change Foods is focusing on reinventing casein, a dairy protein that is the main ingredient in cheese, so that consumers can continue to enjoy cheese without the need to exploit cows—and without the health concerns of lactose, hormones, and antibiotics that also come with consuming traditional dairy.

Excerpts from the story:

“Animal welfare is not the only reason Change Foods wants to disrupt dairy cheese. According to the San Jose, California-based company, the cheese sector is the third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture sources. Producing just one pound of cheese requires 16 bathtubs full of fresh water, releases as much CO2 as burning 40 pounds of coal, and requires the same land needed to grow 300 pounds of potatoes.

“In contrast, Change Foods’ technology allows for the creation of cheese without the environmental footprint of animal agriculture, ultimately using 100 times less water, 10 times less land, and five times less energy than the animal-based version of cheese.

“David Bucca, an Australian aerospace engineer by training, co-founded Change Foods because he wanted to create a company that exists as a force for good. And after realizing the environmental and ethical issues associated with industrialized dairy production, he set forth to use precision fermentation to solve these big problems in the dairy industry, starting with cheese.

“Change Foods uses precision fermentation, a process that starts by encoding dairy protein DNA sequences into microorganisms, like yeast or fungi, and then fermenting them with nutrients and sugar in fermentation tanks—much like those used to brew beer. During the fermentation process, these unique microbes produce proteins that are identical to those found in cow’s milk. These proteins are filtered into a pure milk protein isolate that can be used to create dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, without the use of animals. The ultimate mission is to recreate consumers’ favorite dairy foods sustainably.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Petition to reduce animal farming sent to world leaders

Last May 10, reported that a petition that garnered more than 53,000 signatures was submitted to various higher-ups on May 5, reaching the leaders of America, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Excerpts from the story:

“Animal protection organization Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which distributed the petition, said the matter is one of increasing urgency. ‘Our global leaders cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand,’ said Sarah Moyes, senior campaigns manager at CIWF. ‘Livestock emissions play a significant role in the current climate emergency, yet this has been virtually overlooked by world leaders.’

“The 86 billion animals farmed for food every year are responsible for a significant portion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, 14.5% of global emissions stem from animal agriculture—more than the world’s transportation sector (including planes, trains, cars, and other vehicles) combined.

“But the industry’s environmental concerns don’t end with emission output. Up to 33% of all freshwater in the world is used to farm animals, while more than 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water. Animal-based food production also requires extensive land clearing, resulting in surges of emissions and habitat loss. Livestock uses up nearly 80% of global agricultural land, despite providing less than 20% of the world’s calories.

“‘We must drastically reduce our total global meat and dairy consumption, so we’ve addressed our petition to leaders of top meat-consuming countries or regions,’ Moyes continued. ‘It’s critical these world leaders act to bring forward a meat and dairy reduction and support a shift to nature-friendly, higher welfare farming, as a matter of urgency. Factory farming is significantly contributing to one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time and leaders of those countries where meat consumption is particularly high, must play their part to ensure we meet the Paris Agreement targets.’” (Jemima Webber,

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Rochester, the best US small city for vegans

On May 13, featured Rochester, New York—the state’s third-largest city—as the “best small city for vegans”. listed 13 reasons: Vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants; vegan food service; the long-running Rochester Area Vegan Society (RAVS); vegan-friendly policymakers; Rochester lifestyle medicine that’s rooted in a plant-based ethic; Long-term climate change projections that make Rochester a climate-refuge city, due to the lack of extreme weather conditions and easy access to fresh water;  

Strong activism scene, from a Rochester-based chapter of hunger-relief organization Food Not Bombs (which is and has always been vegan) to various antiracism efforts; access to nature, beaches, and festivals; gay bars, nightlife, and culture; no brain-drain, as Rochester is home to genius innovators; relative affordability, where the average cost of a house is around $195,000 (compared to the US average of $375,000);

Close proximity to the airport, Amtrak, and many big cities, and; a city where people are kind, and a vibe that is endlessly chill. (Jasmin Singer,

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Image: Rochester, New York

Cookbook celebrates peoples who eat plant-based 200 days a year.

Last May 12, featured award-winning Greek-Cypriot chef and food writer Georgina Hayden’s new cookbook “Nistisima”.

Excerpts from the story:

“Greek for ‘fasting food’, Nistisima offers an insight into dishes eaten during Lent and other Orthodox fasting periods. According to Hayden, Cypriots go without meat for a number of days during these periods. This includes the 50 days before Easter, 50 days before Christmas, and every Wednesday and Friday.

“‘Many people think of Greek and Cypriot food as meat-focused, but we actually spend about 200 days a year eating plant-based food. That’s because Cyprus and Greece are Orthodox countries,’ Hayden explained to Plant Based News.

“While many think of fasting as giving up food completely, in the Orthodox Church, it involves giving up meat and dairy and, instead, using vegetables, grains, and pulses to create simple plant-based dishes. While there are some exceptions (honey and shellfish), people typically eat a fully plant-based diet when fasting. 

“The chef’s research for ‘Nistisima’ was extensive. She reached out to monks, priests, and religious friends from across the world, which helped her develop 120 naturally vegan recipes for the cookbook. The dishes originate from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Eastern Europe. But instead of using plant-based meat or vegan cheese, Hayden relies on centuries-old whole food ingredients, like lentils.” (Riya Lakhani-Kanji,

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Prince Khaled brings vegan dining to Qatar World Cup

On May 13, reported that luxury hotel Four Seasons Doha was gearing up for the World Cup with the launch of Folia, a plant-based menu created by vegan restaurateur Matthew Kenney and KBW Ventures, the mission-driven investment firm founded by vegan Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia. While the World Cup is set to take place in five host cities across Qatar this November, locals and tourists from around the world don’t have to wait until then to sample the hotel’s new dishes.

Excerpts from the story:

“Launching this summer at the hotel’s Après Spa Café, Folia features globally inspired, health-focused dishes with a local flare. Patrons have a selection of appetizers and entrées to choose from, including avocado toast topped with kumquats, radishes, and herbs; ravioli alfredo filled with roasted butternut squash and vegan parmesan; green papaya salad with basil, spinach, cilantro, shredded carrots, and cashew dressing; and truffle pizza layered with mushrooms, kale, cashew cream, and lemon vinaigrette. For dessert, decadent options pair orange and chocolate, coconut and banana, and blackberry and cocoa for treats that are both indulgent and health conscious.

“The launch of Folia at Four Seasons Doha follows successful launches at the hotel chain’s Beverly Hills, Riyadh, Kuwait, Dubai, and Bahrain locations. ‘We are thrilled to expand the Folia brand and our partnership with the Four Seasons in Doha,’ Kenney told VegNews. ‘We strive to connect classic dishes and techniques with local ingredients and culture, and it is our intention for guests to experience the Folia menu through this lens. As we expand into six new concepts this month alone, the sky is the limit and our expansion into Doha is a poignant part of our growth.’

“The Four Seasons Doha expansion comes just months before Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup. The tournament is expected to draw more than 1.7 million visitors during the month-long competition, with an estimated 500,000 tourists in the country on the busiest days, according to the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), which organizes the quadrennial event.

“The Middle Eastern country will become the first in the region to host the World Cup when the tournament officially begins on Nov. 21. In recent years, Qatar has made headlines for other firsts of the vegan variety.” (Jocelyn Martinez,

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White House urged to back plant-based diets at nutrition conference

On May 10, revealed that this September, the White House would be set to hold its first conference on hunger, nutrition, and health in more than 50 years. Activists believe this is the ideal opportunity for the Biden administration to acknowledge the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Excerpts from the story:

“The Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is critically important. It could influence the US’ approach to diet and nutrition for the coming decades. (The last event of this nature was held in 1969 and went on to shape food policy for more than 50 years.)

“President Biden and his government have set several targets around improving nutrition and ending hunger in the United States by 2030. These are urgent issues: the USDA reports that nearly 40 million people living in the country suffer from food insecurity.

“The White House’s promotion of plant-based living could still have a positive impact in the United States. A number of studies have suggested that cutting out meat and dairy can support good health.

“For example, a recent Oxford University study found that a meat-free diet could reduce cancer risk by 14%. Last year, more research found that following a whole-food, plant-based diet may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Another 2021 study found that a plant-based diet may slash the risk of stroke by up to 10%.” (Charlotte Pointing,

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Study discovers medieval kings mostly vegetarian

Last May 6, reported that researchers at Cambridge University recently analyzed more than 2,000 skeletons from the early medieval period to figure out what kind of diets people during this time were following. To assess social standing, they looked at the type of grave goods they were buried with, and where they were buried. The conclusion: Even society’s richest and most powerful were eating a predominantly vegetarian diet.

Excerpts from the story:

“Dr. Sam Legget, a bioarchaeologist, led the study. They explained that while meat was in abundance at feasts (which they know from the examination and translation of royal food lists), this wasn’t common every day of the year.

“‘We would find isotopic evidence of excess protein and signs of diseases like gout from the bones. But we’re just not finding that,’ Legget told the BBC.

“Gout is a form of arthritis. Symptoms occur when there is too much uric acid in the blood, causing a ‘gout attack’ (the sudden, severe, and very painful swelling of joints). Organ meat and red meat often trigger symptoms for people with gout, because when digested, the purine content in these foods causes the body to make uric acid. Anyone can get gout. But, in the past, it has been dubbed ‘the disease of kings’ (likely due to the expensive food and drink that exacerbated the symptoms). But this wasn’t the case for the Anglo-Saxons.

“‘The isotopic evidence suggests that diets in this period were much more similar across social groups than we’ve been led to believe,’ said Legget. ‘We should imagine a wide range of people livening up bread with small quantities of meat and cheese, or eating pottages of leeks and whole grains with a little meat thrown in’.” (Charlotte Pointing,

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Startup to make 45 million pounds of mushroom steak annually

On May 17, reported that vegan meat brand Meati Foods would be expanding its lineup to include a whole-cut vegan steak made from mushrooms. The new umami-rich vegan steaks come in four-ounce servings and are ready to prepare just like a conventional piece of steak. The Classic Steak joins Meati’s existing product line of vegan chicken cutlets.

Excerpts from the story:

“While companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods focus on producing ground vegan meat from plants such as soy, pea, and wheat, Meati is creating whole cuts of steak and chicken using a technology that relies on mycelium—the fast-growing root structure of mushrooms. The company brews mycelium inside fermentation tanks then blends the high-protein fibers—which resemble the texture of chicken breasts and steaks—with other vegetable-based ingredients and spices before forming them into vegan meat.

“Meati was co-founded in 2019 by engineers Justin Whiteley and Tyler Huggins, and in 2020 it quietly launched its first products at select restaurants. Earlier this year, the company made its products available for nationwide delivery through its website, starting with its vegan chicken Crispy Cutlet and Classic Cutlet—both made with the mycelium—which sold out in under 24 hours when they first became available for preorder. Since then, the company held two additional product drops in March and April when it sold out in two hours and 20 minutes, respectively.

“The launch of the new vegan Classic Steak marks a big step in Meati’s goal to deliver high-quality, minimally processed vegan meat while using a fraction of the ingredients, water, and land used in other plant- and animal-based meats. The products are currently being produced at Meati’s small-scale factory in Boulder, but its new production facility opening in September will have the capacity to produce 45 million pounds of vegan meat. At scale, Meati says its growing process can produce the equivalent of 4,500 cows every 24 hours and requires less than 1% of the water and land compared to conventional industrial meat production. 

“Meati expects to be distributed in 10,000 stores by the end of the year and have a national footprint by 2023.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Doctors compare meat to cigarettes

Last May 4, reported that, in an open letter to the UK National Health Service, a coalition of doctors in Scotland urged for a ban on meat in hospital meals.

Excerpts from the story:

“The letter—which was sent to Caroline Lamb, chief executive of NHS Scotland—states that serving plant-based meals would be better for the environment, improve the health of patients, and potentially save the health service millions of pounds.

“As reported by The Times, the letter reads: ‘At this time of health and climate crises, we, the undersigned, urge NHS Scotland to switch to vegan menus for patients in hospitals. Replacing meat, eggs, and dairy with vibrant vegan foods is vital if we are to protect the health of Scottish people and the planet. It is a dereliction of duty that meals offered in hospitals are often far from healthy and can even include red and processed meats, which are known to be carcinogenic.’

“The letter compares serving meat to ‘distributing cigarettes in the pulmonary-care unit’. The signatories go on to state that the NHS could save £30 billion a year if all meals served in the United Kingdom were vegan. 

“A number of doctors signed the letter, including NHS consultant gastroenterologist Alan Desmond, and GPs Nick Browne, Miriam Maisel, Olga Morton, and Fiona Bullions. Currently, Scottish government hospital guidelines state that provisions must be made for patients following vegan and vegetarian diets, and that there must be a meat-free option for every meal.” (Polly Foreman,

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1st vegan Indian woman to summit Everest

On May 18, reported that Prakriti Varshney became the first known vegan Indian woman to climb Mount Everest.

Excerpts from the story:

“According to climbing expedition company Seven Summit Treks, Varshney—a plant-based athlete, blogger, and graphic designer—and her fellow climbers were the first to reach the summit of Everest this climbing season.

“It’s not the first time Varshney has hit the headlines for her climbing expeditions. Last year, she summited Nepal’s Ama Dablam, which stands at just over 6,800 meters. Not only did Varshney complete the trek, she also did it all while experiencing menstrual cramps.

“While she is said to be the first vegan Indian woman to summit Everest, Varshney is not the first vegan climber to reach the top. Kuntal Joisher reached Everest’s summit in 2016, and in the same year, experienced Australian vegan climber Dr. Maria Strydom also reached the top. Tragically, she died of altitude sickness during the descent.

“Joisher summited Everest again in 2018, and is now on a mission ‘to normalize vegan mountaineering’. He added: ‘It was a huge achievement for me as a mountaineer, but it also shone a positive light on veganism.’” (Charlotte Pointing,

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Robert Downey Jr helps improve vegan meat

On May 18, featured actor Robert Downey Jr, through his venture fund FootPrint Coalition Ventures (FPCV), recently making an investment in Motif FoodWorks, a food-technology company working to make vegan food more desirable through breakthrough developments that improve taste and texture.

Excerpts from the story:

“The Boston-based company first launched Hemami, a heme-binding myoglobin protein that delivers the flavor and aroma of traditional animal-based meat but made using plants. Motif also developed Appetex, a technology that mimics the springy and juicy texture of animal tissue. These innovations are meant to deliver everything that consumers crave about animal meat into the plant-based meat space, giving them more reasons to make choices that are better for animals and the planet.

“‘If plant-based foods are going to make a real impact on sustainability, we need an approach that’s both delicious and nutritious,’ Downey said in a statement. ‘By focusing on both better tasting and healthier options, Motif is not only making a difference in products today, but reimagining the future of tomorrow’s plant-based foods.’

“In 2020, Downey revealed that he was transitioning to a plant-based diet during the premiere of the animal-centric film ‘Dolittle’. Since then, the actor has been supporting companies that are innovating the plant-based food space.

“In addition to Motif, Downey is also looking to help move cheesemaking into the modern era with a recent investment in Nobell Foods, a startup that is working to make dairy-identical cheese without the cow. Founded by Lebanon-raised Magi Richani, the startup recreates the genetic code for casein—a milk protein responsible for the cheesy qualities of dairy cheese—in soybean seeds and grows plants that have the same dairy caseins found in animal milk. Nobell then extracts the caseins to create a variety of dairy-identical cheeses, all without the need to exploit cows, goats, or any other animal for their lactal secretions all while reducing carbon emissions by 90% compared to traditional animal farming.” (Anna Starostinetskaya

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Jayson Tatum launches vegan candy brand

Last May 20, broke the news that NBA star Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics would be getting into the vegan gummy candy industry with the launch of Side Step Sweets. In partnership with industry experts and investors, Tatum developed the brand in response to a lack of healthful and inspired candy options. Under the brand, Tatum is first launching gummy candy line Small Wins as a better treat for kids, made using natural colors and flavorings and with only 4 grams of sugar per serving.

Excerpts from the story:

“‘I helped develop Small Wins because I wanted parents, such as myself, to feel good about satisfying their child’s sweet tooth. Small Wins is the first step in our goal of bringing better-for-you products to the market,’ Tatum said.

“Gummy candies—such as Haribo gummy bears—are traditionally made with gelatin, which is derived from the connective tissue of animal bones, most commonly from pigs. Since this ingredient is off-putting to many for ethical and religious reasons, new gummy candies made with plant-based substitutes such as fruit-derived pectin have become more popular in recent years.

“Tatum’s entry into the sweet world of vegan snacking follows the launch of Husk, a vegan popcorn brand developed by chef RC Mills and NBA legend Scottie Pippen, who played for the Chicago Bulls for 12 seasons. Pippen and Mills developed the vegan brand over the course of several years with a mission to deliver a better-for-you snack for adults and children alike.

“NBA star JaVale McGee is an investor in Outstanding Foods, a plant-based brand known for its innovative snacks such as pig-free pork rinds and recently released dairy-free cheese balls. Last year, McGee—who has been vegan since 2016—partnered with Outstanding Foods on the #HellaHotChallenge, a spicy chip-eating competition that brought awareness to McGee’s Juglife organization, which is on a mission to bring healthy living through clean water to communities in need. Fellow NBA star Chris Paul, meanwhile, is part of a group of 14 athlete investors and ambassadors of Beyond Meat and has worked with the brand ever since he went vegan in 2019.” (Anna Starostinetskaya,

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3 out of 4 Brits want vegan cars

Last May 16, revealed that, based on a new study, the majority of Brits want to purchase vegan cars. The Vegan Society recently joined up with research company Attest to ask 750 UK drivers their opinion on vegan cars.

Excerpts from the story:

“According to the findings, 75% want to see car companies remove animal products from their vehicles, while 70% were ‘actively interested’ in purchasing a totally vegan car in the future.

“Right now, a completely animal-free car does not exist. Aside from the obvious leather interiors, carmakers often use animal products to build everything from tires to the frame. In the former, animal fat toughens the rubber, and in the latter, it lubricates the steel.

“But, in line with public opinion, car manufacturers are making changes. According to PETA’s vegan car guide, Honda, Citroën, Dacia, and Ford now offer vegan interiors in a number of models. In 2020, Bentley revealed its new electric car concept (the EXP 100 GT), which featured interiors made with grape leather. More recently, Mercedes-Benz announced that its new electric concept car Vision EQXX features mushroom and cactus leather. It also includes vegan silk in the interior.” (Charlotte Pointing,

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NHS warns meat-eaters amid monkeypox outbreak

On May 24, reported that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) had cautioned those who eat meat to choose and prepare their food carefully, as monkeypox cases climb in England.

Excerpts from the story:

“Monkeypox is a rare infection that typically manifests as a rash, which develops into fluid-filled blisters. The rash is often preceded by symptoms such as a high temperature, headaches, muscle aches, backaches, swollen glands, shivering, and/or exhaustion. It usually takes between five and 21 days for the first symptom to appear after infection.

“Monkeypox is typically found in Africa, but more than 130 cases have now been discovered in 19 countries outside of the continent, cropping up in Europe, United States, Canada, and Australia. Officials have assured that while the number of cases is ‘unusual’, the illness is usually mild, clearing up in two to four weeks.

“Monkeypox is predominantly spread by wild animals—rats, mice, and squirrels—in west and central Africa. A human can catch the disease if they are bitten by an infected animal, or if they come into contact with infected blood, body fluids, blisters, or scabs. You can also catch monkeypox by eating undercooked meat from an infected animal, according to the NHS, or by handling infected ‘products’ like animal skin and fur. Touching clothing, bedding, or towels used by anyone with the monkeypox rash also raises the risk of infection. The coughs and sneezes of an infected individual can spread the disease too.” (Jemima Webber,

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Convincing BK to include vegan bacon in menu

On May 24, revealed that for the next six months, Burger King would add vegan bacon made by French startup La Vie to its 550 locations across France. The news came after the startup—which is backed by actress Natalie Portman—engaged in a week-long campaign to urge Burger King to add its vegan bacon to the Veggie Steakhouse, a plant-based remake of a meat-heavy mainstay.

Excerpts from the story:

“A Burger King customer named Julien noticed that the Veggie Steakhouse failed to mimic the original by leaving off bacon entirely. ‘Sorry guys, I’m waiting for the Veggie Steakhouse with La Vie bacon,’ he tweeted. La Vie responded with a clever campaign to convince Burger King to add its vegan bacon. La Vie took out a full page ad in Paris newspaper Le Parisien to bring attention to this issue.

“In addition to the ad, over the weekend, La Vie sent out its ‘Love Truck’ to the Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt area where Burger King customers could bring their Veggie Steakhouse burgers to be doctored up with vegan bacon.

“Whether or not this was a big marketing stunt remains a mystery but all of the commotion proved successful and could result in a wider rollout of the vegan bacon at other Burger King locations in Europe.

“In January, La Vie raised €20 million ($21 million) in a funding round that included participation from Portman, funding it is using to expand its European distribution. La Vie is looking for an additional investment of €50 million ($53 million) to fund its expansion plans into the United States.” (Anna Starostinetskaya,

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Last 310 bears in Vietnam bile trade rescued

On May 26, reported that the last 310 bears being kept at bile farms across Vietnam would soon be free, thanks to a 28-year initiative driven by the Animals Asia team.

Excerpts from the story:

“Officially established in 1998, Animals Asia campaigns for improved conditions and rights for various species across Asia. It operates award-winning sanctuaries in Vietnam and China (and is the only organization with a bear sanctuary in the latter). These sanctuaries are home to hundreds of bears who were rescued from the bile trade.

“In order to extract bile from their gallbladders, bears are subject to invasive, painful procedures. They are permanently kept in metal cages; many are so small that bears are left unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Some bears are caged as cubs, and held captive for up to 30 years.

“The bile, thought to have healing properties, is used in traditional Chinese medicine. It also appears in some household products like shampoo and toothpaste. Demand for bile products comes predominantly from Asia, but such items are also found in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

“In 2017, Animals Asia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Vietnamese government, committing to the closure of all bear farms in Vietnam. The MOU outlined an agreement between the two parties, which would see them working together to free the then-1,000 animals who were still in the industry.” (Jemima Webber,

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Obama tackles US food system in new Netflix show

On May 26, featured former US President Barack Obama as the executive producer of the new Netflix series “The G Word with Adam Conover” to take a deeper look into the government’s involvement in everyday American life.

Excerpts from the story:

“Conover embarks on this mission in the opening episode, titled ‘Food’, which focuses on government involvement in various elements of animal agriculture, including food safety and subsidies. Conover starts by exploring the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt. Conover posits that while at the time, a government stamp of approval on meat might have been helpful to prevent disease, currently, the meat industry has grown too large for this process to still be effective.

“Obama’s involvement in the series comes right after the release of ‘Our Great National Parks’, another Netflix series he narrated to showcase the natural wonders of national parks around the world. And the former president, who is clearly a nature lover, has been vocal about how animal agriculture affects the environment.

“In 2017, Obama delivered the keynote speech at the Seed & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan, Italy. There, he spoke about how rising meat consumption will lead to devastating effects on planetary health.

“When he celebrated his 60th birthday last year, the menu—curated by musical artist Questlove—showcased some of the food industry’s most innovative alternatives to animal protein: Spam Musubi made with a combination of plant-based beef and pork from Impossible Foods and mung bean-based JUST Egg, along with the plant-based Questlove’s Cheesesteak Eggrolls made with Impossible Foods’ plant-based beef and a never-before-seen cheese sauce crafted by Perfect Day—known for its animal-free whey.” (Anna Starostinetskaya,

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Vegan breaks 2 Guinness World Records

Last May 27, reported that the Guinness World Records for most pushups in eight and 12 hours had been broken by chiropractor, former bodybuilder, and vegan Dr. Joe DeMarco.

Excerpts from the story:

“On May 25, DeMarco completed an eye-watering 21,008 pushups in 12 hours, surpassing the previous record of 20,085. During the same event, he also smashed through the previous eight-hour record, performing 15,261 pushups, compared to the former record-holder’s 14,444.

“The athletic feat comes off the back of DeMarco’s 20-year bodybuilding career and background in gymnastics. The 57-year-old, based in Massachusetts, has since retired from bodybuilding but still enjoys ‘continually challenging’ himself.

“‘My motivation for this most recent challenge was my dog Buddha,’ DeMarco wrote online. DeMarco rescued Buddha around two years ago. After a ‘very tough year’, Buddha lost the use of his back legs and developed a malignant tumor on his spleen, DeMarco disclosed. ‘I don’t know how much longer Buddha will be with me, but I have dedicated my latest challenge to him,’ he said.

“DeMarco set up a fundraiser for the Guinness World Record attempt-turn-triumph. All proceeds will go to Cape Ann Animal Aid, a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter located in Gloucester, Massachusetts.” (Jemima Webber,

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20 Vegan brands coalesce to keep plastic bags off landfills

On May 27, reported that 20 plant-based food brands from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom were coming together to tackle plastic pollution. In partnership with plastic action platform rePurpose Global, brands such as Outstanding Foods, Myvegan, The Very Good Butchers, and V-Dog are working to remove plastic waste equaling over 27 million plastic bags, or 3 million plastic bottles, in weight from the planet.

Excerpts from the story:

“Focusing on the value chain, rePurpose helps people and companies calculate, reduce, and offset their plastic footprint and advance a circular economy. To make their own impact, the 20 plant-based brands that signed on to rePurpose are reducing the plastic in their packaging and supply chains and financing the recovery of nature-bound plastic waste through rePurpose’s social enterprise waste projects, creating additional income streams for more than 10,000 waste workers and community members across three continents.

“According to rePurpose, of the 5.8 billion metric tons of plastic waste generated globally over the past 70 years, only about 9% has been recycled, leaving the rest to be incinerated, sent to landfill, or littered in the environment.

“Although vegan and plant-based products are already reducing carbon footprints and helping mitigate climate change compared to their animal-based counterparts, their climate action can be stunted by the use of plastic packaging that is frequently non-recyclable and ends up in landfills or oceans. According to Our World in Data, plastic packaging is the leading contributor to plastic waste, generating an estimated 141 million metric tons of plastic waste each year.

“A similar plastic-free movement is taking shape in the fashion industry. Last year, VH Corp.—the parent company of fashion brands Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger—joined the plastic-free vegan leather movement by partnering with biotechnology company Ecovative. The partnership gives PVH priority access to Ecovative’s sustainable vegan leather made from fast-growing mycelium (mushroom root systems). PVH is also working directly with Ecovative to co-develop custom mycelium materials to bring a range of products to retail, from soft vegan leather accessories and garments to thick, durable belts and shoes.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Vegan steaks hit the plate

On May 27, reported about an emerging player in a new era of plant-based meat, Juicy Marbles, a Slovenian company founded in 2020 by food technologist Tilen Travnik, microbiologist Luka Sincek, and biotechnologist Maj Hrovat. The startup makes vegan filet mignon steaks by layering soy protein into linear fibers using the Meat-o-matic Reverse Grinder TM 9000, its patent-pending technology that reverse-engineers animal meat and improves upon it in terms of flavor longevity, juiciness retention, crust development, and nutrition profile.

Excerpts from the story:

“On May 8, Juicy Marbles made its vegan filet mignon available to US customers for the first time through what it calls a ‘meat leak’. Within eight hours, the company sold thousands of steaks for a sell-out success—despite a hefty price tag of approximately $40 per steak. 

“Juicy Marbles’ current pricing is due to its small production capacity. However, the startup aims to drastically bring the price of its steak below animal meat in one to two years.

“While Juicy Marbles has already found success in a direct-to-consumer approach, Israel-based Redefine Meats is taking on the high-end foodservice industry with its whole-cut steak and lamb—called New-Meat—that it makes entirely from plants. Founded in 2019, Redefine Meat uses a revolutionary 3D technology that maps 70 sensorial parameters to create a cut of vegan meat that mimics the taste, texture, and juiciness of a whole-cut of animal meat. To give chefs a variety of plant-based protein options, the company also produces culinary-grade ground beef, sausages, premium burgers, and lamb kebabs.

“The Meatless Farm Co is a UK-based brand that initially got into plant-based meats by way of easier to replicate grounds. Now, the company is releasing a whole-cut pea protein-based steak made using its proprietary technology to emulate the taste and texture of beef steak. Launched to coincide with an uptick in at-home steak consumption among British consumers, Meatless Farm’s new plant-based steak is now hitting 125 locations of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s at a relatively affordable price point of £3.50 ($4.41) for two filets.” (Anna Starostinetskaya, 

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Doghammer debuts ‘world first’ vegan MTB shoes

On May 30, featured the German outdoor shoe brand Doghammer, which claims it had launched the first-ever vegan shoes made for mountain biking.

Excerpts from the story:

“Called Bike Graveler, the cycling shoes are constructed from a range of natural materials derived from non-animal sources, including the glue that holds the shoes together. Bike Graveler’s upper features contrast panels made from a mixture of vegan leather, natural canvas, and cork. The latter is grown and processed in Portugal.

“The removable insole is made from recycled cork, which is collected through the brand’s Cork Collect Challenge and helps to provide soft cushioning. Doghammer claims that the cork-based insole is also quick-drying and odorless. The cycling shoes also feature a non-slip Vibram sole product made from recycled rubber for increased grip on every pedal. Offering a lighter fit, the mountain bike shoes weigh around 1120 grams.” (Riya Lakhani-Kanji,

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Farm Sanctuary course tackles social justice via vegan lens

On May 30, featured New York-based animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary as it launches a community learning program that aims to increase the public’s understanding that the treatment of animals raised for food is a reflection of a pervasive pattern of harm within the food system that also impacts farmworkers, communities, and the environment.

Excerpts from the story:

“Advocates and Farm Sanctuary team members Dana McPhall and Miko Brown are leading the free, virtual 13-week course on the intersections of social justice movements, particularly focusing on veganism through the lens of patterns of oppression within the United States food system.

“The Social Justice & Our Food System Community Learning Program aims to increase the understanding of advocacy for farmed animals as part of overall efforts to achieve a more just and equitable food system. With their more than 35 years of combined experience working for social change in the nonprofit and government sectors, McPhall and Brown use a social justice framework to explore these topics in an effort to inspire action and support the development of emerging leaders in contributing to transformative change within their communities.

“Founded in 1986 by Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at its sanctuaries in New York and California, in addition to advocating for veganism and legal and policy reforms.

“The program consists of five hours per week which includes a virtual meeting, reviewing learning materials, and contributing to a weekly group discussion forum. All components of the program are virtual and feature recorded talks and presentations from guest speakers along with required reading. Participants do not have to be vegan but are expected to be open to conversations about veganism as a central component of programming.

“Last year, Farm Sanctuary took on a wider approach to animal advocacy to include social justice issues within animal agriculture and the global food system, including interrelated issues of oppression among workers and communities. In addition to advocating for animals in industrial agriculture, its expanded website platform now highlights the interrelated issues of oppression that stem from the global food system, including social injustices, human rights violations, and community health crises, and aims to educate consumers about how a shift from an animal-based to a plant-based lifestyle can be the most impactful social change movement of our time.” (Nicole Axworthy,

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Address inequality before tackling climate crisis

On May 30, revealed a new report that urged the need to tackle inequality first before combating the climate crisis. The new analysis, worked on by researchers from Salem State University and University College London, assessed several existing studies and concluded that the wealth gap has been making the climate crisis tougher to overcome.

Excerpts from the story:

“The researchers argue that governments should now focus on creating more jobs and improving social services, as outlined in the ‘Green New Deal’, a set of proposals that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but at the same time, also help more people into work and close the wealth divide.

“The growing gap between the rich and the financially insecure is fueling the climate crisis, notes the study. For example, rich people have more money and resources at their disposal, and much of this goes on hobbies or activities that hurt the planet. One report in 2021 suggested that a small number of wealthy frequent flyers are responsible for most air travel. And previous research found that billionaire Bill Gates flew 59 times in 2017. As a result, he generated more than 1,600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“But it’s not just about the rich and their jet-setting habits. It’s also about the social climate that a divided society creates. Professor Fergus Green of University College London, who also co-authored the study, said: ‘Inequality erodes the social foundations of democracy, making it harder to develop collective responses to climate change.’” (Charlotte Pointing,

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