PETA Takes Food Justice Campaign to Cities Across the Country

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10 min read

The fight for food justice has never tasted so good! With the help of local vegan restaurants and food justice advocates—including Ashley Jackson, Slutty Vegan’s Pinky Cole and Rev. Dr. Robert Turner—PETA’s working to bring healthy vegan foods to food deserts in cities across the country, one free vegan meal at a time.

PETA’s vegan food giveaway events are part of our national campaign, which calls on government officials to stop propping up the meat, egg, and dairy industries with taxpayers’ money and instead redirect those funds to subsidize incentives for grocers in food deserts to stock fresh vegetables, fruits, and other healthy, humane vegan foods.

See how our vegan food giveaway events are bringing communities together in the fight for food justice:

Washington, D.C.: Ashley Jackson and the Metropolitan AME Church Team Up With PETA to Fight for Food Justice in the Nation’s Capital!

On August 6, 2023, Ashley Jackson—vegan activist and daughter of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson—and Rev. William Lamar joined PETA for a food justice giveaway at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown D.C. Everyone at the event received a bag filled with fresh produce and vegan pantry staples along with a free vegan meal from HipCityVeg and NuVegan Café! In the D.C. area, one out of every three people struggles with food insecurity, so PETA, Jackson, and Lamar encouraged locals to write to their elected officials and urge them to fund plant-based food suppliers and create incentives for grocers in food deserts to stock more fresh produce and other healthy, humane, vegan foods.

Ashley Jackson wearing lettuce dress with "food justice for all! Go Vegan" in white text on the left. Pink background

After leaving the church, PETA and Jackson headed to the Anacostia Metro station, in Ward 8, where there’s only one grocery store per every 39,000 people, to give away another 50 bags packed with fresh fruits, vegetables, and shelf-stable vegan goods. Food justice is social justice, and PETA’s national food justice campaign will continue until everyone, no matter their zip code, has access to healthy vegan foods that strengthen the body, protect the planet, and spare animals’ lives.

handing out vegan meals at a food justice event in Washington, D.C.

handing out vegan meals at a food justice event in Washington, D.C.

Stockton, California: Council Member Kimberly Warmsley Helps PETA Fight Food Deserts With Vegan Food Giveaway

On February 2, 2023, Stockton City Council Member Kimberly Warmsley and America’s Got Talent winner Brandon Leake joined PETA to give out free vegan chicken burritos and watermelon agua fresca from Carlos Bryant’s Las Maris Vegan food truck as well as bags packed with fresh produce and other vegan staples. The giveaway was part of PETA’s national food justice campaign, which seeks to help cities like Stockton end food injustice by making vegan foods more accessible.

A food giveaway Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, at McKinley Park in Stockton, Calif.

People in California and elsewhere can text JUSTICE to 73822 to call on state legislators to take action in order to save animals’ lives; help vulnerable communities reduce their rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; and safeguard the environment, given that animal agriculture is responsible for nearly one-fifth of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

A food giveaway Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, at McKinley Park in Stockton, Calif.

Detroit: City Council President Pro Tem James Tate and PETA Host Giveaway

On September 24, Detroit City Council President Pro Tem James Tate helped PETA continue its fight for food justice.

city council president james tate at the detroit food justice giveaway

One hundred fifty Detroit residents received free, reusable bags filled with fresh produce and nonperishable vegan food and were treated to free vegan chickpea tuna wraps from local restaurant Estella’s Vegan Cuisine & Desserts as well as free pints of JD’s Vegan ice cream donated by musician Jermaine Dupri to help spotlight PETA’s food justice campaign.

detroit food justice giveaway with jd's ice cream

Rachelle Owen—the senior director of PETA’s Students Opposing Speciesism and a Detroit native—spoke about the food justice initiative at Tate’s District 1 meeting ahead of the giveaway. She encouraged residents to urge Michigan state legislators to redirect funds that prop up the cruel, environmentally destructive meat, egg, and dairy industries to provide grocers in food deserts with incentives to stock vegetables, fruits, and other healthy vegan foods—and to enjoy fresh, delicious, humane food after the event.

people receiving food at the detroit food justice giveaway

Atlanta: Jermaine Dupri, Pinky Cole, and Pastor Jamal Bryant Team Up to Help PETA With the Largest Food Giveaway Event Yet

On Saturday, February 5, Senior Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant of NewBirth church and Slutty Vegan owner Pinky Cole helped PETA host our biggest giveaway event yet!

Together, we handed out 300 delicious vegan Chik’n Had and PLT sandwiches from Slutty Vegan, 500 cartons of JD’s Vegan Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert donated by Jermaine Dupri, and 1,000 free meal kits packed with fresh produce and more as part of our food justice campaign.

Locals at the event were encouraged to call on their legislators—as Cole and Bryant have— to take action by redirecting meat, egg, and dairy industry subsidies toward incentivizing grocery stores to stock healthy, humane vegan food in food deserts. In Atlanta alone, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has classified more than 35 areas as food deserts, and nearly 2 million Georgia residents, including about 500,000 children, live in food deserts.

Baltimore: Rev. Turner and The Land of Kush Give Away Free Meals With PETA

Rev. Dr. Robert Turner teamed up with PETA once again to demand food justice, this time in his new home city of Baltimore. Local vegan restaurant The Land of Kush donated vegan crab cake sandwiches and meatless barbecue rib wraps after a church service at Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple AME Church. Volunteers also handed out bags filled with fresh produce and other healthy, animal-friendly foods.

The church is located in a food desert, and one in four Baltimore residents also lives in one. Almost one-third of the city’s residents don’t have access to a car, making it even more crucial that grocery stores in the area be stocked with fresh, healthy foods. Turner has also sent a letter to the Maryland governor make these changes in order to end the food insecurity that disproportionately affects communities of color.

Los Angeles: Vegan Radio Host Krystal Bee and PETA Latino Hand Out 300 Free Meals From VegainzLA

The national food justice campaign continued on Tuesday, November 23, with a food giveaway in Inglewood, California. PETA Latino supporters and on-air personality Krystal Bee cohosted the event and handed out 300 free vegan meals from local restaurant VegainzLA. The healthy, delicious meals included various meat-free wraps.

Community members also received bags filled with fresh vegetables and fruits and other healthy, animal-friendly foods.

Krystal and the owner of VegainzLA also sent letters to their legislators and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, urging them to redirect subsidies to benefit those who need such help the most. About 8 million people in the state struggle with food insecurity. In Los Angeles alone, nearly 20% of the population lives in a food desert and nearly half live in areas with little access to grocery stores.

“I was born and raised in Inglewood, and the unhealthy food that I grew up eating left me sick and tired. I started VegainzLA with the idea that food is medicine and that our community deserves delicious vegan food that heals us, instead of killing us.”

—VegainzLA owner Alan Herrera

In California? Text JUSTICE to 73822 to join the campaign, and take action here.

Brooklyn: PETA and ‘Vigilante Vegan’ Hand Out Free Vegan Thanksgiving Roasts in Flatbush

On November 16, PETA and activist Stewart Mitchell (aka “Vigilante Vegan”) passed out free vegan Thanksgiving roasts to passersby at a busy intersection in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Volunteers handed out recipes and information about redirecting meat, egg, and dairy subsidies to help people in underserved communities. The event introduced many community members to vegan meat, just in time for “ThanksVegan.”

Indianapolis: PETA Fuses With Local Restaurants to Give Out 300 Free Meals

On Saturday, November 6, PETA teamed up with local restaurants Black Leaf Vegan and Pure Food + Juice to serve 300 vegan burgers and brats for free.

To promote our campaign even more, PETA and Black Leaf handed out postcards for community members to write to their legislators, urging them to redirect meat, egg, and dairy subsidies toward providing their communities with healthy vegan foods. We also handed out copies of our vegan meal starter kit, which includes a reusable green grocery bag, an easy go-vegan guide, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, tofu, and more.

Tulsa: PETA Gives Out 300 Free Vegan Burgers to Residents

On October 19, PETA enlisted Tulsa’s Historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church to give away 300 free vegan burgers and vegan starter kits.

Rev. Turner lent his support as well, igniting the event with a passionate call for Oklahoma legislators to take action against food insecurity that disproportionately affects communities of color:

Black and brown families deserve to have the same access to fresh, healthy plant-based food as anyone else. For decades, the government has been propping up industries that are making people sick and harming God’s creatures. No more. In Tulsa alone, where I’m currently based, nearly 20% of the population lives in a food desert. Not having access to healthy foods forces people to eat processed meats and snacks, which hurts the body, mind, and spirit. Healthy plant-based foods, on the other hand, help prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, and cancer—one of many reasons why I’m committed to eating vegan.

Atlanta: PETA Kicks Off Our Food Justice Campaign, Slutty Vegan Style

PETA partnered with Slutty Vegan restaurateur Pinky Cole to give away her delicious entrées—including the iconic Main Chik sandwich—free to an excited Atlanta crowd.

“We’re honored to bring good, kinder food to Atlanta and are grateful for PETA taking up this issue on a national level,” said Cole. Attendees also scooped up PETA’s free vegan meal starter kits to help them go vegan.

Why Should You Join PETA’s Food Justice Campaign?

Every year, the U.S. government spends about $38 billion in tax money to subsidize the meat, egg, and dairy industries, the vast majority of which goes to big corporations, not American farmers. Only about $17 million is used to subsidize the fruit and vegetable industries—even though the federal government’s own dietary guidelines encourage people to eat more produce and fewer animal-derived products.

Decades of scientific studies have repeatedly proved that choosing vegetables, grains, beans, fruits, nuts, and other vegan foods over meat, eggs, and dairy helps support a lifetime of good health. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that vegans enjoy a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and lower body mass indexes as well as lower overall rates of developing cancer.

In addition, cruel animal agriculture industries exploit and kill sensitive cows, chickens, pigs, fish, and others who don’t want to suffer or be served on a plate. Our fellow animals have families and complex lives, just as we do.

Take Action for Food Justice Now!

Everyone deserves to have access to nutritious, affordable food. You can support PETA’s initiative for food justice by taking action in your state and signing up to receive campaign updates:

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