Skip Navigation

Meet Brenda Sanders, FlipIt’s Chief Strategist

October 23, 2023

Photo: Unbound Project

Doing food justice activism involves acknowledging that there are injustices built into the food system, identifying exactly where those injustices are, and then working to figure out solutions that can bring about a more just food system.

For me, that journey started while I was growing up in the housing projects of Baltimore City. Not having access to fresh fruits and vegetables in our community was normal. The closest fresh food market was an hour-long bus ride away, and truckfuls of these processed foods were dumped into our neighborhoods daily, so that’s what we ate. Eating nothing but salty, oily, sugary packaged animal products led to many people suffering from the health challenges associated with poor diet. So, I grew up seeing the devastating impact of food system injustice.

Once I was able to acknowledge and identify the problems with the way our current food system is set up and saw the way people from marginalized communities were being unjustly targeted with unhealthy foods, I wanted to use my experience with the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet—along with my affinity for public speaking—to be a part of the solution. I started conducting free plant-based cooking demos in local community centers and churches, and those demos went from twenty people to fifty people to one hundred and fifty people in the span of a few months. At that point I realized there needed to be an organization that had a specific mission to address food justice issues in marginalized communities—and Afro-Vegan Society was born.

Through Afro-Vegan Society’s online programming, we were able to reach thousands and then tens of thousands of people with the information and inspiration. Events like the Veguary Black History Month celebration in February, the Earth Day class in April, the Dump Dairy workshop in June and the National Afro-Vegan Virtual Conference in November brought together thousands of people to create community around issues like the benefits of plant-based eating, the negative impact of CAFOs on communities of color and how animal agriculture is one of the major drivers of climate change.

After my time doing local community organizing and the expertise Afro-Vegan Society has gained through engaging large numbers of people with online programming, it’s easy to see FlipIt as another powerful opportunity to connect to marginalized communities. Through its innovative storytelling model, FlipIt spotlights activists, influencers, business owners and other changemakers who work to flip food norms in a more plant-forward direction. My position as Chief Strategist for the FlipIt campaign allows me to utilize a platform that’s compelling enough to reach millions of people, thereby shifting culture towards a healthier way of engaging with food, our environment, and the animals with whom we share the planet.  FlipIt represents the evolution of the work I’ve been doing, sparking national conversations around race, the benefits of plant-based eating—both at the personal and institutional level—and how we can create a truly just and equitable food system.

Brenda Sanders
Chief Strategist, FlipIt
Executive Director, Afro-Vegan Society