#BGFMeets sisterwoman vegan
#BGFMeets is our new blog series featuring businesses all run by Black womxn from our community and wider network.
This month, we meet Safiya Robinson, founder of sisterwoman vegan - a vegan and soul food business. Safiya writes about her experience starting a business, becoming a vendor at Black Girl Festivals and her plans for her growing business.
Talk about the pleasure,
Talk about the pain.
-Woman Talk, a-dZiko Simba
sisterwoman vegan is a vegan soul food business and political project aiming to encourage healing throughout the Black diaspora using plant based dishes inspired by Black women and our stories. I want to provide a space to empower Black women to think more critically about the food that we eat and repair our relationships with food that patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy continue to disrupt.
Black Girl Festival has been an integral part of my journey; in 2017 I launched my business at the first Black Girl Fest and this year we sold out in less than three hours. BGF provides the perfect space to begin these conversations, encouraging Black women to talk about the pleasure and talk about the pain in a space that is for us, by us, surrounded by community, family and sisterhood. The mainstream vegan movement is extremely whitewashed, and despite a large number of Black vegans existing and thriving in the UK our unique intersectional experiences tend to be ignored or pushed to the side in favour of a less radical politic.
Launching sisterwoman at Black Girl Festival allowed me to fully centre Black women and normalize our experiences and our existence within the wider vegan movement. Seeing Black women who had never tried vegan food before rush back to the stall to let me know they were now considering a plant based change, others asking for recipes and wondering what vegan cheese I use (it’s homemade!) brought me so much joy. Even better still was seeing young Black girls whose mothers swore they were picky eaters polishing off their plates and aunties coming back for seconds with their family and friends in tow. I want to continue to ensure that my main customers remain Black women.
Having a stall at Black Girl Fest has meant that Black women know sisterwoman exists for them and has further allowed for many fruitful partnerships, such as catering for Imkaan’s 20th Anniversary Dinner (a Black women’s charity) as well as requests for me to offer private meal prep, cooking lessons and workshops.
With vegan businesses booming this year and entering the mainstream, Black Girl Fest has been so important for small businesses like sisterwoman to be recognised both within and outside of the community.
Watch out for future #BGFMeets posts.