FEATURE: Brenda Sanders

Photo Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Photo Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Brenda is a food justice activist in Baltimore City, MD, who advocates for social and environmental justice as well as animal rights through the framework of veganism. Her work ranges from vegan cooking demonstrations to lectures on animal rights to presentations exposing environmental racism. She also hosts a monthly vegan support group, organizes a vegan culture & food festival (Vegan Soulfest), manages community gardens in an economically depressed neighborhood, and is a founding member of a vegan food collective (PEP Foods) that is bringing affordable vegan food to low-income communities in Baltimore. Here’s a snapshot of her work.

Food Justice Activism

As Executive Director of Better Health, Better Life, Brenda coordinates Eating for Life, a series of workshops designed to expose families in low-income Baltimore communities to the many benefits of eating a healthy plant diet. Through these workshops, Brenda is able to address both the health disparities and the food access challenges in marginalized communities.

Through the Penn-North Community Gardens, Brenda helps to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to families in the Penn-North neighborhood of Baltimore City and assist them in taking back control of their access to healthy foods in their community.

As a founding member of the PEP Foods Collective, Brenda works to help bring affordable vegan food to low-income Baltimore communities. PEP Foods’ goal is to change the food landscape in marginalized communities by putting non-dairy cheeses, meat substitutes and healthy grab-n-go convenience foods into carry-outs, corner stores and mini-marts in the Baltimore communities where healthy foods aren’t made available.   

Animal Rights Activism

Brenda has done lectures on animal rights at conferences and colleges around the country. Her work as a social and environmental justice activist allows for a multi-faceted perspective on the various ways in which animal exploitation negatively impacts animals, humans and the planet we all inhabit.

Environmental Justice Activism

Brenda works with the environmental justice organization Energy Justice Network to help people in Baltimore communities to recognize the environmental racism at work in the targeting of low-income communities of color with environmental pollution - and how adopting a plant diet can improve the inevitable negative health impacts that result from this unfair targeting.

Vegan Education

As Co-Director of the animal advocacy organization Open the Cages Alliance, Brenda co-organizes the Vegan Living Program, a six-week vegan education program. Since 2011, the Vegan Living Program has engaged hundreds of people in the Baltimore area with information about the many benefits of the vegan lifestyle.

Brenda is also co-creator of Vegan SoulFest, an annual celebration of culture and the vegan lifestyle in Baltimore City. This festival brings together experts in vegan nutrition, vegan chefs, businesses and organizations that promote the vegan lifestyle to demonstrate all the benefits of the vegan lifestyle to the people of Baltimore City.


PEP Foods: www.pepfoodsinc.com

Better Health, Better Life: www.bhblnow.org

Vegan Living Program: http://www.openthecages.org/vlp/index.html

Penn-North Gardens: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1599377163668047

Vegan SoulFest: http://www.vegansoulfest.com