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It was recently announced that vegan fast food restaurant Plant Power plans to open ten location within the next three years. It was also announced that they aim to open in locations “where low-income families only see [non-vegan] McDonald’s… for miles.”
Hello Plant Power, let me introduce you to the Bronx, a beautiful borough in New York City where I can literally hit ten different major fast food chains in five minutes just by walking. As the Bronxite behind The Bronx Vegan, I’d like to list all the reasons why you can and should establish a presence in the Bronx. Before I start, I want to assure you that this will not be an article bashing the Bronx in any way. We are doing just fine and thriving as it is. Our food and health situation, though…not the best. Your vegan space won't necessarily cure all of our problems, but it will help.
We are one of the poorest boroughs in NYC.
As a low-income area predominantly filled with people of color, we are a community that is plagued by fast food establishments that prey on our poverty. It is said that over 52 percent of Bronx neighborhoods are experiencing high or extreme poverty. While we do have a few restaurants that have vegan-friendly options, it’s much harder and more expensive to access these places than it would be to access a fast food spot.
We were labeled one of the most unhealthy cities in the U.S.
According to the annual national County Health Rankings, the Bronx ranks as the 62nd unhealthiest county, out of 62 New York communities surveyed. The survey also took into account high school graduation rates, mental health issues, unemployment, access to healthy foods, etc. All around, we are a suffering community that is in need of institutions that not only understand our situation, but care about us. I feel like you’re that institution, Plant Power.
Bronxites are busy women of color trying to provide for themselves, their families, and their community.
I really don’t need data to prove this, but if I must: census data shows that the majority of the population is 52.8 percent female, 56.2 percent Latinx, and 43.7 percent Black. As a Bronx native, I know that women of color are changing this community by the work I see them do for FREE, every day. On top of their 9-to-5s, taking care of their families, and themselves, our community is reliant on fast food sources for everyday nourishment.
Veganism and The Bronx is an unusual pairing in elitist vegan spaces.
Trust me, I’ve been to many a vegan event in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the many gentrified spaces in NYC. I’ve had many perplexed stares when I introduce my blog and goals behind it. They don’t believe the Bronx wants veganism, but I know for a fact we do. I know you would believe in us.
Speaking of gentrification? We can’t have that, so here’s my solution.
Open a temporary pop-up in Manhattan or somewhere gentrified where you hike up the prices so they can get their fill of your vegan offerings while you make massive profit. These bloggers need a space to go take their pictures for maybe a couple days until they get bored and move on to their fancy vegan places, so I feel this is a good idea to just keep them in their spaces.
Then launch the actual restaurant in The Bronx well after the fact. See, it keeps the rich out and our community intact. Well, maybe it won't be that easy and I know this doesn’t really align with your goal of catering to low-income communities, but for real you’re gonna attract the elitist anyway so please consider that when you do land here.
Also, now that we’re on the topic of what you could do best for any low-income community facing gentrification...
Hire people who represent our community. Brown and black people. Hire our youth. Give them good pay. Reward them for being good workers. Help them when they’re struggling. Be vocal about our issues. Support our causes. Support us.
If you think Plant Power should open a location in The Bronx, share this article!