Kolkata’s First Vegan Community Cafe
We’re taught to think of animals raised for food if we think of them at all— the nameless, faceless herds and flocks. But animals are individuals with unique personalities and emotions. They feel joy, affection, and pleasure, as well as fear, grief, and pain. Like us, they form deep friendships and emotional bonds and like us they seek to preserve their only lives, which they cherish.
I am a Vegan since 2015 and that time I started learning about what is the impact of our lifestyle on the environment. I found that consumption of meat, egg, dairy is one of the largest reasons behind environmental destruction and species extinction.
In fact, the egg and dairy industries cause enormous suffering and kill billions of hens and baby chicks, and millions of cows and calves, every year.
But, the question arises is it important to eat animals at all?
A well balanced vegan diet can easily provide all the nutrients we need to thrive. Government health experts worldwide are finally catching up with the large body of scientific evidence demonstrating that a vegan diet is not only a viable option for people of any age, but that eating plant foods instead of animal-based foods can confer significant health benefits, including reduction in incidence of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Veganism is a lifestyle that makes one live without the use of animals if it is not absolutely necessary. People who follow veganism, eat a plant-based diet and say no to meat, dairy, egg, honey products. They don’t buy or use products made of leather, silk and other animal parts.
Many skincare daily usage products are tested on animals and as vegans such products should be avoided too. The idea is to believe that animals are our Earthlings and giving them pain or torturing them is not an act of a human but evil.
Also, climate change! Recent reports about causes behind Climate Change tell that livestock agriculture is one of the leading resource-consuming industries when it comes to water, land, and food. Also, it emits Methane, one of the leading GHG which is more than GHG emission of the whole transport industry. Our meat and dairy diet is responsible for deforestation all around the world and ocean pollution.
Idea behind Ubuntu Community cafe
To spread awareness about veganism, especially in Kolkata, I came up with the concept of this eco-friendly cafe.
Ubuntu is a space where you can pop in for a meal, stay for a few days, host meetups, and hang out with like-minded people. Ubuntu is called a community café because they believe in engaging with the neighborhood to develop an eco-friendly conscious locality.
Through outreach and dialogue, they connect with other people in the area and encourage them to adopt green living practices. Also, all the plant-based dishes served here are well-curated for taste buds of non-vegans.
Though, Kolkata being one of the top meat and dairy consumers of India, is not very supportive of plant-based food. We did face some challenges in understanding the taste buds of Kolkata locals and non-vegans bong.
Through this initiative, we want to make people aware about veganism in Kolkata and India because that is the future!
(Abhinav Bajpai is the co-founder of Ubuntu Community Cafe which is Kolkata’s first plant-based, sustainable, zero-waste cafe.)
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)