Vegan charity using fermented foods to spread message

Hungry for Raw's Erin Sanders and Jessie Hume send out free vegan starter kits as they try to normalise veganism.
JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Hungry for Raw's Erin Sanders and Jessie Hume send out free vegan starter kits as they try to normalise veganism.

An Auckland food catering charity is harnessing raw and fermented foods as a tool to help it expand.

Plant-based zero waste charity Hungry for Raw supplies vegan food at weddings, birthdays and markets across Auckland. Veganism is a diet that excludes all animal derived ingredients including meat, dairy and eggs. 

Founders Jessie Hume, 39, and Erin Sanders, 29, started the catering business to help fund their distribution of "starter kits" - manuals on how and why people can become vegans.

Food writer Delaney Mes says fermenting food is becoming increasingly popular.
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ

Food writer Delaney Mes says fermenting food is becoming increasingly popular.

They produce vegan cheesecake bars, chia seed pudding, and gourmet nacho and black bean bowls loaded with Russian fermented food sauerkraut or Korean fermented staple kimchi.

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Sanders said the charity started incorporating foods with live bacteria after she adopted them into her own diet last year to deal with stomach issues. 

Fermented or 'live foods' are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation where natural bacteria feeds on sugars and starches in food creating certain acids.

The fermentation of foods can preserve the nutrient content of food and assist in making it easier to digest.

"When you're dealing with sickness and health issues you don't want to feel crap after eating," Sanders said.  

"We like foods that feel easy on the body, that taste good and leave you feeling good an hour later.

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"We want people to feel nourished."

Food writer Delaney Mes said fermenting food was becoming more and more popular.

"It's definitely becoming more mainstream, I see it everywhere and I think it's trickling down." 

Despite knowing that it was good for her, Mes said she ate fermented food because she loved the taste.

Homegrown Kitchen blogger Nicola Galloway taught cooking workshops nationwide and said her fermenting workshop was the most popular. 

She said people attended the workshop to learn about what they should expect when fermenting food. 

"It's about getting the confidence. It's not like a cake, if you've never fermented before it's a bit daunting," Galloway said. 

"It's popular now because there's lots of research and books are being written about how important it is to look after your digestive system."

With EcoWest, the Vegan Food Fair and Go Green Expo all in April, Hungry for Raw had its biggest month of the year ahead.

To get from market to market and further their message they're saving for a van.

Hungry for Raw is raising funds on a PledgeMe page until March 24.

 - Stuff.co.nz

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