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The Preschool Lunchbox: On Vegan Treats, Lessons About Gender, and Sexual Orientation

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SisTot Vegan.

Lunchbox. The Preschool Lunchbox: Vegan Treats & Lessons About Gender/Sexual Orientation ‘Norms’

Some of you have asked me what I feed my kids for lunch. Above is a colorful description of what my 2 and 4 year olds often eat for their lunch. In the silicon Bento boxes above, we’ve got Wildwood Sprouted Tofu, marinated in Bragg Liquid Aminos. We’ve got organic sweet peas from Cadia mixed with organic frozen blueberries. I prefer sprouted tofu for better digestion and nutrition. Lastly, there is vegan cheese in there that my mother in law brought over from Germany, where she lives. It is the best vegan cheese my husband and I have ever tasted by the company Wilmersburger. When we first tasted it, we thought it really was cow dairy based cheese.

The girls simply love their SisTot Vegan Lunchbox. Right now I am soaking black beans and chick peas so they can have that and some buckwheat soba noodles and some fresh kiwi slices for tomorrow’s lunch. Luna, the 4 year old, always tells me that she is careful that she doesn’t eat animals during her lunch time. She often asks me why the other children do eat animals. I am trying to teach her how to talk about this at school without making other children feel bad and confused about the choices their parents have made in feeding them.

Today, she also told me that several children told her that “Boys can’t marry boys and girls can’t marry girls.” However, she promptly told me, “But that’s not true mom. You can marry anyone you want to.” And this is because that is what I taught her. Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, “Human beings fall in love with other human beings, period. It’s that simple.” Although only in preschool, she is mis-learning a lot about sexual orientation, ethical eating, and even gender. Of course this small community has good intentions, but I’m always focused on the potential for negative impact from those good intentions if they come from ideologies our of systemic oppression.

She often reports back to me what other children have told her…and it almost always contradicts my critical race feminist vegan teachings. I consider their SisTo Vegan lunchbox a edible version of critical race feminist veganism. Why? Because it helps to open up discussion around many social and environmental justice issues. I explain each item to the kids and how I am hoping that it contributes to creating a more just world and make them achieve health and happiness.

During PlayDoh time, she makes me pizza and presents it, “Here mom. It’s vegan and organic.” I love it.

There is a bunny rabbit at their pre-school. The rabbit lives in a cage. She tells me all the time that animals should not be in cages and that she is glad that the rabbit is released from the cage during the day to run around. However, she has learned a lot from me. She has been saying that “It’s not nice to put animals in cages.”

Preschool is a difficult space for me. I work full time now to do the good diversity, inclusion, and equity work. So, the girls are now in someone else’s care and they are receiving conflicting ‘information’ about non-human animals, gender, what is ‘food’, sexual orientation, etc which is only normal in a world with diverse experiences, beliefs, etc. I appreciate that they are being cared for an enjoy their new pre-school experience. I can only hope that the foundations I lay for them will be strong enough for them to develop critical thinking skills that will promote a more just world that alleviate suffering.

What’s in your kid’s vegan lunchbox?

Girls Yosemite

Kira Satya (2) and Eva Luna (4)


Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix) which explored how key Black vegan men us hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies.



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