Black Vegans Rock: Lyssa Wade, aka Veggie Thumper
From Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies Articles Archive

FROM Black Vegans Rock
October 2020

My cuisine is intended to break the cycle of generational recipes steeped in the overconsumption of meat and to aid others in finding a better way to eat and grow the things we love with our health and the environment in mind.

Lyssa Wade

My skin is brown, my race is classified as black, and Iíve experienced 35 trips around the sun. Born and raised in Des Moines, my rebirth began with death. My dad died suddenly. During my sophomore year in college, I kind of hit rock bottom. I had been near rock bottom before, but I was young and did not have a child in tow at that time. This time was different. The days could be sunny, but my world remained dark. I had began a quest of eliminating processed and modified foods prior to my dadís death in 2009. My dad did all of the cooking in the past, however, I had to learn how to feed a 23 year old me, my son, and my mom.

I have worked in restaurants since I was 16. Most of the ones I worked in during my later years were ones I couldnít afford to eat at regularly and the processed food thing steered me away from them. During the summer of 2009, I planted flowers and brussels sprouts in the most random areas of the yard. But, they grew (almost three or four feet tall) and we ate them. I committed myself to growing a garden in the summer of 2010- the same year I graduated from Grand View with my B.A. in Mass Communication. and a minor in photography.

I took myself on a celebratory solo trip to Peru. I saw a lot of simple living and gratitude from the different areas I visited. On top of that, they grew their food. I saw simple and happy living and I wanted it.

After a month away from home, I returned and my garden was gorgeous! I saw abundance that started from a seed. I wondered what I would do with the seeds I had sown. I had to learn how to cook and eat them.

2010 was the beginning of meatless Mondays and heavily reduced meat in general. The more I learned about the food and water, the less of it I wanted. In 2011, I cut off around seven inches of my hair and began the process of locs. Cutting off most of your hair will teach you self-love quickly. You will experience the fugly stages and then the comfortable stages. That was the same year I decided to start making my own organic skin care, deodorant, body butters, and essential oil sprays. I was tired of being a guinea pig. Farmer Wade became Veggie Thumper.

In 2013, I attended a March against Monsanto. I eventually hosted my own march due to the World Food Prize being awarded to a biotech scientist. In 2014, some friends and I hosted an Iowa Right to Know rally, which taught the importance of victory gardens, food, chemicals, water, water storage, and how to be sustainable to reduce your food print. By this time I was nailing it in the vegetarian food world, however, there werenít many places to eat at. So, while on RAGBRAI (Registerís Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) riding up a ridiculous hill with my food in tow, I decided I would get a food truck and do it myself, especially since Iowa is a meat and starch state.

On March 5th, 2016, I bought a school bus and drove it home. That bus taught me a lot about myself and the system. I invested my blood, sweat, tears, and every penny into that 35-foot school bus. I love that bus and the way I feel when I am in it. The energy is proper, the colors are warm and bright, and many people have had my back along the way while Iíve been piecing my dream together. Along the way to building my dream of doing pop-ups to fund the bus. I decided to go vegan and took the bus with me.

vegan bus

I create vegan organic locally sourced conscious cuisine - soul snacks to elevate consciousness through food awareness. My cuisine is intended to break the cycle of generational recipes steeped in the overconsumption of meat and to aid others in finding a better way to eat and grow the things we love with our health and the environment in mind. Veggie Thumper leads people to ask questions about their food: What is it? Where did it come from? How can a carrot become a hotdog? How can cauliflower become steak? How do mushrooms morph into bacon and how can vital wheat gluten become a platter of ribs?

I fell from the stars to shine light on communities I feel need to see and be the change. Fresh local produce isnít available in the communities where there are high numbers of minorities; food from a can or box shouldnít be normalized. Food deserts are abundant. Thatís not the way of our ancestors. I grow snacks and I make Ďem too. Change isnít easy - I know that. But, for the overlooked communities to thrive, we have to be able to do better together; looking at how we eat is a huge start. Offering food is away of showing love. Donít act like you havenít had a gathering and stayed in the kitchen chattiní it up the whole time! I love you and Iíve never even met you, yet thereís love. In April 2019, I finally completed the bus and became fully licensed to make all the snacks my thumpiní heart desires. Have a snack prepared with love and see what the conscious cuisine soul snack movement is all about. Peace, Love, ní Veggies.


Facebook: Veggie Thumper
Instagram: @veggiethumper

Return to: Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies