Three years ago, Brennah Lambert, a 23-year-old queer Black woman, decided to serve and share her love for plant-based meals in her community.
Lambert grew up in Lindenwold, eating non-vegan foods like most everyone else, not caring about cooking or what she was eating.
But in high school, she was introduced to the plant-based lifestyle that awakened an appreciation for food and cooking, leading her to start her business LesbiVeggies.
When doctors were unhelpful with some stomach issues she was having, Lambert took matters into her own hands and found a plant-based diet was the best way to help. The health issues soon ended, she said, but stuck with the diet.
“Plant-based food has given me kind of almost a love for just quality good food,” Lambert said. “I think at first I was kind like — obviously I didn’t grow up this way — so I was like, ‘well what do I eat,’ so I really had to rethink my whole way of doing things.”
Lambert said she was “kind of like the black sheep” of the family because her family didn’t have a “health-conscience energy” growing up.
Representing veganism in Black and queer community
The name LesbiVeggies is an homage to Lambert’s queer identity and veganism. She said it was important to highlight her queer and Black identity so guests know who she is and others within those communities feel welcomed and comforted.
“I feel like me throwing that out there . . . promotes inclusivity,” Lambert said. “I want people to feel that this is a very open environment, a very welcoming environment. I don’t want any one person to feel misplaced, so I feel like that’s what it means to me with people coming in my place.”
With little representation in the vegan industry, Lambert also felt that being a Black-owned vegan food service and café would inspire the Black community to try vegan foods.
“In the Black community, I feel like a lot people think that plant-based food is something you really have to shy away from,” Lambert said. “So I think that me owning this business and me putting that out there is kind of like a stepping stone for the Black community to take, like OK now we can identify with this.”
Lambert didn’t expect there to be any pushback from the Audubon community and so far there hasn’t been.
There may be people who are taken aback by the name of her cafe, she said, but “the way that I present the logo and the quality of food, the professionalism behind the whole brand, I think shuts those people down a little bit.”
112 W Merchant St