The Herald reports:
A vegan cafe owner who was issued an ultimatum to serve cow’s milk has generated 14,000 signatures of support, but will still close shop to walk the length of New Zealand barefoot in protest.
Morgan Redfern-Hardisty roused controversy last week after he revealed the community trust that controls his Cool Beans Cafe in Mangawhai insisted he serve dairy options on the menu.
Redfern-Hardisty had altered his menu on July 27 to exclusively plant-based products, including homemade oat milk for coffee, in an effort to reduce his environmental impact.
But the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) Charitable Trust that owns the land, premises, and pays all the overheads for Cool Beans Cafe, said amid public complaints he must include some dairy options.
As the Trust owns the land, buildings and pays the overheads, it is really their business, which he managed for them on a profit share.
If he wants to run his own cafe, and carry all the risk, then great luck to him. If he thinks he can make a dairy free cafe work, then he needs to find one where he’ll have sole ownership or control.
Redfern-Hardisty confirmed last week he still plans to end his business this Labour Day, October 22, because he refuses to make the choice between “taste and suffering”.
He did, however, raise questions over the true motives for the pro-dairy menu demands thrust on him, claiming MAZ only cited nine complaints.
Only nine complaints? That’s a lot of complaints, especially considering people would have had to contact MAZ to complain.
I suspect what many didn’t like wasn’t the fact there was no dairy but that he seemed to lecture people on their preferences. If you just had almond milk instead of dairy milk, and didn’t make a bog fuss of it, I doubt many would care. But he was using the cafe as a campaign tool.
“Mangawhai’s surrounded by dairy farms so there’s heaps of suspicion around that,” Redfern-Hardisty said.
“I don’t think the trust has received any donations from dairy money but I don’t know.
Oh please. I really don’t think the dairy industry is worried if one small cafe stops using milk.
“We have been extremely fair and generous and it is squarely his decision not ours that he changed from offering both dairy and vegan additives to coffee for our customers, to vegan only.”
Choice is generally a good thing, If you don’t want to give choice that is fine – but you need to have ownership and control of the business so all the risk is yours.
He says business is up 25 per cent since the menu vegan changes, and he’s had no complaints to his face.
If if it that popular then he should set up his own exclusive cafe. The fact there were no complaints to his face suggests people were intimidated by his zealotry.
Redfern-Hardisty says he plans to walk the length of New Zealand barefoot, along the Te Araroa trail.
He is calling it “the barefoot walk for those who can’t talk” and hopes to raise funds to fight animal cruelty.
So he’s going to walk barefoot the length of New Zealand, because he had to serve milk. Whatever.