INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family is trying to make healthy food accessible to all communities by creating a vegan food truck they take around all over central Indiana.
“I want them to feel great,” Derrick Slack, owner of Black Leaf Vegan said. “When they eat our food, their taste buds are going to tingle and dance.”
And, as Indy's only vegan food truck, the possibilities are endless at Black Leaf Vegan.
“We have all plant-based burgers, brats and tacos,” Slack said.
The food truck is a Black-owned business that the Slack family created when they decided to go vegan six years ago for health reasons.
"My wife's father passed away from prostate cancer and since then, we've been just sort of retracing how it is that African-Americans are so susceptible to so many diseases and we realize that were are no different than any other culture, it's just the food that we pass on more so than the genetics," Slack said.
Slack said he and his family travel all over central Indiana, but their home base is located off of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. in Riverside.
"I want to make sure that we are available to all communities, especially those that are underserved," Slack said. "Unfortunately, the African community, which is predominantly over here in Riverside, it's a community that needs a vegan food truck. Not just because it's our business, but it's because we want to make sure that they are healthy, that they have access in an affordable way that's different that you have to go outside of the community to get."
“I think it’s amazing because it really exposes communities that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to understand that there’s another way that we can eat,” Rosie Bryant said.
Bryant said her family went plant-based last year and is grateful the Black Leaf Vegan exists due to the few vegan options in the city, and the level of accessibility.
“For us, personally, meat and processed foods was causing a lot of issues," Bryant said. “I was having high blood pressure and it was pre-diabetes. And then when I went plant-based, I ended up losing 35 pounds. My blood pressure is the lowest it’s been in years and I’m not even 40 yet and I was having those issues. And so it was important for us to do that for our health so that we could be healthier and live longer. And actually live lives that are not filled with medicine and having to worry about, 'Did I take my medicine today?' And it’s expensive to be on medication for blood pressure. So in the end, it has actually reduced our costs.”
“It’s important to show that vegan food can be for our culture,” Slack said. “It can be in this type of community where it’s overrun by chicken joints and greasy foods that are very unhealthy for you. So we wanted to counter that by just offering our piece of what we can do for our community.”
For more information on Black Leaf Vegan, click here.