After making the decision to cut dairy products from its menu, the Cool Beans Café at the Mangawhai Activity Zone is being forced to close down, despite a 25% increase in sales since its switch to plant-based beverages.
The owner of the café, Morgan Redfern-Hardisty, adopted a vegan diet in response to personal health reasons and as a means to improve the chances of the planet. His café decided to ditch dairy back in July.
Speaking about his decision to turn the eatery vegan, Morgan said: ‘I knew my café had to go plant-based for the planet, for the people, and for the voiceless animals.’ He mentioned that his ‘knowledge grew around the environmental degradation’ the dairy industry causes in New Zealand, and he couldn’t stand by and watch it continue.
Indeed, according to The Economist, 60% of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes are not healthy to swim in because of pollution from the dairy industry.
Recently, the Mangawhai Activity Zone Charitable Trust (MAZCT) refused to renew Radfern-Hardisty’s contract unless he reintroduced dairy. They told the café’s owner that he should return to the ‘status quo’, because complaints were being made to the organisation.
Colin Gallager, MAZCT Chairman, told the NZ Herald: ‘We suggested organic milk was just fine by us, but again he refused. I personally said he could place a sign in his café saying that using cow’s milk is against his beliefs but to give customers a choice I have been asked to do it by MAZ.’
Radfern-Hardisty would not accept this, arguing that his business had ‘never been better’ than during his dairy-free month, with a sales increase of 25%. ‘My intentions were purely to reduce the café’s impact on the environment and provide healthy alternatives to not use and exploit animals in any way,’ he said. ‘I’m not catering to everyone’s taste but when it comes to taste or suffering – it’s not worth it.’
Despite a petition of almost over 13,000 signatures protesting the closure, the café will be closed down on Labour Weekend (around 22nd October).
Radfern-Hardisty thanked his customers for their care and support, wishing the community ‘peace and love’. He advised his customers to ‘keep being conscious of what you consume and we can all make a difference. Even if some of us fall, most of us will rise.’
A Change.org petition set up last week (August 30) has already received more than 15,000 votes of support for the local Mangawhai café. Sign it here.