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Feature - issue #3

On the Periphery

Words by Cleiton Campos
Photography by Ricardo Lima

How two working class brothers from Campinas, Brazil, began a social media movement to introduce veganism to a low-income audience, inspiring hundreds of thousands of followers with their simple recipes for plant-based meals.

This is an extract from Food For Thought. To read the full article click here.

In June 2018, on a countryside highway of the São Paulo state, an accident involving a truck loaded with live pigs gathered a crowd. Nearby residents rushed to loot the cargo. The action was all recorded on smartphones and the videos went viral. Far from the scene of the accident, on the outskirts of Campinas, the third largest city in the state, Eduardo Santos watched the videos in shock. It was the trigger he needed to question his whole diet, he says: “If I love dogs and cats, why don’t I see similar animals in the same way?” That realisation led him to become vegetarian. Not long afterwards, he encountered someone on the street wearing a T-shirt embossed with the slogan “milk is cruelty”.

That chance meeting in turn led him to research the milk industry and resulted in his removing eggs from his diet. His twin brother Leonardo followed his example. Ironically, several years earlier, the brothers had worked at McDonald’s, where they had both been promoted to management positions. Today, Leonardo works in a vegan burger shop, while Eduardo, along with millions of other Brazilians, is unemployed. Veganism arrived in Brazil through the 90s underground hardcore music scene and today is gaining supporters among the upper-middle classes and fitness bloggers. But the movement still finds it difficult to penetrate the base of the social pyramid: neither punks nor playboys, the twins soon realised that vegan voices did not speak directly to the working classes.

‘We believe in a cause that is accessible to all. It doesn’t matter where you live, it matters how you think.’

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