Isabelle Geers, one of our bakers from the CombiniBakes project, and the creator of the Matcha Muffins sold in store weekly, is currently a second year International Relations student and a passionate environmental and animal activist. CombiniCo works hard in setting environmental standards and consistently learning and educating ourselves and our community about effective ways to lower our carbon impact. Making CombiniCafé 100% plant-based was a natural extension of our values and promise. We understand that being plant-based or vegan often comes with the misconception of it being negatively associated to following a strict diet or lifestyle. We spoke to Isabelle and asked her a few questions on this particular issue.
Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers about your views on this issue?
I definitely think that veganism is often misconstrued to be this really dramatic, extreme choice, or that it has to be all or nothing. Personally becoming vegan was something I naturally gravitated to over the course of my high school years, first by being vegetarian, then slowly working on cutting down on dairy and eggs before fully becoming vegan. You don’t have to cut out everything at once and it doesn’t have to be inconvenient. You don’t have to be vegan to make vegan choices, which are as simple as asking for soy or oat milk in your lattes or opting for plant-based meat at the grocery store. It really comes down to individual choices that you make throughout the day to be a little bit more considerate of the impact you have on your body, the animals, and the environment; and the more you practice at it, the more natural vegan choices will become, and you'll find that it’s not restrictive at all – it becomes what you want to do.
Can you tell us more about the charity you’ve chosen to support and why.
I’ve opted to support a non-profit organization called Animal Charity Evaluators, who assess the efficacy of animal-concerned charities all over the world, and direct donations based on which ones would benefit the most at the time. They support animal rights advocacy charities such as Anima International, groups that work for better conditions in animal agriculture such as The Good Food Institute, as well as many smaller organisations such as farm animal sanctuaries that improve animals’ lives on the local level. I’ve decided to support this rather than one specific organisation because I trust their ability to decide where funds will be most effectively used, and as I’m so passionate about the improvement of animal welfare on many levels, I appreciate that I’m able to help in different ways. I owe my own veganism to the many activists and organisations that work so hard to educate people about the injustices of animal agriculture, and it just seems right that in a project based in vegan baking that I give back to them.
Other than baking of course, what are your other hobbies and school activities you’re involved with?
I am both on the committee and modeling for Sitara Charity Fashion Show this year. I started modeling for them last year and had a great experience, so this year I decided to also join the committee as Charity Representative, wherein I researched and found Sitara’s new charity to support and have developed connections with them. I grew up in an expat family, and so I love to travel during reading weeks. On a typical Friday night you can find me behind the bar at the Union.