Morgan Redfern-Hardisty, owner of Cool Beans Cafe in New Zealand, recently vowed to walk 1,865 miles barefoot across the length of NZ—an endeavor he calls “the barefoot walk for those who can’t talk.” The walk is Redfern-Hardisty’s response to the imminent closure of Cool Beans due to his refusal to serve dairy milk. In July, Redfern-Hardisty updated his menu removing animal-based milk in favor of six dairy-free milk options, including soy, oat, rye, coconut, hazelnut, and homemade almond milk. “My intention purely was to reduce the cafe’s impact on the environment, provide healthy alternatives, and to not use and exploit animals in any way,” Redfern-Hardisty said. However, the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) Charitable Trust, which owns the premises and pays the café’s overhead costs in exchange for a percentage of the profits, demanded that the menu include dairy options and, after alleged complaints from nine customers, terminated the business agreement. “There is a trend happening worldwide towards more environmental, ethical, and health conscious products, and so when people saw a small café like mine make this change, they were very supportive,” Redfern-Hardisty said. “I just thought New Zealand is so adaptable.” Redfern-Hardisty announced he will close his business on October 22. An online petition, which was launched to persuade MAZ to reconsider its decision to terminate the business agreement, has garnered more than 15,000 signatures in two weeks.
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