Charlotte native Vani Hari took the blogosphere by storm when she launched Food Babe in 2011. Her mission? To transform America’s health destiny by educating readers about their food. She started with a whopping 11 followers. Now she has over three million. Taking on big-name corporations like Kraft, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-a, she’s holding American food companies accountable for toxic ingredients. We caught up with the busy activist to talk about what she’s working on now.
Your blog is only a few years old — why do you think it's taken off so quickly?
Well, when I would write, I would give my opinion exactly like it is. I wasn't afraid to tell people the truth. That allowed me to have this platform to share what's really happening in the food system with everyone.
You've been featured in all the major news outletswith that kind of national attention, what keeps you in Charlotte?
That’s the nicest question, I wish my husband was hearing this. We talk about this all the time, because I’m constantly in New York. But I love Charlotte. The more I live here, the more I become in love with it. I’ve traveled to all seven continents, and I love to travel, but I have never found a more inviting place than Charlotte to live.
Does Charlotte have a role in the food world?
Absolutely. People say, “You need to live in New York. Those are your people. They have a juice bar on every corner.” Well, you know what? The place that needs me the most is really the South, and I believe if I moved somewhere else I would lose touch with the people I really want to help.
How about your favorite Charlotte food spots?
I love Luna’s Living Kitchen. I could order anything on the menu and feel really great about it. They’re a 100% organic restaurant. I love to shop at Healthy Home Market, Whole Foods and Earth Fare. I love the Farmers Market and actually get the most amazing delivery of farm fresh vegetables from Simply Fresh, and it comes straight to my door every Tuesday.
What are your next steps?
I am working towards continuing to spread the message. There are several major American food companies that I wish to hold accountable, and I’ll be starting some major actions very soon. I plan to write a book, and I’m working on more FoodBabe TV. My FoodBabe TV episodes educate people in a really fun, entertaining way about ingredients in food, and I’m talking to some TV development folks about a potential show.