ProVeg’s co-founder named a food hero of 2023
V-Label has chosen ProVeg’s co-founder Tobias Leenaert as one of its Food Heroes of 2023 – a group of innovative individuals who are creating a better and fairer world for animals and humans alike.
The Food Heroes 2023 cohort includes twenty individuals from all over the world whose effort in transforming food systems – be it through education, activism, research, entrepreneurship, technology, or politics – has made a positive impact on the planet.
“Modern heroes don’t wear capes: they are making milk from potatoes and microbes, chocolate without cocoa, and salmon and tuna without touching as much as a scale on a fish,” says Nikolett Konkoly, Marketing Project Manager at V-Label.
This hero wears a green ProVeg hoodie
Tobias Leenaert is neither a food scientist nor a heavyweight politician – he’s an international speaker and consultant with a long history of campaigning for animal rights and food-system transformation.
From his early days working as an intern in animals-rights groups in the United States to later founding and directing his own organisation in Belgium, Leenaert’s career has combined a concern for moral issues with finding pragmatic solutions for moving past outdated food systems, a practice reflected in ProVeg International’s mission.
Though working hard as a director caused him burnout and resulted in a bout of depression, Tobias managed to recover and reinvent himself as a different kind of activist. “Rather than going back to my organisation, I ventured off by myself and started sharing what I had learned in fifteen years of campaigning with other activists, through my talks, and later in my book How to Create a Vegan World,” says the Belgian author, who is currently working on a philosophical, speculative fiction novel.
I try to believe in humanity, and see us as a species that is still climbing out of some primitive state and turning into something beautiful.
A pragmatic approach guided by a moral compass
Changing the world’s food systems is no easy task, but Tobias’s approach involves focusing on positive things and believing in humanity’s potential for good deeds and impactful change.
“There’s a lot of horrible stuff that we hear about and could watch and read if we want, but there’s also so many good deeds being done. I try to believe in humanity, and see us as a species that is still climbing out of some primitive state and turning into something beautiful.”
It’s great that Tobias and other inspiring individuals have been recognised for their work. Here’s three cheers to Tobias and all the other Food Heroes!
ProVeg is dedicated to raising awareness of how we can tackle the world's most urgent problems through diet and food systems change. ProVeg empowers people and institutions to transform the global food system by promoting attractive animal-free foods.