Matthew and Terces Engelhart are owners of a very successful California chain of plant-based restaurants called Café Gratitude. They have been vegetarians for 40 years, and full-on vegans for the last 11 years. In addition to their restaurant business, the Engelharts own and operate a sustainable organic farm called Be Love Farm.
A year ago, in a blog post, they announced that they had returned to a dietary lifestyle that included meat and other animal products. Many of these animals were being raised right on their Be Love Farm.
In their blog post, they represented their decision not just as an evolution of their dietary life, but as a revelation about the role of healthy and humane animal consumption in a global sustainability model.
Their decision to move away from veganism unleashed a firestorm of criticism and even hatred from their many loyal customers – animal rights activists, and the global vegan community. The intense reaction manifested in every kind of attack, from calls urging them to sell or even close their business, to actual death threats being uttered online, and through anonymous notes and packages left at their farm.