August 15, 2018


Dear Beyond Meat, Tofurky, Miyoko’s, Just, Trader Joe’s, Boca, Lightlife, Field Roast, Gardein, and all you other wonderful vegan offering companies,

I need your help, desperately!  The world needs your help.


First off, I want to thank each of your innovating and break out companies for taking the leap into the growing vegan world.   Your products are game changers.  People that have never tried your great vegan products are missing out. People that have tried them are in awe!


Our vegan movement is growing rapidly.  More awakened people join the ranks every day.  As you know and are responsible for, new vegan products are hitting the market on a daily basis.  Companies like yours and others make the vegan food scene pop with endless possibilities.  Plant-based is the way.  We are so grateful.  We use, highlight, and promote all of your wonderful products in our everyday lives, at home, at work, and with our online presence.  Your meat and dairy alternatives rock our world!  I can’t wait until they rock everyone’s world.


In the meantime, I’m writing to all of you to explain my dilemma and ask a huge favor, but first a little background information.

I have worked for NASA as a prime contractor for the Test, Facilities, Operations, Maintenance, and Engineering (TFOME) contract for the last 11 years.  My job title is Research Laboratory Mechanic and I get to perform all sorts of cool jobs.  My day to day variety of working on valves, playing with liquid nitrogen, and testing space flight hardware, to name just a few of my tasks, is out of this world.


The people I work with are amazing with a wide range of skillsets including electricians, scientists, managers, researchers, janitors, mechanics, drafters,  engineers, general laborers, administrators, computer geeks, buyers, maintenance, HVAC, coordinators, and photographers!  You name it!  Our occupations vary to a large degree.  We claim to fame the largest vacuum chamber, acoustic chamber, and mechanical vibration table in the world.


Sounds cool, eh?

So what could possibly be the problem you ask?!


Last week was our annual station wide (we have 6500 acres of land here and roughly 150-200 employees) summer picnic.  Luckily, my memory is sharp and I recalled last year’s picnic.  The only food offered that I would eat was mixed nuts and tortilla chips.  I had left starving while my coworkers left over stuffed with the usual picnic fare.


I planned ahead this year and made a spicy chili with my garden vegetables, Boca Crumbles, and Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo.  I also brought some lovely red velvet cupcakes frosted with buttercream icing using only Miyoko’s butter.  I wanted to bring Beyond Meat Burgers, Boca Chik’n Patties, and Just Mayo, but the grill was filled with chicken and ribs and I didn’t want cross contamination. I would love to see the grill full with Beyond Meat Burgers and Sausages, Boca Patties, Miyoko’s Cheeses, Field Roast meats and cheeses, Lightlife meatballs and deli slices, Tofurky sausages, roasts, and deli slices, and loaded with garden fresh vegetables, grilled buns, and slathered with Just Mayo….something we do all the time at home.


As far as I know, I am the only vegan on station. I have a plant-based coworker, but I believe that’s it. Most of the people I work with are hard core meat and dairy eaters.   A few people asked why I brought my own food.  One person wanted clarification on whether vegans ate cheese or not and then proceeded later to push the desserts saying, “Can’t you eat dessert either?”


Without calling anyone out for their weight or their health issues, I am blown away (reason for this letter) that so many intelligent people are still consuming tons and tons of animal products.


Our offerings today were

  • Cheese Cubes
  • Sausages
  • Potato Chips
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Pretzels
  • Potato Salad
  • Baked Beans with Bacon
  • Coleslaw
  • Pork Ribs
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Veggies with Ranch Dip
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Rolls
  • Store Bought Cakes, Cookies, Pies

Not too much for a vegan!  Not too much for anyone looking after their health either!

So here is my request for you all.   I would love, love, love to show these people that you can eat great food and have great picnics with no animals harmed.  Vegan sausages, burgers, appetizers, salads, rolls, and desserts for everyone.


My problem is that I can’t afford to purchase and cook for all of these people, even though I really really want to. Work hours, kids, mortgage payments, the usually life gets in the way of that dream.  I do cook often for a group of my omnivore coworkers and they love my food, vegan and all.  I would love to showcase that more for everyone.


Can any or all of you contribute to some sort of food donation so I can have a proper picnic showcasing how awesome the vegan world and their products are?  You might just gain some more customers.  You may change someone’s perception of veganism.  You might just win some folks over. You might change the world.  Maybe you’ll have a hand in how the next generation eats. Of course you will.   You’re already doing that now.

It’s not rocket science.


Monica Hewitt VBCC

Research Laboratory Mechanic

NASA Plum Brook Station



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