A recently closed Sebastopol barbecue restaurant will soon house Goatlandia Kitchen, a vegan kitchen space for a farm animal rescue sanctuary.
“I love the notion of changing a meat-based barbecue restaurant into a compassionate kitchen,” said Deborah Blum, founder and executive director of the Sebastopol nonprofit Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary. The need for affordable rent also influenced the decision to take over the former Bar B Que Smokehouse Bistro at 6811 Laguna Park Way, she said.
Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary rescues unwanted, orphaned, abused and neglected farm animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, horses, birds and dogs.
Before her nonprofit work, Blum was a professional chef who turned her focus in 2011 to cooking to plant-based meals. In 2016, she launched a catering business to supplement traditional fundraising for her nonprofit. She rented a commercial kitchen for the catering, but she dreamed of her own space so she could grow the vegan catering business that serves private parties, companies and other nonprofits.
“What started as a revenue source for us became advocacy,” said Blum, who co-owns the Palo Alto vegan restaurant Wild Seed. Meat-free meals allow her to teach others about vegan cuisine, animal welfare and healthy eating.
“We believe that eating plant-based is not only good for the animals we share the planet with, but also beneficial for our health and the environment,” Blum said.
“Cooking really good plant-based food for people is how to make a change. The food is a bridge.”
Rather than reopening as a restaurant, Goatlandia Kitchen will offer pop-ups and cater “Lunchtime Takeover” — free plant-based, organic lunches for local businesses. The kitchen also will be open to other vegan chefs who want to collaborate with Goatlandia on food events or create vegan foods.
After some minor renovations, Blum hopes to open the kitchen in early 2023.