Our Cedar Square branch has been ‘our baby’ since the start of The Refillery and it holds a special place for us and what’s even better are the special people who run it for us [Like clock work too] So if you have visited Cedar side then you would have been lucky enough to meet Kelsey. Teaching us something new every day and converting new people daily to our Refilling-World. Dont be fooled – the girl does weight-lifting in her spare time.

Who is Kelsey?
I’m South African, born and bred, but moved to New York to study animation at NYU. I worked in the animation industry in Los Angeles for a few years after graduation before moving back to SA at the end of 2019. I’m a powerlifter, whiskey drinker & lover of jazz. I love reading and leaving mugs of coffee forgotten all over the place. I’m a big nerd deep down.

When did you first get introduced to the idea of sustainability?
When I was living in New York. All around me, there was waste – pollution, trash, food waste. Don’t get me wrong, I loved (and still love) New York, but the trash and waste in the city were very eye opening. I decided to make small changes in my life (making consumables from scratch, changing my diet), getting involved in local organizations in my neighbourhood (food compositing and recycling initiatives) & the rest is history!

What was the motivation behind going towards a more vegan lifestyle?
Originally, it was to improve my health. The environmental impact was an added bonus. I was living on a fast food, dirty diet & had a doctor tell me my cholesterol was way too high. I was 21. So I slowly started moving towards veganism & cleaning up my diet and lifestyle. My health improved drastically by cutting out the fast food and my diet more closely reflected my sustainability values.

What is your top sustainability trick or swap that you think could motivate someone else to make a change?
I would really suggest getting involved with a sustainable hobby or activity that brings you joy. For me, it started with cold-process soap making. This spurred on my love for making things & soon I was making all my toiletries from scratch, baking bread and bagels myself & even growing veggies in my garden. If it’s something that’s rewarding & you have time to invest, reaping the fruits of your labour is a big motivator to continue the journey. For everything else, there’s The Refillery.

 What’s a your go-to snack?
This really depends on my mood, but lately I’ve been loving dried fruit – mango in particular. There are days when all I want is chocolate, and I give myself all the chocolate I want on those days, because they’re few and far between. I normally snack on mango, raisins, nuts, seeds, coconut & the occasional rusk.

What is your idea of the perfect package-free pantry?
Very simple, lots of glass jars & beautiful, uniform labels. I’m not super fussy with the look of my kitchen, but having loads of homemade treats in jars (jams, preserves, tinned goods) jingles my bells big time.

Favourite ingredient from Refillery to cook with?
I seriously enjoy hemp seed hearts. They’re very mild tasting and incredibly versatile. I love them for their nutritional value, protein and omegas, but also because I can use them raw – in smoothies, salads, sprinkled over avocado toast, etc. They’re a low effort, high value food & that suits my cooking style

Any tips you can share about going Vegan or semi vegan?
Every small bit adds up. You don’t have to do everything perfectly, but every little swap helps. Eating more seasonal veggies, switching to plant milk, even using meat alternatives (Beyond meat, Fry’s etc.) can help to make the change without feeling like you’re missing out. Vegan alternatives have come a very long way in the last few years & you can still have most of the tasty treats you crave. Start small, no one is perfect!