“We do everything plant-based and show that you can have healthy food that tastes good.” A Table in the Wilderness has served low-income communities in the Oklahoma City metro area since 2017 through plant-based cooking demonstrations and food distribution. From libraries to senior living facilities and churches, founders Laurel and Lamar Mauldin meet people where they are to share the physical, spiritual, and environmental benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, with an emphasis on preventing and reversing diabetes. A Table in the Wilderness works specifically to make plant-based foods nutritional, accessible, and affordable to all.
What is your role at A Table in the Wilderness?
CEO & President
How would you describe your community? What makes it unique?
Our community in the Oklahoma City metro area is very diverse. Our services are available to everyone, however we are most interested in bringing the health message to food deserts where healthful food is sparse.
How is the concept of change important to your work? What kind of change does a Table in the Wilderness hope to bring about?
Change is the backbone of a paradigm shift – you have to be willing to make a change if you want to see progress. A Table in the Wilderness hopes to bring about a change in the philosophy of eating: that people do not feel like meat is necessary for health and their well-being. I love this quote from the Ministry of Healing: “In all cases educate the conscience, enlist the will, supply good, wholesome food, and the change will be readily made, and the demand for flesh will soon cease.” –Ellen White, pg. 317.
What has A Table in the Wilderness been up to since the summer?
Since the summer we started a new kids program called the Kids Recipe Kit. The Kids Recipe Kit was created to encourage low-income families to learn how to cook together at home. Cooking is a lost art that teaches science, technology, engineering and math. This program is educational, provides healthy food options, and can be fun and have lasting results for children and parents.
What are your biggest challenges right now?
Our biggest challenge is the necessity of acquiring our “Eat Better” Van. We really see the necessity of bringing plant-based foods into food deserts, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We noticed that many people are eating the wrong foods that will give them a disadvantage in fighting COVID. A healthful diet makes a big difference.
What is inspiring you right now?
I am really inspired by the promotion of plant-based foods at the moment and new products hitting the market. I love to try new foods and restaurants and it inspires me to see other organizations and companies in the plant-based market.
If you were a plant or a fungi, what would you be?
LOL, I’d be a laurel 😉
ETC Impact is a grant program working to promote and expand access to climate-friendly foods. We’re investing $1 million over three years to support a diverse group of national and community based Changemakers.
Note: Photographs taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.