vegansaurus!

08/09/2011

Meat prices are higher; the solution is clearly theft  »


Obviously this is the most sensible thing to do: steal meat from the grocery store—hide it in your pants!—and sell it to restaurants at a discount. Or just steal the still-living animals from which the meat come.

Definitely don’t eat things that are not meat. What kind of sucker stops buying a food because it’s become prohibitively expensive? Don’t find delicious, affordable alternatives—grains, legumes, nuts, pulses—that would be practical and smart.

No; just steal meat.

[“The Harvest Moon” by Samuel Palmer via Yale Digital Commons]

06/15/2011

Guest post: Food accessibility is a vegan issue  »

I was sitting at my desk, staring at my coffee, when my co-worker walked in with a bag of cherries and said, “God, organic fruit at the farmers’ market is fucking expensive.”

At least we have a farmers’ market nearby selling local, organic fruit and vegetables, I thought, and my co-worker has the resources to buy some. When discussions of veganism and privilege come up–as they seem to be doing with increased frequency—there’s some understandable defensiveness from vegans, and some valid concerns that the “veganism is for rich white people” trope is both wrong and insulting to anyone not rich or white. But there remain striking differences food access across communities. This should concern everyone, but especially us veganism advocates.

A recent survey [pdf] by the very rad Food Empowerment Project (FEP) lays out the data. Looking at Santa Clara County specifically, they found that:

“On average, higher-income areas have twice as many locations with fresh fruits and vegetables compared to the lower-income areas…14 times more locations with frozen fruit and six times more locations with frozen vegetables.… In addition to being generally less available in lower-income areas, the variety of produce is also limited in these locations.”

Some of these findings are helpfully laid out in chart form:

Other sections point out things that should be obvious to those of us who live, work, or generally exist in urban cores, but are worth stating plainly: there are fundamental differences between supermarkets and small corner groceries; meat and dairy alternatives are virtually nonexistent in many communities, despite high levels of lactose-intolerance in some of those populations; that, along with being “cash-poor,” many providers in low-income communities and communities of color are “time-poor,” way too overstretched by multiple jobs and responsibilities to travel to a distant shop for decent produce, return home, and prepare dinner. The FEP study calls this “environmental racism.” Check out the full thing, along with their recommendations, here [pdf].

Your ability to make healthy food choices shouldn’t depend on your address or income, and lack of access to fruits and vegetables amounts to a public health crisis in many places. The growing trend of farmers’ markets accepting food stamps is a welcome development: by expanding access to good food rather than restricting access to junk, it’s also a much smarter, and less paternalistic and classist way to encourage people to eat well. (Another option would be to eat all the locavores, provided they were humanely put down, with reverence for all that they would provide us, but that’s a topic for another post.)

As vegans, it should matter to us especially. When we tell others to go vegan–which we should–it’s crucial to consider what barriers might stand in their way. Some are ideological, reflective of long-standing habits and assumptions, but some are more practical, like whether they can get to a market that sells non-gross apples. The ability to do so does mark a sort of privilege that needs to be recognized and dismantled, even if anti-vegan internet goofballs like to cite it for their own purposes.

And finally, concern about food security and access shouldn’t be the domain of a borderline-sociopathic “locavore” community that seems to raise these issues only to argue that we need to kill chickens in our yards. We shouldn’t cede that ground (sign a petition against at-home chicken-slaughter right now!). Everyone deserves decent food, produced sustainably, locally, and without poisons, and vegan advocates should be on the frontlines of that push. The FEP’s work is a good place to start.

Rick Kelley is a recent transplant to the Bay, having fled the brutal Minnesota winters for warmer climes. He spends his days at a Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pup, Bandit. He’s also currently active in organizing against Oakland’s “Let’s All Kill Some Chickens in Our Yards For Fun” proposal. He used to blog, and might do so again someday.

03/07/2011

Rainbow Grocery’s Customer Appreciation Day is TOMORROW!  »

It’s 20 percent off everything you want at Rainbow so get up on this! It’s tomorrow today, Tuesday, Mar. 8, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. That’s plenty of time to buy your bulk granola, 15 pounds of Daiya, and several dozen cases of almond milk. Be prepared for crazy-ass crowds and possible fisticuffs in the baked goods section but you know, that’s life during Depression 2.0. Honestly, I look at it as good practice for Judgment Day. 

[Hat tip, Shelly!]

10/22/2010

Threadbanger presents a lesson in homemade toothpaste. Now hang on! Sometimes even the most urban vegans need to save money, or have trouble finding vegan toothpaste that isn’t fennel-flavored, despite our striving to overcome the neo-hippie image forced on us by basically the entire world.

This seems nice and practical, and an easy way to get cruelty-free toothpaste if you’ve forgotten yours while traveling to vegan-unfriendly places. And if anyone talks nasty to you because of your conscientiousness, tell them that 1. odds are their toothpaste was tested on live animals; and 2. so fuck off, jerk.

07/26/2010

03/04/2010

Rabbit, delicious rabbit  »

Welcome to our national nightmare: killing really cute animals, for the environment! What? Yes, and also to expand our narrow palates, which are so embarrassingly American (everything tastes like chicken!). If only we were as sophisticated as the French, while as self-reliant as migrant workers in a Dorothea Lange photograph (only less dusty because ugh)! Plus, the environment needs saving, and also Slow Food and eating locally and getting your food blog nominated for internet awards, plus being a total badass (read: getting a feature in Meatpaper magazine)—how can one person do it all? It is most perplexing.

Thank goodness The New York Times knows: kill, butcher, and eat your own rabbits! No, not even kidding a little bit; this is THE answer to all of the “problems” of wealthy, conscience-plagued omnivores with time on their hands and bloodlust in their hearts. It’s not evil, though, because the rabbits are raised on small farms, and the babies are left with their mothers for eight of the 12 weeks they live on those farms before they’re killed. It’s so humane! Serious Eats actually made a video of John Fazio’s rabbit farm, in which you can see some baby bunnies in a nest their mother made of her own fur. It’s super-great to see how “happy” the rabbits look in their tiny wire-floor cages! Honestly, I could not watch this video past 1:23, where Fazio reaches into such a nest to pet some of the babies; it was too depressing. You all are welcome to finish it, though, and report back on how it ends. This farm also features in the Times article; apparently his signature is selling rabbit carcasses with their heads still attached. Delightful.

Adorably, the Times Dining section photo editor also popped by to write a little post about all the different photos that Jennifer May took of the rabbits on Fazio’s farm. And with so many pictures, how to find the one that “carefully illustrate[s] this sensitive topic”—i.e., doesn’t make you rise up with pitchforks against everyone involved in the article? Turns out the ideal image is “the one that says ‘deal with it.’” HAR HAR, Dining section Photo Editor Tiina Loite! You are the wittiest! Just cold putting it out there, all that hard truth.

I think the best part of the pro-eating-rabbit argument is how it’s supposed to be all economic and awesome, but the “how to murder, cut up and cook bunnies” class cost $100 per person and some of its participants had to fly cross-country to attend. That is super-environmentally friendly, for sure. Beware the photos from this event—some of them are quite nasty. The Pasternaks, who run a rabbit farm in Marin County, actually “travel regularly to Haiti to teach families to raise rabbits on foraged food.” Clever! Of course, rabbits’ and humans’ diets do not differ so significantly, meaning that the food a rabbit is eating could be food for a human; “[a] seven-pound live rabbit might weigh four pounds cleaned;” and [i]n the kitchen, rabbit can be a challenge,” but YES, let’s teach poor people to raise rabbits for food. That is definitely a smart idea.

Whatever. Murder rabbits for fun and profit and patriotism and the economy and the environment and individualism and liberty and every other excuse you need to invent to get yourself through it. You know it’s disgusting. We know it’s disgusting. At least we can sleep at night, knowing our efforts to be better citizens of the world and eat lots of exciting foods don’t involve the slaughter of innocents.

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