vegansaurus!

10/04/2012

Australia’s National Food Plan may include vegan issues  »


That’s the way to do it, Vegan Australia.

The magical island of Australia (or as we think of it, Evil New Zealand), is right now creating a national food plan. The government wants “to foster a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.” Which is admirable!

The leader of NFP project, Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig, minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, has been meeting with interested parties nationwide, and taking public comment since releasing his ministry’s first issues papers on the subject in June 2011. This week Vegan Australia submitted its own set of recommendations to the NFP, because vegans care a lot about the direction of food production. As quoted in the International News Magazine, Vegan Australia recommends the NFP should

Ensure all Australians have access to affordable and adequate fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant foods irrespective of income by 2015.

Improve the health of Australians and lower the burden on the health system by reducing the incidence of dietary related diseases.

Use Australia’s land resources more effectively and sustainably.

End the use of animal agriculture systems within the next 20 years by building up and supporting Australia’s fruit, vegetable and grain producers.

"End the use of animal agriculture systems within the next 20 years"! As in, TURN AUSTRALIA VEGAN. I love it. I love that the first tenet is "food justice" and the last is "National veganism." Those are big goals! Read them all in the official submission [pdf].

Would our Australian readers (or any antipodean readers, if you follow Australian news) please tell us your opinions on this? Is it a tiny issue? Is the country abuzz with cries of “Let us eat steak!”? Are Australian vegans like the ideal-world version of the silent majority? OK that can’t be true—no vegan is silent. But I don’t know anything about anything, so let your favorite pink dinosaur know: What is up with the National Food Plan? Will Australia be vegan within our lifetime?

[Photo of (and recipe for) vegan lamingtons by penguincakes via Flickr]

04/06/2011

Say WHAT, Novella Carpenter?  »

Oh, dear. This woman, Novella Carpenter, she’s just your average middle-class white American afforded all the opportunities that comes with this status, yet she chooses to play “farmer held down by The Man.” It’s really only privileged white people who “choose” to be poor, isn’t it? Like it’s some powerful social act? But, you know, when they want to travel around the world, they travel around the world, and when they want to go to grad school, they go to grad school, and when they want to feed a hen 8,000 grain-calories to produce just a dozen eggs, they do it and claim it’s all in interest of improving food security. Being poor by choice has its advantages!

I could’ve given two shits about Carpenter until she had to go and make some unfounded claims about “animal people” calling the city of Oakland on her (allegedly) illegal-farm-having ass AND NOW I HAVE TO CARE ABOUT THIS WOMAN, GODDAMMIT. Ugh, all I wanted to do this morning was eat my Wheatabix and watch an episode of Arrested Development in peace and NOW THIS SHIT.

Carpenter gets dimed out for some shady farm shit—selling food when she hasn’t got a permit—and it’s front page news! The Chronicle is on her team. Super, I don’t give a fuck. But then she gets an email from some person saying it was probably animal rights people who turned her in and she posts the letter on her blog and says yes, she assumed it was in fact those meddling animal-lovers! Carpenter, don’t say that bunny lovers are after you because some person who sent you an email BELIEVES that they PROBABLY know who turned you in. What if I sent you an email telling you I BELIEVED that it was PROBABLY Willie Brown who did it? Or that it was a neighbor who secretly hates you? Maybe it’s even someone who hates animals and wants them gone? Who knows! Don’t go spouting bullshit against animal-lovers because you got some email tip from someone who believes they might know something. And then later, she’s like WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG!? to the animal people, after she straight called us out on her blog. As Kanye says, that’s a pretty bad way to start a conversation.

Also guys, you know what else is low? When the city of Oakland dude told her she was being taken to task for breaking the law, she responded, “What about City Slicker Farms? Or People’s Grocery? I asked, two urban farming non-profits in Oakland. No one has complained about them.” So uh, she just dragged the legality of City Slicker Farms and People’s Grocery into a talk with a government official? Now who’s the snitch?! Wow, maybe it was another urban farmer who turned her in because they are equally petty? I wonder. Not to mention, those are two places that are WAAAAAY more useful than she’ll ever be.

This is my favorite part: “I’ll have to spend countless hours of my time (making it my 4th low paying/no paying job) so you can have a new law to enforce when one person (with money and power probably) complains about another person’s private activities. I just want to grow food for myself and other people, I don’t want to go to meetings and speak bureaucrat talk.” Um, Carpenter is a person with money and power. She has the extremely lucrative commodity of media coverage at her fingertips. I mean, she’s bitching about chard and it’s front-page news. Here’s some real news: actual oppressed individuals cannot spawn media shitstorms at will. And I’m sure as someone who studied under Michael Pollan at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, she’s got that bureaucrat talk down better than most, so cry me a goddamn river.

And really: Welcome to the world! I don’t want to register my car because it’s expensive and a pain in the ass—alert the media! If I let that registration slide and I get caught and my ass gets handed a ticket, I don’t like it, but I don’t whine “poor me” and I don’t get front-page coverage in the Chron. I also can’t open a retail store in my residentially zoned apartment WOE IS ME. Also, if she wanted to be more generous with this whole thing, at least she could say something like, “Good thing this is happening to me and not someone who really needs the food and actually can’t afford the time and money needed to lobby. I have the ability and power to seek (my version of) justice.”  A bit of fucking perspective is all I ask. You’re not some chard-martyr.

But the worst part is, in a follow up post, Carpenter encourages people to raise (and slaughter?!) their own food under the radar? I’m actually way more comfortable with these activities being overseen; I don’t trust the idiots who order chickens in the mail to take that shit seriously. Carpenter might have the time (remember! She has no real job! She’s just a simple farmer! With a book deal!), skills, and money (yes, it takes a good amount of money to raise chickens, whether it be for eggs or meat), but most people don’t. So yes, I do want laws dictating how and where people in my city can raise and slaughter animals. I’d like more laws surrounding animal agriculture in general, whether it be factory farms or you new American farmers who want to eat your pets. Given the horrific treatment of animals pretty much everywhere, we need more oversight, not less. Self-policing isn’t working.

If you can kill an animal that you raised with kindness and love for no other reason than it tastes good to you, well then you kinda freak me out. So, yeah, I’ll continue to spend the majority of my time railing against factory farms, but just like you, Carpenter, I’ve got extra time, and so heeeeey what’s up, girl! If you want to team up on factory farming issues (and hell, even organic farming issues), holler, I’m all for it. However, don’t drag “rabbit fanatics” into this and force me to read your blog. I was much happier having no clue who you are.

To tie this long-ass rant up, a picture of a cute-ass bunny, Surya, who is up for adoption at SaveABunny (Sorry, Carpenter, she’s not for eating, she’s for snuggling!)
Blog post title gaffled from the always awesome Say what, Michael Pollan?

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