People’s Grocery goes solar!  »

You knew West Oakland’s People’s Grocery was awesome,* but now it’s getting even awesomer: As of today, Jan. 23, the joint will run on solar power. And not just any solar-power, but uber-progressive, crowd-funded solar power from Solar Mosaic.

If you want, you can pretend like you’re a reporter and sneak into the media event they’re having today — at People’s Grocery, 909 Seventh St. in Oakland, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — for the installation. Or you could just actually be helpful: Go fund some solar projects at Solar Mosaic (you basically give a small, zero-interest loan on behalf of solar power); buy some stuff from People’s Grocery (supposedly they’ve even got a grocery store coming later this year!), or find an organization in your area doing rad stuff. 

I’m off to feel bad about myself now, since I haven’t done anything to help the world today beside make sure there’s one less Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage around to terrorize our nation’s youth.

*You did know that right? If not, don’t admit it, you’ll look seriously out of the loop. It’s basically a pioneering social-justice org focused on access to healthy food.


This is Justice! You may remember him from the Happy Veggie Kids series. His interview was super; he explained the gender-bending history of pink. It was eye-opening. Now he explains veganism. Go Justice!


Oakland CSA Phat Beets Produce is having a party!  »

I’ve been in love with vegetables for years now, but not until I met Phat Beets Produce had I fallen in love with a CSA. Seriously, I wrote them a love letter once. Now you can fall in love too, when you go to their Friendraiser Party at their Dover Street community garden in North Oakland on Saturday, July 16 Friday, July 15 (that’s tomorrow today)!

From 6:30 to 8 p.m. they’ll host a casual, picnic-style hangout complete with vegan appetizers and “mocktails,” which I assume are fancy cocktails without the booze (if that’s a problem, I’ve got one word for you: flask). Feel free to bring eats to share, and take along a blanket to stay for “a family-friendly movie in the park, TBD, which will begin after dark.”

No lie, the goal is to seduce you into signing up for their Beet Box CSA, but that’s for your own good.

Here’s why Phat Beets is special:

  1. Their CSA box is super user-friendly. Back in March, when a certain other produce box was giving me more greens and kiwi than I could fathom eating, Phat Beets gave me really useful stuff, like lemons, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, oranges, and strawberries. Their mission is to encourage healthy eating, so it makes sense that you don’t need to be an expert to handle their farm box. I love me some six pounds of kohlrabi for three weeks straight, but even more I love me a CSA provider who makes it easy to eat vegetables.
  2. They have a stellar mission. Phat Beets is a “food justice collective” that started with a guerilla produce stand and now runs two small farmer’s markets and an urban garden. “Healthy Food is a Human Right,” says they. “What is lacking is not food, but the political will to fairly distribute food regardless of the recipient’s ability to pay.”
  3. Their farmer’s markets have attitude, are cheap, and in underserved locations. Learn things like bike maintenance and how to make jam at the workshops they hold at one of their little scrappy markets every weekend!
  4. They support small and minority farmers. Instead of sourcing from a single farm, like many CSAs, Phat Beets works with a bunch of farmers, especially those of color or those with tiny little operations, to connect them to a market for their food.
  5. Two of their founding members are vegan caterers.

There are more reasons I love this organization, but don’t take it from me, just GO to the event. You’re welcome.


Guest post: Vegan Cookie Connoisseur Kelly Peloza goes to Mad City Vegan Fest!  »

The first-ever Mad City Vegan Fest was held last month in Madison, Wis., and I was lucky enough to be there doing a baking demo and speech. Over 1,300 people attended, and there were so many fantastic, inspiring presenters: Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House spoke about food activism; Terry Romero made chipotle seitan potato tacos; Kenny Torella of Mercy For Animals spoke about everyday compassion; and there was a nutrition talk, yoga session, and raw food demo! There were lines wrapping around the exhibitor room full of people eager to get their hands on lunch from local Midwest vegan food vendors like Dandelion Food Cart (I got a breakfast-y tofu ciabatta sandwich and it was yumz), Ste Martaen Vegan Food Truck, and a whole host of tables offering samples. A smashing success, and everyone was extremely friendly and super awesome.

It gets even better! There were Vegansaurus Happy Veggie Kids at the vegan fest! My friend Marla of Chicago VeganMania was there with Justice. Then I recognized Ayame, who sat in the front row at my demo and volunteered to be one of my cookie-decorators. I clearly need to be best friends with more eight-year-olds because Ayame said she loves cookies and bunnies, and OMG me too! I went vegan when I was 14 and grew up very much involved in the vegan community, and it’s wonderful to see these awesome vegan kids being a part of such a wonderful community at such a young age!

For my demo, I talked about cookbook-writing and the greatness of microplane zesters, then made Shirley Temple Cookies. They are a delicate, shortbread-like citrus cookie topped with cherry grenadine frosting, garnished with a cherry, candy straws, and a cocktail umbrella—just like the drink. Get the recipe here.

Sandi and Ayame and I piped frosting and garnished the cookies with all sorts of fun stuff. The audience also got samples of Chocolate Peppermint Cream Bars (such a summery recipe, I know!) and Hypnosis Cookie Lollipops. Jasmin commented that my dress matched the cookies—when you spend all your time making cookies, at some point desserts become your (subconscious) fashion inspiration. The demo went smoothly and everyone was gobbling up cookies by the end of it!

The after-party was held at High Noon Saloon, with pizza and cupcakes galore (the only food groups you’ll ever need)! My friend Jessica of Compassionate Cake baked a huge selection of GORGEOUS cupcakes, in flavors like Chile Chocolate, Death by Chocolate, and Maple Vegan Bacon, topped with intricate fondant and chocolate sculptures. I had met Jessica a few days prior to the event, after seeing her cupcakes and deciding we needed to be friends immediately. She is just starting her catering business and she’s an amazing lady. Just look at these cupcakes!

I always go home happy and inspired from vegan fests and other events, and Mad City was no exception (well, 8 a.m. class the next day was kind of a drag). I met so many wonderful people, saw some good friends, and made new ones. Go get your vegan fest on in a city near you, or get involved with starting one! Something about putting hundreds of like-minded people with great ideas and enthusiasm all in one place all day makes awesome things happen!

Kelly Peloza is the author of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which is great. Find her at The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and Seitan Beats Your Meat online, or all over the place in real life! Thanks for the post, Kelly!


Happy Veggie Kids: Justice!  »

Say hello to Justice! He’s an eight-year-old vegan from Oak Park, Ill. You may know his mom from Vegan Feminist Agitator. Mom note: “Justice has helped his father and I organize Chicago VeganMania every year. We also have the Chicago Vegan Family Network if people want to contact me over email for our monthly potlucks/get-togethers.” You can email me and I’ll put you in touch! Potlucks are fun! Now, back to Justice.

Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food?
Justice: Well, I’d probably say Thai food. My favorite dish? That would be pad Thai.

What is your favorite kind of birthday cake?
 I’d say chocolate cake with mango frosting. Chocolate and chocolate, vanilla and chocolate, too.  My real favorite is actually chocolate with vanilla frosting. You’re a good writer [typist], mom. Next?

Why are you vegan?
Well, because you [mom] and dad are vegan. If you and dad are vegan, then I’m vegan. And I like animals. It’s the only type of food I know. I’ve always been vegan, I always will be vegan and I like animals

Do you like being vegan? Why?
Well, because I like animals and vegan food tastes good. I just don’t like hurting animals.

Is it ever hard to be vegan?

What do your friends think about you being vegan?
They don’t really mind. They don’t usually talk about it. I also have some vegan friends. Next?

What is your favorite animal? Why?
Well, “why” is not so easy but favorite animal? Let’s see…cats. I love cats so much because they’re so cute and fluffy.

Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it!
Uh, well, um, huh. I think maybe I like dinosaurs but I don’t like pink. Now that I know the history of pink, I don’t like it. [Mom note: This led into a whole side topic with his mother thinking that he was rejecting pink because it’s considered a feminine color.]

Mom: What is the “history” of pink?
Justice: Well, it’s a mystery color.
Mom: What do you mean, mystery color?
Justice: OK, I don’t like pink because it is related to red.
Mom: What’s the matter with red? Red is my favorite color.
Justice: It reminds me of blood and blood creeps me out.

[Mom note: Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Justice remembered his mother talking about how pink was once thought of as a boy’s color and blue was considered more of a girl’s color. Pink was thought to be a child-friendly pastel of red, which evokes blood, of course, and thus was once considered “fiery and manly.” Link] [Ed. note: Dang, Justice! You are a smart one!]

Mom: But still, do you like pink dinosaurs?
Justice: Yes, I am a fan of them.

I’m a fan of this vegansaurus drawing! Awesome! As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!

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