Marketplace loves the Veggie Grill! »
My dad was on NPR yesterday, selling Kai Ryssdal on plant-based fast casual food. Woo, go dad!
Vegansaurus pal and all-around wonderful human being Kate Dollarhyde brought to our attention to this interview with her dad, Greg Dollarhyde,* who is CEO of the Veggie Grill! Which everyone should love, as it is terrific. Look at that salad!
Click through to find out what cities can look forward to their own Veggie Grills in the near future (hint: outside of California!).
[Photo by Michael Liu via Flickr]
*[The original post misidentified the first name of Kate’s dad. His name is Greg Dollarhyde, not Steve. Vegansaurus regrets the error]
This is why you’re vegan: Your Halloween candy is made by slaves »
You read that article in Good last week by Kristen Howerton, about the big candy companies using child-slave labor to harvest the cocoa beans to make their chocolate; of course you did, you care about child-slave labor. It’s fucking disgusting, it’s outrageous, it’s major U.S. candy companies—“Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and the U.S. division of Cadbury"—directly profiting from child slaves. CHILD SLAVES
It’s also not the most shocking news we’ve ever heard. Nike, right? That scandal broke when I was in high school and I still can’t buy Nike. I read No Logo the year I graduated, and 11 years later (I’m an old), when my conscience feels weak, I still think about the international exploitation of people and animals, and think, yes, this is why I’m vegan.
U.S. candy companies did shock us this week when the New York Times reported on the Hershey Company’s exploitation of exchange students working in their factory IN HERSHEY, PA. Yes, for real: These people came over as Ph.D. candidates and were forced to work “physically arduous” jobs at $8 per hour with “steep deductions from their paychecks for housing, transportation and insurance.” They were kept isolated and poor, and the program’s sponsor ignored the students’ requests for help for months. Horrifying.
Sadie of Tiger Beatdown is sufficiently enraged. And what we—and our pal Kate Dollarhyde—would add to Sadie’s anger is relief, that being vegan, we don’t participate in the exploitation of animals, and now, because these companies don’t make vegan candy, we don’t participate in the exploitation of exchange students, either. Like it’s not enough to make the shitty chocolates from horrible cow’s milk, you have to force foreign engineering students to make the shitty chocolates, too? Hershey’s, you are the goddamn worst.
Fair Trade, you guys. It costs more because it isn’t made by LITERAL SLAVES. Thank goodness we’re vegan. If anyone wants to join us, we’re planning on taking over some abandoned suburban tract homes and growing our own food and never participating in the corporatocracy again.
Or you could just patronize companies on the Food Empowerment Project’s fair trade chocolate list. Might be simpler, though not nearly as fun.
Interview with a vegan: Kate Dollarhyde! »
Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Kate Dollarhyde: When I first decided to go vegan it was absolutely for animal rights reasons. How could I see the evidence of animal abuses and torment and not act, especially when the act, for me, would be so easy? I was lucky to go vegan where I did—right in the center of San Francisco: a block from a forward-thinking Safeway, a quick jaunt from Rainbow Grocery, mere feet from the Castro farmers’ market. It was like magic, the convenience of it.
As I matured in my veganity, I read over and over about how destructive animal farming is to our ecosystems, our soils, and that’s what really sealed the deal. And health? I was never concerned with health! Do you guys know how many cupcakes I eat? I’m at like at least 1,000 per day. I might have a problem.
Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
Dollarhyde: I’ve been vegan for four-ish years. I’m not completely sure, but I know my veganniversary is in April sometime. I was a vegetarian for two years before that, though that was much more difficult than the veganism is because my family was less willing to accommodate me, especially during holiday meals. But my dad is vegan now, so it’s all good.
Vegansaurus: What do you do to make monies? Tell us all about it.
Dollarhyde: I do very thrilling desk work for a biotech start up in Berkeley; you know, research, coffee brewing, presentation compiling, dish-doing, all the exciting stuff. I was wary of taking the job because (in the interest of full disclosure) the company I work for contracts with labs that do animal testing. I didn’t have a lot of options when I graduated from college with a useless BA in a field that requires a doctorate, so when I was offered a job that would pay me a living wage with health and dental insurance included, I couldn’t turn it down.
The device they’re developing could save millions of human lives a year, but I still find it difficult to square with my vegan beliefs. Of course I’m against animal testing, but if one of my family members contracted the disease they’re trying to cure would I be glad the device existed? Heck yes I would be.
Vegansaurus: I know you volunteer with various organizations—what’s up? How can we get involved with some of them?
Dollarhyde: I volunteer at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art every Saturday, down in the museum district near the SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It’s a fantastic space and the people I work with are phenomenal. The museum works hard to engage the community for education and fun times, so every first Thursday we host a crafting event in partnership with Etsy called Craft Bar. It’s always hugely crowded and rowdy because of the cheap beer and is always the highlight of my month.
The best way to get involved with the museum (and other small, under-funded museums like them!) is to ring them up and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Small museums are chronically understaffed and could always use a helping hand at the front desk or during events. And unlike at the large museums with competitive volunteer waitlists, small museums will usually give you the opportunity to do a variety of work. I was asked to help with aspects our recent exhibit installation and it was too dang fun.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any companion animals? Tell us all about them!
Dollarhyde: I have two cats! Boris, a giant bruiser of cat, and Rhubarb, a feisty little spitfire my partner and I adopted from the SFSPCA. Some complete jerk abandoned her in a cardboard box in the parking lot outside of the shelter at night, in the winter. Boris is a total weirdo, really vocal, and needy in a completely adorable way. He likes to wake my partner up in the morning by standing on his chest and licking his hair. Rhuby is a much more normal cat; she’ll roll on her back and lure you in with the promise of sweet, sweet belly rubs, and then just bite your shit like it ain’t no thing. She likes to sleep under the covers with us so she’ll usually stand by my head at 2 a.m. and meow until I lift of the covers so she can come in for a snuggle. It’s too cute to be annoying.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any super-cute photos of animals to share with us?
Dollarhyde: Have you seen this video of someone’s pet fox licking a window? Because it’s amazing.
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
Dollarhyde: I’m boring—I’ve always been a panda person. And my family was really weird about it! Every holiday someone would give me a panda stuffed animal until suddenly I was 18 and there were like 30 stuffed pandas in my room and people would come over and be like, Kate, wtf?
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan cookbook?
Dollarhyde: That is an impossible question, Laura. You know that is like the meanest question ever. But, well, fine. It has to be Vegan with a Vengeance. When I first went vegan I, like most newly hatched vegans, had no idea what or how to cook. Isa showed me the way, and now I cook every damn day and I’m actually not too bad at it. The book is the stuff of dreams.
My other favorite cookbook is Strong Waters but it’s not exactly vegan, just full of exciting recipes for exciting alcoholic beverages. I like to brew when I have the free time and Strong Waters covers all the esoteric weirdness I love to make the most.
Vegansaurus: What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Dollarhyde: Call me Garfield, baby, because I love lasagna. For a bakesale? Carrot cake! Always! Carrot cake is my second favorite food; it should be a food group all on its own. And it should have the biggest part of the food pyramid.
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
Dollarhyde: How could you do this to me? How could you make me choose? Southern fried tofu and collards at Souley Vegan, or curry soba soup at Cha-Ya? Is there even a God?
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan restaurant?
Dollarhyde: Ugh, it’s impossible. Souley Vegan.
Vegansaurus: Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
Dollarhyde: Yes, absolutely! Party at my house! You bring the booze, I’ll make the tacos!
Vegansaurus: Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
Dollarhyde: Is there a secret clubhouse I can visit? [Ed.: We wish! Someone finance the rent on a secret clubhouse/large cardboard box we can use as a mobile office!]
Are you a great vegan? Are you doing great vegan things? We want to to know more about you! Email Laura for more information on The Vegansaurus Interview!
Vegan Oxfords of the Now »
This sweet baby right here is everything you ever wanted from an “all man-made materials” shoe, promising flights of fancy not yet seen in this world like unicorn rides, or my acceptance to grad school. Just leave some 8.5s for me!
Get them at Modcloth for $49.99.
[This guest post was brought to you by the inimitable Kate Dollarhyde!]