Produce: for growing, eating, and portraiture! Giuseppe Arcimboldo painted these crazy portraits/still lifes/reversible portraits that were simultaneously still lifes in 16th century Italy, including a series of the four seasons. Those four paintings were later turned into massive sculptures by Philip Haas, and they are now on display through October 27 at the New York Botanical Garden. Just look at Summer!
Amazing, right? Apparently some of the vegetables—like the eggplant and the corn, and is that an artichoke?—were brand-new to Europe at the time. Get more details at The Salt blog, and let’s go visit them and appreciate their massive scale for ourselves. When the rain lets up, of course.
[Photo courtesy New York Botanical Garden via NPR]
Deborah Madison, queen of vegetables, wants you to garden on your fire escape »
Deborah Madison, queen of produce, author of the loveliest vegetable cookbook around, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, has a new book out called Vegetable Literacy for Everyone. Eggplant Kohlrabi of Weird Vegetables blog got to interview her in March, and you guys, she is a treasure.
in the produce aisle you see pieces of things, you have no idea how much it takes to produce a broccoli head or a cabbage. We’re just so ignorant, we have no idea. There are all these leaves, stalks, stems, and flowers that make up a plant—many of which are edible—but we only know one little bit.
ou don’t need to have a garden in order to relate to Vegetable Literacy. There are other ways to open your own eyes. Hopefully the book will help you see the plant world differently, whether it’s in your own garden, a community garden, or a botanical garden. Go on a farm tour, or look at a photograph of a cardoon or some bolting chard. Or you might try growing a plant or two on your fire escape—that counts, too. Having a garden is great, but it’s not for everyone. This is not a book about gardening, it’s really a book about seeing and going beyond the pretty vegetable on the market shelf.
Don’t you just love her? Read the whole interview at Weird Vegetables (a delightful blog updated far too infrequently) and check out her books and let’s all grow some … something on our windowsills this year, okay? Let’s nurture some life that will nurture us.
Technology is so amazing, it lets J.Viewz here cover Massive Attack on eggplants, strawberries, mushrooms, a bunch of grapes, a kiwi, and a carrot!
Jerry James Stone presents: How to cut and store an avocado! »
It seems like a total duh, right? But avocados are beautiful, we love Jerry James Stone, and over the past couple weeks I’ve seen like three avocado halves in the fridge at my office turning brown and shriveling because whoever is using them doesn’t know how to store them properly. This must be stopped!
Thankfully, JJS has the answer:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Genius, right? Produce! Eat it, love it, care for it.
[Photo by femme run via Flickr]
Veganism and privilege: A Vegansaurus editorial »
We had a post the other day about veggies being cheaper than people acknowledged, and it garnered some responses that called it insensitive to greater structures of food politics. We know the cost of food isn’t the sole determiner in the diet of many people, but the fact remains that many people think veganism is expensive because fruits and veggies are more expensive than non-vegan food.
That post brings to light studies that have shown that veggies are actually not expensive when compared to other foods. It didn’t say that everyone can walk to the corner and buy vegetables. The studies simply show that veggies are actually more affordable then they are made out to be. If we don’t have that information, we can’t move on to discuss what does make vegetables unaffordable or inaccessible.
When someone writes in response to that post that “this is (a big part of) why I am done with vegansaurus and the main(er)stream veg* activism framework,” it troubles us. It makes us think that you’re not reading the site very closely. Which is fair, there are about 10,000 posts a day. However, this isn’t the first post we’ve ever had about food accessibility. We’ve written about food accessibility on Vegansaurus many times, and about healthy school lunches—which affects children with limited options and resources—on multiple occasions. We understand the difference between poverty and college-educated living-on-a-tight-budget.
It bothers us that people consistently use “privilege” as an attack against veganism. Yes, being able to make decisions about your food is a privilege—for this very reason, many people with little options are in fact vegetarian or vegan, by default. But food decisions aren’t the only privilege; caring about and fighting an issue that doesn’t directly affect you is a privilege. Any animal rights activist has the privilege of time and energy to dedicate to helping animals. That, really, is beyond privilege. It’s a responsibility. If you are able to, you should be helping others. If you are able to, you should be vegan.
Honestly, we’ve never had a genuinely poor person say tell us that “being vegan is expensive;” it’s always people in our socio-economic group. We’re not swimming in riches, and maybe even paying rent is hard sometimes, but if you are wealthy enough to live on your own, or even with a few roommates, you are wealthy enough to be vegan. How many times have we heard the argument “WHAT ABOUT KIDS IN AFRICA WHO DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT? ARE YOU GOING TO FORCE THEM TO BE VEGAN?” To which we say A) you totally think Africa is a country, don’t you?; and B) NO, We’re talking about your privileged ass, you cask-ale-drinking jerk.
We recognize that having food choices is privileged; we also realize that having internet access and tumblr accounts and time to write about the things we care about is privileged. Having time to read about the things you care about is a privilege. That’s how we know most people who are reading this post right now have the ability to go vegan—right now.
While you’re at it, you can also work on food sovereignty, and preaching to other liberals who fully understand food deserts about how they’re not liberal enough to understand food deserts in the same complex way that you do. Now get out there and start baking vegan fair-trade organic cupcakes and delivering them on bike to your West Oakland neighbors. We’ll do the same.
This Vegansaurus editorial was brought to you by Meave, Megan and Laura! xoxoxo!
No duh, Salon: government subsidies make good food expensive and horrible food cheap »
Guess who just figured out that food subsidies are all fucked up? Good job, Salon, you’re just behind the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (remember Megan Rascal’s compare-n-contrast graphics? Kick-ass), and King Corn, and Fast Food Nation, and (our best frenemy) Michael Pollan. Only, what, a decade behind the rest of us? Not too bad!
This quote is good, though:
Indeed, this is a problem not of individual proclivities or of agricultural biology that supposedly makes nutrition naturally unaffordable — it is a problem of rigged economics and corrupt policymaking.
Because you have to reframe the argument. Vegans will never, ever win the elitism fight (until the day we’ve all turned into disabled queer people of color through the power of white-cis-guilt/will), but we can point out that the relatively higher price of eating vegetables is a national problem with deep, ugly roots that’s bad for everybody except big agriculture executives. Who are mostly grody white dudes who don’t give a fuck about your need for more than corn-syrup-covered Potato Buds.
Fuck the man. Eat a vegetable and yell at your representatives and tell corporate agriculture to fuck right off. Food stamps at farmers’ markets forever. Food accessibility is a vegan issue.
Any Howard Stern fans in the house? It’s OK. You can admit. This is a Stern-safe space—at least my posts are!
For various reasons, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Howard Stern. I’m pretty sure I learned everything I needed to know about the world listening to his radio show in high school. And, my dad works in his building and says he is a very generous Christmas tipper. Despite his many shortcomings, Stern is A-OK with me.
So of course I can’t help but link you all to his on-air partner Robin Quiver’s upcoming vegan cooking show, Vegucating Robin. Robin became vegan in 2007; she even eats vegan at such meaty institutions like Per Se!
The next frontier in green: vending machines? »
If you’ve ever been to Japan, chances are you’ve seen some pretty bangin’ vending machines. Ever on the cutting edge, a company in Japan has now developed a vending machine that not only vends but grows fresh produce! The “Chef’s Farm” runs about $90,000 to purchase, but with the ability to harvest/vend 60 heads of lettuce per day (without sunlight even), the initial investment can be recouped in about five years.
Now, I don’t know a lot about food-access issues in Japan, but I know that in the U.S., access to healthy, fresh food is a real issue, particularly for a lot of people in low-income urban environments. It’s a complicated issue, and one that obviously won’t be solved by a vending machine that spits out lettuce, but the implications of this type of both farming and selling could, this Vegansaur thinks, be pretty awesome for some of our underserved communities. Where space, especially space suitable to grow food, is at such a premium, and where time is so short, having vending machines that double as gardens providing fresh, nutritious vegetables at any time of day or night seems like a pretty great idea.
Hopefully, the developers of the Chef’s Farm will be turning their attention to more of these creations. I, for one, would be stoked to be able to run out in the middle of the night and grab a head of fresh organic kale, plucked just for me by a robotic appendage. Ah, the future is delicious!
[image of “Chef’s Farm” vending machine via Tech-On!]
Dusker at Hayes Valley Farm tonight! »
Usually this would go in the links, but it’s happening early and the links are not an “early afternoon” kind of post, so we’re giving you plenty of warning so you can be there!
What is Dusker? It’s “an end-of-summer celebration,” dummies! There’ll be music, a whole bunch of food for sale—produce, booze, and edibles—Hayes Valley Farm merchandise, “multi-screen visuals,” “live henna tattooing,” and more. Not being hippies, your Vegansaurus strongly advises against henna tattooing (whether live or recorded from a previous broadcast), but if Gaia tells you to cover your white skin from elbows to fingertips in pretty swirls, you listen to her.
The event runs from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and a $5 donation is requested, which will benefit the Hayes Valley Farm Structures Fund. There will be hot cider, and dancing on the former freeway is
threatened mentioned as a possible activity as well. Hayes Valley Farm is located at 450 Laguna St. at Fell Street, which they are now calling “Greenhouse Plaza.” Incidentally, there’s a rumor that our own Laura will be there tonight “selling” as well! Selling what, we cannot say, but look for the hot redhead and you’ll find out.
Alas, it was unfounded. You weren’t going just to ogle Laura though, right? Of course not, grossy. You’re going for the Farm.