'Food for People, Not for Profit'

The slogan "Food for People, Not for Profit" sums up the philosophy behind a movement for food justice where the production of food is done ethically and its consumption is considered a collective right. In the late 1960s and 1970s, a number of vegetarian, natural, and whole foods cooperatives and collectives where founded on this principle. (Read more...)

Real Vegan Options: Veganism and Social Justice

I believe real vegan options are those that model the vegan ideal of nonexploitation. In this way vegan options are intertwined with social justice. From its beginnings veganism has sought social justice, including an equitable use of the Earth's resources and materials.

I question the validity of promoting processed convenience foods and other consumer goods as increasing vegan options. I question it in part because I see it as the neoliberalization of the movement, but on a more basic level I see it as an invalid model for the vegan ideal. (Read more...)

Veganism and Creating a Shift in Power

Today, Frances Moore Lappé was interviewed on Democracy Now! about her new book Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad. I recommend checking out the interview; a lot of the things that Lappé talks about are relevant to veganism.

Lappé discusses how the global food crisis is ideological and how this ideology has lead us to "accept a power-centralizing, power-concentrating economy" against our "food-sharing instinct." She also talks about models throughout the world where people are ending hunger, and the shift from things that make us dependent to the empowerment of ourselves and community. (Read more...)

Vision of a Plant-Based Food System

Previously, I posted about the aims of the Movement for Compassionate Living:
  1. To spread the vegan message and promote simple living and self-reliance as a remedy against the exploitation of humans, animals and the Earth.
  2. To promote the use of trees and vegan-organic farming to meet the needs of society for food and natural resources.
  3. To promote a land-based society where as much of our food and resources as possible are produced locally.

Veganism, Food and the Global Economy

The Guardian published an excerpt, "Our diet of destruction," from Felicity Lawrence's book, Eat Your Heart Out: Why the Food Business Is Bad for the Planet and Your Health. The article touches on what I called the food-to-flesh conversion as it relates to the capitalist system. (Read more...)

Food-to-Flesh and the Global Food Crisis

The exploitation of other animals for food and other goods involves more than the human privilege that comes from the direct exploitation of other animals, it also come at the exploitation of the world's hungriest people. So the rise in global food prices is not just linked to the conversion of food crops like corn and soybeans into ethanol and biofuels. This food-to-fuel conversion follows an older system where food crops, also mainly corn and soybeans, are turned into flesh, eggs, and dairy.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Some recent articles ("Idaho dairy producer battles U.S. military," "Valley Milk in Iraq?," "Dairyman wants to send milk to Middle East," "Idaho Dairymen Fights with U.S. Military") on the local dairy industries connections to US militarism illustrates the complex interrelations and interconnections of various forms of privilege and oppression.

Health as Wealth

On July 19, Breeze Harper, founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on connecting our diet to social justice in a talk titled, "Race, Class, Food and You!" [based on her book chapter "Decolonizing the Diet: A bell hooks approach to Nutritional Liberation for 'At Risk' Youths".]

The challenge, Harper noted, is that "America's concept of wealth and success is monetary and material based, and not rooted in the wealth of a healthy mind, body and soul." And while many people are concerned with healthy eating, Harper explained that the consequences of unhealthy eating habits for middle- and upper-income white youth "are far less life threatening than that of low-income Black and Latino boys who collectively practice junk food consumption and are already 'at risk' in achieving a healthier life." (Read more...)