Food Empowerment Project has an Appetite for Justice: An Interview with lauren Ornelas

We talk with lauren Ornelas, founder and volunteer executive director of the Food Empowerment Project. Ornelas tells us about the Food Empowerment Project’s most recent study on how easy it is for communities of color and low-income communities to have access to healthy fruits and vegetables as well as alternatives to meat and dairy products.  The Food Empowerment Project combines both research and activism and by opening up dialogue on how issues like human slavery, environmental exploitation, factory farms, and food deserts are all connected, lauren encourages us to remember that animal rights really are human rights.

Check out some of the Food Empowerment Project’s work!

Food Availability Study

Food Chain Newsletter

Blog: Appetite for Justice

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or download an mp3 of the show.

4 thoughts on “Food Empowerment Project has an Appetite for Justice: An Interview with lauren Ornelas

  1. Thanks for this show! I think lauren’s wonderful and I wanted to share just a little bit of a similar frustration with vegan and AR organizations. When back in 1997 I broached the topic of supporting multinational animal-killing, human-exploiting corporations by buying vegan processed food (Lightlife, owned by ConAgra), I was pretty much told it didn’t matter as long as the actual food was vegan. What we’ve seen since then is a mass sell-out and buy-out of veg food companies by multinationals, particularly Hain. Silk/White Wave are owned by Dean, the largest dairy producer in the US, and Earth Balance uses palm oil, which is effectively causing the extinction of orangutans (and I’m quite sure the labor industry surrounding palm oil is highly exploitative). But vegans don’t seem to care about even the mass fallout to non-human animals, let alone humans. It’s like if you eat an actual vegan item, then the packaging, the labor behind the creation, the profits going to the meat and dairy industries, don’t seem to matter. Some of the larger AR groups who routinely promote Earth Balance, Silk and Lightlife are not even willing to go halvsies by promoting other companies like Soy Boy or even Eden (though I think they were recently bought out by something nasty; I’d have to look it up to be sure).
    Our local health food chain, Earth Fare, has recently started promoting Coca Cola bottled in Mexico because it has no high-fructose corn syrup. Never mind the labor practices, as lauren points out (or the organization killercoke.org).
    And on the other side of it, when I contacted Equal Exchange years ago about maybe doing a cross-movement campaign against P&G (for Equal Exchange it was about coffee growers and pickers being badly treated; for me it was more about P&G’s animal testing)— well, let’s just say that was 2002 and I’m still waiting to hear back from them.
    So I’d like to know how we can create effective cross-movement campaigns, and one in which all parties do not declare “victory” until all demands are met (for example, P&G would have had to agree to certain labor standards AND quit testing on animals).
    I am actually routinely irritated by the mainstream vegans who assert eating an actual vegan product is all that’s necessary and by human rights and environmental organizations who don’t care about animals at all, or make them so secondary that they refuse to serve vegan food or even consider it.
    So — how to bridge this gap?
    (uh, yeah, I’ve had a lot of free time at the office this morning) ;)

  2. Pingback: AV 2011: Year in Review « Animal Voices

  3. Pingback: Highlights from the 11th Annual North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies, Part II « Animal Voices

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