Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Exoticism & Chinese American Food January 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 5:03 pm
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Not specifically vegan, but check out this great Racialicious post debunking myths many people in the US have about Chinese food (& thus, about Chinese people).

I thought it made a good counterpart to the continuing discussion on VoC about the word “exotic” & why it is offensive.


Japanese Environmentalism; Good News about Coconut Oil

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 1:33 pm

Elaine Vigneault recently commented giving a link to this Galllup poll showing that the Japanese attempt to live a green lifestyle about as much as those in the US. As Elaine points out, sometimes anti-Japan commentary is a feature of AR/environmental activism, but the poll indicates that views on the environment are not, perhaps, that much different than in the States (so it’s not that the Japanese are evildoers who don’t care about the earth).

In other good news, vegan truffleteer (Is that a word? It is now… anyway she’s a chef! And makes truffles!) Lagusta Yearwood, who suggested coconut oil as a substitute for troubling palm oil products like Earth Balance has some good news:

So I contacted my source at Omega Nutrition, and to their credit it took them only six months and two emails to respond. As their response was the president and co-founder of the company, Robert Gaffney, calling me up and us having a great chat, I can’t complain.

As I suspected, coconut oil is a vastly more sustainable product than icky old palm oil, primarily because palm oil production entails razing entire fields and forests of trees—sadly, it is akin to slash-and-burn deforesting tactics used to clear-cut land to graze animals, which is one reason many of us became vegetarian in the first place. This process obviously destroys entire ecosystems, but it seems to have a particularly devastating effect on endangered orangutans.

Coconut oil production, on the other hand, entails harvesting the fruits of the tree and letting the tree live so it can continue to produce more coconuts.

Robert told me that he gets his coconuts from the Philippines, where he works with a guy who employs about 2,000 employees who sustainably harvest his organic coconuts. Apparently the coconut palms are wild and the guy who runs the business in the Philippines started it in order to fund an organic banana chip business on the same land, so I believe there is some sort of symbiotic ecosystem thing going on there.

Lagusta says she forgot to ask him specifically about labor conditions — my perhaps naive view would lead me to believe that any organic business is likely to treat its workers fairly decently, but I don’t know (now you all are going to leave me links with horror stories about organic sweatshops, eek!).