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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Celebration & A Loss

The LA Times just ran a story called, “Organic: What it means on different products.” I definitely think it is important to be informed on the difference between organic and conventional produce (if you want to know why Food Empowerment Project does not encourage people to consume animal products please go to:; however, what shocked me about this article was the fact that there was NO mention of the impacts that agricultural chemicals (or pesticides) have on the farm workers in the fields since we have been hearing more and more about how the drift of these chemicals is impacting nearby communities.

Now obviously I understand the focus of the article was not on these particular issues, but I believe a sentence or two on the benefits of avoiding conventional produce as a means of avoiding the negative impacts that these chemicals have on workers would have helped the public understand just how powerful their food choices are.

And I know that I write this on Cesar Chavez’s birthday – but to me, this article lacks what we need to hear more about, and that is the need to stop using agricultural chemicals due to the harm it causes the workers. Of course, ending the use of agricultural chemicals is not the only thing we can do to help farm workers, but it certainly would be a good start.

The Food Empowerment Project is lucky to have the support of Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers.

I know that many animal advocates talk about Cesar at this time a year as a means to promote veganism, but I hope that many people take the time to not only support the vegan diet and the issue of animal protection that Cesar Chavez advocated, but also, remember the plight of the farm workers.

I would also like to add that I was very sorry to hear about the death of Jamie Escalante (made famous in the movie Stand and Deliver). I love what Edward James Olmos had to say about him: “Jaime exposed one of the most dangerous myths of our time – that inner city students can't be expected to perform at the highest levels...Because of him, that destructive idea has been shattered forever."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Water blogged

Not sure how many of you have seen the newest video by the Story of Stuff regarding the abuses of the water bottling industry. It is about 8 minutes long and definitely worth the watch. As Food Empowerment Project wants everyone to be aware of their food choices, it is truly hard to overlook the water bottle industry’s impact on our environment and on the people around the globe.

Like with everything, it just takes some awareness on our part – reminding ourselves that plastic can take a thousand years to go away. That maybe you can reduce the amount of plastic that you purchase, and buy a reusable bottle – we all need to drink more water, so why not be prepared? Be sure not to buy a Nalgene bottle as they support the animal experimentation industry – why not be safe and just buy a water bottle from Food Fight, an all vegan grocery?

And in other water news, let’s hope that Coke (a company responsible for killing union workers in Columbia and abuses of water privatization in India) pays up as a government Committee in India has found them liable for up to $48 million in damages. According to the release:

“The Committee thus has compelling evidence to conclude that the HCBPL has caused serious depletion of the water resources of Plachimada, and has severely contaminated the water and soil,” said the report. HCBPL is the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, a subsidiary of Atlanta based Coca-Cola Company.

Coke can never replace a resource like water and I fear that no fine will ever make this company more accountable but – we can just hope that more governments will take a stand.

Speaking of my friends at Food Fight, I was up in Portland last weekend giving a talk about Food Justice issues and had a great time. I was really excited to see how many people were interested in the connection of all of the issues we work on. It gives me hope that we can truly have an impact.

Thanks to the Let Live Foundation for inviting me and for its work in informing those in the area not only about a variety of issues but also how they can get involved. I ate loads of food in Portland and would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Blossoming Lotus (they had this Chicana happy with their version of chorizo) and Los Gorditos.

Chad, Emiko, Kim, Craig & Dave thanks for fun and a full tummy and I am so glad you like the Vampire Diaries too - they are such a great band!

Oh, I also walked my first dog- thanks for that Carlton – hugs to you & Augo.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Welcome to F.E.P.'s new website!

Finally! I am so excited to unveil the first segment of our new website. If you have clicked around already, you know that the main section that is up is our Know the Issues on animals killed for food. We will begin populating the other portions of the website throughout the year and we will keep you posted as we progress. I just couldn’t wait any longer!

Now, if you are reading this, you know we now have a blog. The blog is called Appetite for Justice as our organization strives to satisfy the hunger of those of us who are eager to discuss issues about how our food choices can change the world.

I want to thank all of you who understand the need for us to constantly find ways to use our food choices and our buying power to eliminate some of the suffering and injustices that take place in our world—whether it be the environment, people, workers or the animals.

As Food Empowerment Project is in many ways a first of its kind, I can’t begin to thank all of the volunteers and people who have supported our mission. Just hearing that people feel it is time for an organization like ours to exist has made our existence possible.

I want to take this opportunity to explain how and why we have chosen to design the animal portion of our website. I have often worried that when people learn about farmed animals they only learn about how these animals suffer instead of how these animals would normally spend their lives, what they enjoy, and then of course, what they are forced to endure when they are raised and killed for food.

Please take the time to read about these animals and share with others.

There are a lot of people I would like to thank for their support and for making this website possible. For ease, I will put it in some sort of alphabetical order: Animal Welfare Trust for their financial support which allowed us to create this website, Emily Bellairs for her translation of portions of our Spanish website, Valerie Belt for the countless number of hours assisting me with the reviewing and editing of all portions of the site, Ryan Frazier for all of his time, energy and passion and expertise in writing every word of the animal section with such care, Che Green for his time in putting together all of the pieces for the website, Mark Hawthorne, Karin Olsson and Kim Sturla for using their expertise to review sections of the website and the talented crew at Raven & Crow for their beautiful and wonderful design of our website. And Monica Cendejas for her quick assistance in helping us get the blog up and running!

And thanks to all of the sanctuaries who gave us permission to use images of the animals: Animal Place, Eastern Shore Sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary, United Poultry Concerns and Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. And for those images taken by organizations to show us the darker side of our treatment of animals I thank: East Bay Animal Advocates, Farm Sanctuary, Sea Shepherd & Viva!USA.