Monday, May 11, 2009

what do environmentalists eat?

often, folks who are concerned about the enviromental impact and quality of their food tend to make good real food but this was never really evident at the sacramento earth day festival. until this year, the food at earth day had always been "vegetarian": corn chips covered in heavily processed squirt bottle cheese sauce (bgh and preservatives anyone?), rainbow colored snow cones (red no. 16 or blue no. 12 with that government subsidized corn syrup?). and don't forget about the tofu dog. i tried one. it was soft and tender, like a waterlogged cookie.

it tasted like mustard. and sadness.

sacramento, in the heart of california's ag land, could certainly provide tastier eats for guests at sacramento earth day...this year, the food at sac earth day was just slightly improved with the addition of meat, but still lotsa room for growth in many ways like more local/organic options and vendors, and the complete use of green/earth friendly materials. given the bounty that surrounds us and the epicurean feats of local establishments like the co-op deli, magpie, and old soul, the food at sacramento earth day remains dismal for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

sacramento earth day organizers upset some vegetarians with the inclusion of meat at this year's festival.  numerous nasty letters accused the director of not being a "real" environmentalist (those are fightin' words, ya'll). some vegetarians even threatened to organize a boycott or protest. here is a letter to the editor printed by the sac bee, which we will provide for you, dear reader:

Bar meat vendors from Earth Day, Sacramento Bee 05/07/09
As an environmentalist and animal rights advocate, I was appalled to see meat vendors and very few veggie vendors at the recent Earth Day event in Sacramento. Earth Day is an opportunity for us to show our love and respect for the Earth and all its inhabitants, including animals. We celebrate Earth Day to remember our connection to the Earth and to develop a relationship to the Earth that is based on respect for all life, no matter what form it takes.

The Environmental Council of Sacramento, which planned Earth Day, should
not select meat vendors to participate in this event. I hope they will show greater sensitivity and awareness to the plight of animals on factory farms by allowing only veggie-friendly vendors at future Earth Day events. There are many veggie-friendly vendors in the Sacramento area that would be delighted to participate.
John Johnson, Sacramento

our response to john johnson, which for a coupla reasons, is not likely to get published by the bee

In response to John Johnson’s letter to the editor (“Bar meat vendors from Earth Day”): Dude. Give us a break.

Earth Day is about celebrating the Earth and all her inhabitants, yes. But it is also about learning how to live in a sustainable way on this planet, and minimizing our impact. Is there anything more natural and sustainable then eating from the entire local food chain? Say John, what’s the real cost of that tofu you eat, the stuff made with a government subsidized crop and trucked in from Colorado? 

With very few resources and an army of volunteers, The Environmental Council of Sacramento has done a fantastic job of reshaping what was an out-of-touch, largely white and middle class information snooze-athon into a diverse, young, and lively festival. We are so tired of vegetarians getting their organic hemp chonies in a bunch about meat at Sacramento Earth Day. There is nothing more bourgeois then forcing vegetarianism down our necks as part and parcel to being a “real” environmentalist.

John, your brand of environmentalism is dated, divisive, and out of touch with our *shared* reality on earth. Entertaining a narrow margin of the population with carrot sticks and hummus does not help generate an inclusive and inherently sustainable environmental movement. Let's get down with everyone: bike advocates who eat hamburgers, urban hipsters with a penchant for recycling, suburban victory gardenerslow class litter-bugs, and imperious vegetarians.

tough love,
coco loco

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