Eating Vegan On The Cheap in Richmond
This was originally something I published as a zine. I just wanted to get the information out there more since I’ve almost run out of copies!
on the Cheap
Many folks I have talked to about veganism share a similar complaint/concern. They are worried about it being affordable.
And let’s be real- there are many ways that veganism is presented in a classist way.
I have a bunch of vegan cookbooks that call for ingredients that are just totally obscure. I’ve been vegan for 10 years and I’ve never used them. These sorts of cookbooks/recipes can make veganism seem really intimidating and inaccessible to folks.
Another reason veganism can seem classist is definitely the unchecked privilege often found amongst vegans. There are plenty of militant asshole white-dude vegans, for example, who give other people a hard time for not being vegan in shitty ways. These types of folks (though clearly not limited to just white dudes) give the rest of vegans a bad name.
There are some things about a vegan diet that can make it less accessible for low-income people. But there is also a ton of kind of urban legend/misconception type stuff around veganism. This isn’t going to be a total coverage of all info relating to these topics. This zine is for folks interested in eating vegan, and want to/ need to be able to do it on a low-income. I am totally into having these conversations with people though if you want! My contact info is at the end of the zine, let me know what concerns you!
First though, I do want to take a little bit to briefly touch on some of the (many) things that can make eating vegan difficult for folks.
“A food desert is a district with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet but often served by plenty of fast food restaurants.” wikipedia entry on food deserts. Check out more about the significant and intersectional issue here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert
Living in a food desert basically means in this context that it is a lot more difficult for people to access vegan food. There are all kinds of transportation and expenses related to accessing a real grocery store if you live in a food desert, and believe me, the corner store does not provide all of the things a vegan needs to survive.
If you are vegan, and have the ability, (or even if you aren’t vegan), you can take action to try to get more fresh produce and food into food deserts. Simply creating access where there wasn’t access before is both an act of vegan activism and social justice. You can organize a Food Not Bombs meal, or just produce distributions in neighborhoods where people lack access to healthy food. Talk to people to see where the need is, and what the community wants.
Time is Money:
Even when vegan food is affordable and accessible, there is the further complicating factor of whether or not someone can afford the time it can take to cook much of their own food. The convenience of fast food, prepared foods etc. which are mostly available in non-vegan forms is something that folks working multiple jobs, busy with families and kids, taking care of elders, going to school while working, etc. can understandably want to take advantage of. Folks who are low-income, or any of the things listed above, or other things not listed, often are already pretty stressed out, busy, and might not feel like they have the time or energy to make home-cooked meals all of the time. And home-cooked food is certainly one of the healthier, cheaper ways to eat a vegan diet.
There are plenty of other challenges, and I might go into them more in a later version of this zine. But I am a procrastinator, and I want to have resources to offer folks tomorrow- so I’m going to start into the ideas for how to deal with the challenges and difficulties of being vegan on a low income! (more…)