Rachel’s Adventures in Veganland: The Edible is Political
Note: The facts in the following post are gleaned from various films, documentaries and texts that I have seen in my own personal research into the food industry, feminism, and veganism. They are, however, paraphrased and put into my own words with my personal beliefs and opinions inserted throughout which is why I have left individual bits of information uncited. Please see the links at the bottom of the post for more information, or feel free to comment on this post or contact me if you have any questions or remarks.
Every time I look at my two cats, I’m reminded of some of the reasons that I’m vegan…
Recently, my partner wrote a fantastic article for a food justice website detailing her veganism and the impact it has had on her life. Seeing her go through the editing process for her piece has really gotten me to thinking about my own choices. I’ve created a page on this blog explaining my veganism, but I realized this past week that I’ve never actually posted about it. Watching Maddie write about her journey to veganism has made me reflect on my own journey ending in Veganland.
When I created this blog, I hoped to create something more than a visual document of my food. I wanted beautiful photos accompanied by recipes, thoughts, tips, and ideas that could serve as resources for other vegans. But I also wanted this blog to be political. Let me tell you what that means.
For me, food is political and politics are food. I don’t just mean the politics behind food i.e. what the FDA does and does not allow etc. I mean food as a personal form of protest and an assertion of my beliefs. Veganism isn’t just a way of life it’s a mindset and I’ve quickly discovered that my very existence is an act of defiance against larger systems that I don’t believe in or agree with. I am against the way in which living beings of all kinds are abused and marginalized by the commercial food industry.
I do not believe that an animal should die so that I can eat their flesh and I don’t believe they should be abused, fed foods (corn) that they are not biologically able to digest, killed cruelly, and processed, packaged and sold as objects of consumption. I also disagree with the conditions of workers in the food industry who are paid minimum wage for dangerous and gruesome work in industrial food processing plants. By being vegan I seek to defend the rights of the voiceless, and actively protest the larger systems that oppress them by voting with my dollar and purchasing products that I support ethically as well as monetarily.
So my veganism is political and I believe that it fits into a wider discourse surrounding the marginalization of oppressed groups. Feminism also seeks to give voices to the historically and culturally voiceless, advocating the rights of all peoples, and I believe all beings. I seek to apply what I’ve learned as a feminist artist, gender studies student, historian and art historian to my interest in food.
The human body is not biologically able to break down animal products at the rate that the average American eats them. I believe that just like gender (societal constructs of what is considered to be “feminine” versus “masculine” rather than sex which denotes biologically “male” or “female”), gender roles, and other forms of oppression meat consumption is a social construction. Not only do we as humans not need meat to survive, but it is actually a detriment rather than a benefit to our health as well as the health of other living beings.
This is what I believe, and this is why I’m vegan.
If there’s something I want you to take away from this post and it’s blog this to remember/realize that food is political. The choices you make from what you put into your body to where you buy it impact so much more than your taste buds. Please think before you buy, and please buy products and foods that you believe in and feel good about. So, that turns the table from me to you. I’m putting this literally onto you plate. What will you do?