Vegetarians often say that they chose vegetarian diet for health, or animal welfare, that the decision was personal or influenced by a loved one, or that their vegetarian lifestyle is a by-product of their faith.
People may make decisions about their lives unilaterally, but never in a vacuum, because our choices impact society and the world as a whole.
Veggie Revolution, by Sally Kneidel, activist and Sara Kate Kneidel, vegetarian cook, is a new book about an old subject, ignored by most other books on vegetarian diet: the connection between vegetarianism, social activism and the environment.
Like Pierre-François Bouchard's Rosetta Stone, which revealed the connection between two ancient languages, Veggie Revolution illustrates the two languages of vegetarianism and socio-economics, revealing their interconnected meaning; that to preserve the natural environment man and animal have to return to the principles of good animal husbandry and sensible farming practices.
The authors visit factory farms and small family operated organic farms to witness for themselves the evolution of today's giant corporate farming machines. The comparison is a stunning revelation about modern farming technology, corporate indifference to anything but profit and the revolution of organic farming.
Veggie Revolution is also a cookbook, or perhaps that should be 'book that cooks.' The lessons revealed about the nature of man and his food to the natural order of things are practical nourishment for the soul.
There is more here to digest than just some wonderful vegetarian recipes interwoven with social commentary. The book can, and ought to be, read and reread as a manifesto for eco-environmental preservation.
The lessons revealed about the nature of man and his food to the natural order of things are practical nourishment for the soul.
Whether you are a vegetarian, meat eater, organic or non this book in simple terms and with great honesty provides you with informed observation and lets you come away with your own personal solution to environmental stewardship and the Veggie Revolution.
Sally Kneidel, Ph.D., is a biologist, journalist, photographer, and parent of two college-age young adults. She has taught biology and writing in colleges and public schools for more than 15 years, and with her husband teaches tropical ecology on student trips to the rain forests of Costa Rica.
She is particularly interested in issues related to the impact of our growing population on wildlife and habitat. While her first nine books deal strictly with zoology and botany, Veggie Revolution is her first examination of how human behavior and social responsibility affect the natural environment.
Sara Kate Kneidel, activist, feminist, and Quaker, earned a B.A. in Spanish and women's studies from Guilford College in 2005, with a minor in field biology. She worked as a vegetarian cook for three years, then planned and pulled together a communal vegetarian household for herself and friends, centered around a 'food ethics' theme.
After a stint as coordinator for a community-development program in Mexico, she recently returned from traveling in Spain and West Africa. Writing, she believes, is an effective means of raising public awareness of political issues and social concerns. Veggie Revolution is her first book.
Harlan Weikle, Managing Editor, Greener Magazine
Ruth is deluged with complaints and requests from parents, so many that she can't read them all. Typical complaints from parents include:
'Why can't you serve pizza every day?' 'My child wants chicken nuggets every day, why aren't they always available?'
The parents who complain most are the parents whose kids have the worst eating habits. Ruth refuses to serve pizza, French fries, and chicken nuggets every day, even though some students and parents clamor for them, especially the middle-schoolers. Students in this age group have the worst diets of all the kids she serves. A typical lunch for a middle-schooler is pepperoni pizza, French fries, potato chips, and soda.
'A child's choices start at home,' Ruth said emphatically. 'Parents need to educate them about why they don't need French fries.'
'We feed a lot of visiting parents here in the cafeteria. And the kids are carbon copies of their parents. If the parents have good eating habits, their kids do too. If the parents make poor choices, their kids do too.'
'I educated my own children by giving them a wide variety of foods starting as soon as they could eat finger foods,' Ruth continued. 'Encourage them to try a variety, but not by saying 'because I said so' or 'because it's good for you.' Instead, let them help in the kitchen. Help them to develop a sense of accomplishment. Being able to say 'I did it myself' creates good self-esteem.'
'As soon as my kids were old enough to sit on the counter, I let them toss the salad or cut the meat. It's a way of spending quality time together. I have given both of my children their own cooking utensils and measuring cups, to help them feel in charge in the kitchen, to help them become educated and capable food consumers.'Veggie Revolution Recipe, Greek Tofu Salad.