[In response to “Help Protect the Planet with a Vegan Diet,” Oct. 3, Xpress], I believe looking at the bigger picture helps to clear misinformation. Only being a vegan does not help the environment; to do that, the food you eat has to be organic.
The pervasive use of chemical pesticides in industrial farming is poisoning our planet. Industrial agriculture involves huge monocultures; also, their systems depend on crude oil, including planting, harvesting, processing, packaging and transportation. Modern industrial agriculture destroys delicate ecosystems surrounding it, including topsoil, rivers and streams.
All people need to think about where their food comes from and what it does to the countries it originated in and is a staple in the diet of the people who live there and depend on it. A good example is quinoa in Peru; the seed is now more expensive than chicken or is plain not available to the locals who are used to it as a staple in their diet, thanks to the vegan boom. Mexico makes more money exporting avocadoes than petroleum; this is a huge factor in illegal deforestation.
These and many other reasons speak against plain going vegan and feeling great about it; it speaks for education, and mostly it speaks for going local.
Small meat and dairy farmers are not bad for the environment, at least not worse than the vegan who buys cashew–cheese from cashews that are harvested in Vietnam; there they are often the product of forced labor camps by people addicted to drugs and thus are called “blood cashews.”
Asheville does not need pro-vegan signs.
Asheville, and everybody else, needs to make people aware that consuming local and seasonal food is important for environment and health.
In my opinion, Asheville already tries hard to promote local farms, meats and vegetables in its restaurants and also with the Go Local card or the Dig Local campaign.
Thank you, Asheville, for already thinking outside the box.
— Susanne Aurich