Letter: Stop threats against local sustainability school

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Unfortunately, the horror has begun again. The vegans have raised their battle flags against Wild Abundance, Asheville’s local permaculture, natural-building and primitive-skills school. The abusive nightmare that we survived last fall with our newborn has returned with even more “fire and fury” [See “Let Live Coalition Vs. Wild Abundance: Vegan Activists Rally Against a Local Permaculture School,” Xpress online post, Nov. 23, 2016].

While on vacation on Oct. 11, we answered the phone to an aggressive middle-aged voice, “Hello you f***ing beast. You need your throat slit, don’t you, you and all your hippie friends.” That was followed by several calls of people asking if they could hire us for assassination attempts. In case you are wondering, Wild Abundance doesn’t have a relationship to Dick Cheney, Blackwater or any other privatized mercenary armies.

I am not going to list here all the profane, offensive and hateful name-calling that we experience through email and phone calls daily. Most of it is simply immature and annoying. Although it is scary when we answer phone calls in the middle of the night and hear nothing but creepy breathing noises. And it is disturbing and heartbreaking when people wish we get cancer or harmful diseases upon our 1-year-old. This must stop. Really. Please.

Food ethics is extremely complicated. There are so many choices and many unintended consequences of living on an overpopulated planet full of destructive industrial food practices. I am not interested in debating all the complexities of food ethics here. We believe people are going to eat meat, and it can be a sacred process. Omnivores deserve to have the opportunity to learn empowering DIY skills and experience a prayerful ritual context of how to take animal (and plant) life.

Just like last year, the class will go on. We will not succumb to bullying.

If you are a responsible, mature vegan, please consider focusing your energy toward obvious targets like factory farms and try calming down your more aggressive friends who might be harassing and threatening us.

If you are a local foodie, farmer, homesteader, or caring and proud citizen of WNC, please consider showing your support for Wild Abundance. We will be hosting a positive, empathic and educational counterprotest at the Vance Monument on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., in response to a series of public demonstrations against us.

— Frank Salzano
Wild Abundance


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11 thoughts on “Letter: Stop threats against local sustainability school

    • Lou

      I appreciate your opinion but MY opinion is that killing animals is wrong…period. A plant-based diet is best for humans AND the planet.

  1. Deplorable Infidel

    and how great it is that even Arby’s is now offering venison on their menu! fantastic idea!

    • Robert White

      You do know that venison is the mat of a deer? If you are talking about the gyros they use cute little lambs.

  2. K

    Ok, let’s stop blaming all vegans for harassing you. I know many vegans in town and I bet most of them have never heard of you at all. Whoever is doing this, has decided to target you and decided to use the vegan cause as their excuse. Please stop dragging all vegans into this like we’re some cult that all know each other and are out to get all meat-eaters.

  3. Robert White

    I’ve been coming to Asheville since the ’70’s and decided to stay the last time I came in 1998. As an African American I have been amazed at the lead ins to many conversations I have had with people of European descent. More often than not the conversation ends up on two topics. The first is what do you eat. The second is who do you sleep with in reference to sexual choice. How absurd and intrusive. I grew up watching my parents eat all kinds of things I thought were disgusting. Fortunately I did some research and found out why they ate pig parts and pig organs. It seems that during slavery that was the diet the sale owners thought were fitting for us who were less than human in their eyes. They threw us the scraps, the things they would not eat. As we sons and daughters of Africa are good at doing, we adapted. We figured out a way to make it palatable. Years later chitterlings or as we call them chitlins became a delicacy. Who would a thunk? Now we have this vegan versus meat eater battle going on. By and large most black people are not in the fight. Many of us still struggle to just eat and we don’t have the luxury of being so finicky about food. I have heard all the arguments about factory farms and I agree, they are horrible. But all meat is not raised that way and I’m still confused as how it’s anyone’s business what I eat when they don’t feed me or I’m not eating off their plate. So what do we do? Do we send all the chickens back to Asia where they originated? To we free all the cows to roam like they do in India? No sheep.No wool. Free thee goats and watch all vegetation disappear and then where do the poor goats go? Habitat destruction leaves them very few choices. No more leather shoes,coats etc. Wild horses and deer everywhere eating everything green. Domestic pigs become feral quickly and are dangerous. Imagine millions of free pigs tearing through your garden and attacking you with all your sensibilities.Remember there were millions of bison roaming where ever they wanted to go. Ever see a bison close? Imagine them on Biltmore Ave. They don’t like people.Bears will kill you and eat you vegan or carnivore.It may sound absurd to someone fixated on their diet of vegetation to speak of eating ethically raised meat but it is absurd to me that in 2017 we still have to fear our government. It’s absurd to me that after the double holocaust of the African slave trade and the slaughter of the Jewish people in Germany that we still have to fear the same mentality that created these horrendous events here in America. In my home there is a vegan,vegetarian and 3 omnivores. We don’t fight because we are family.Oh! My dog eats meat but she does love carrots. My thing is let’s worry about the possibility of nuclear war and what we can do to avoid it. If you are against the destruction of our planet ,I’m with you. Otherwise I’m from the ” mind your own business” school of thought. Life is a solitary journey played out in front of billions. You will die as will I. But it’s the in between that time that matters. Your diet will not change that and if eating meat will shorten mine, again, it’s not your business. Sure love animals and be kind to all things living or inanimate. Petroleum in our water.Toxic waste polluting the soil. People dying because of the color of their skin or who they love or how they love to me is much more important to the well being of humanity. That being said I’m going to go find my free ranging chickens and feed them some grain that someone killed when they harvested it. Yes killed or do you good vegan folks not know that plants have life,awareness and being? But you don’t give that much thought when you pull up some Kale. All vegans should read the Secret Life of Plants, If you do and you are not a hypocrite you will starve to death. For some strange reason life requires death to sustain life, Blame it on God, The Goddess or the Universe but that seems to be the way it is. Bon Apetit my friends.

  4. think critically

    The idea that small scale animal farming is better for the planet is a myth. Factory farming became widespread because it provides economy of scale. Here is a paragraph from the article below that lays this out, I hope those with open minds will give it a read.
    “Almost all forms of animal farming cause environmental damage, but none more so than keeping them outdoors. The reason is inefficiency. Grazing is not just slightly inefficient; it is stupendously wasteful. Roughly twice as much of the world’s surface is used for grazing as for growing crops, yet animals fed entirely on pasture produce just 1 gram out of the 81 g of protein consumed per person per day.”


  5. think critically

    Hi Robert,

    I hope you will give this a read.

    “Do you include an analysis of animal oppression or speciesism in your anti-racist work? Should we make justice for animals a central principle of Black Lives Matter movement? Aph Ko and Syl of Aphro-ism and Black Vegans Rock think so. In fact, from their perspective, it’s imperative that we do. As far these two black vegan powerhouses are concerned, anti-speciesism does not function apart from anti-racist activism. And your intellectual toolkit is incomplete without a radical re-imagination of “the animal.'”


  6. Stop Wild Abundance

    This letter is nothing more than a slanderous hit job against the vegan community. Instead of acknowledging that the majority of vegans are peaceful, and did not threaten Wild Abundance, the writer instead attempted to frame everyone who disagreed with his company as violent. Still, I do not doubt that he received threats. Sadly, in every single social justice movement, there have been a loud minority of activists that do not remain nonviolent and attempt to intimidate the opposition through tactics like threats. These few activists should be ashamed of themselves, and know that they do not represent the larger animal rights movement in Asheville. I have contacted several individuals that have sent threats, and asked that they join us in nonviolent protests and stop being aggressive towards Wild Abundance. We love all animals, sheep and humans alike, and find it unacceptable to use violence towards one species to prevent violence towards the other.

    However, these threats and harassment have not been one sided. Some Wild Abundance supporters have also threatened to slit my throat and made threats of gun violence against me for my role in this campaign. Last year, several armed Wild Abundance proponents threatened to use their firearms to stop our protests. It is hypocritical for Mr. Salzano to accuse us of harassment, when his supporters are just as guilty of it. I kindly ask both parties to refrain from aggressive behavior and keep this dialogue nonviolent.

    I am curious as to why Mr. Salzano was not willing to debate “food ethics” in his letter. If you are willing to so passionately defend something, you should be able to back up your claims. I’m willing to defend mine: Humans have no need for meat. It has been proven by the ADA (American Dietetic Association) that humans can thrive on a vegan diet in all stages of life. Meat consumption is detrimental to the environment and cruel to both people and animals. By framing the killing of these innocent sheep as “humane” and “ethical”, Wild Abundance is attempting to make class goers feel less guilty about killing animals. These are just words. Regardless of what terminology you use, you still cannot humanely kill a living being who does not want to die.

  7. Tina

    Hawks kills chicken. Or snake kills chicks that don’t want to die. Someone’s Dogs that kills chickens as well. Chicken will eat chickens that are dead if you don’t find them first.

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