Changes on the Blog | Vote for the Blog’s New Name! | Last Vega Review

***Please scroll down to the middle of this post to vote for what you think the blog’s new name should be!***

Happy almost 2015, all! 2014 has certainly provided a whirlwind of a year, both personally and socio-politically (but aren’t they all intertwined, anyway?). I feel like I’ve experienced more personal growth since this past August than I ever have before in the same span of time, while I’ve heard many express the sentiment (and I do agree) that it feels like a pivotal moment in a broader social context.

Considering all of these much-needed shifts, I feel that now is the right time to change up my little corner of the blogosphere a bit. Farmers Market Vegan has drastically shifted directions since its launch in 2011: from a food-focused advocacy platform for vegan consumerism, to a much more politically minded and socially progressive (or, at least, trying to be…) collection of thought pieces that focus on challenging the oppressions perpetuated in the vegan/animal rights movements (still with some food because, hey, girl’s gotta eat).

The blog’s name, however, has remained the same. Yet I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with “Farmers Market Vegan” due to what I see as its tendency to center veganism at the heart of my politics and emphasize the mindset of “ethical buying practices” (which really don’t exist under capitalism and aren’t the point of veganism). Instead, I’d like a blog name that more accurately reflects how I conceptualize my politics today: as a never-ending practice of radical humility grounded in seeking an always imperfect understanding of interlocking oppressions including – for relevance to this conversation – speciesism, of which I see vegan consumption (distinct from vegan consumerism) as a necessary extension.

And I want your help! I want to know what resonates with you, what sort of name might help you to feel more comfortable interacting with the blog (especially engaging in dialogue by commenting, etc.), and so on. So I’ve crafted this funky little poll below in which I’d love for you to participate. I’ve suggested a couple ideas that I’ve brainstormed, but please don’t hesitate to suggest a completely different one. I’m planning on re-launching the blog under a new name in late January, so please get in your votes by then! A million thanks to you all in advance.

I don’t really know yet what this blog re-conceptualization will mean for the product reviews and giveaways I’ve featured on the blog in the past, and also what it will mean for my role as an Our Hen House employee (we feature a substantial number of product reviews, many of which I’ve done, and highlight vegan food quite often; this is not at all to say that I’m not still very committed to the organization). On the one hand, I most certainly want to de-center the consumerism that has overshadowed the anti-speciesism at the heart of vegan politics. On the other hand, I really like being able to offer free items of potential joy (i.e., cookbooks) and sustenance (i.e., ice creamto readers who might otherwise not be able or willing to shell out the cash for them. Not that these items are necessary in any way, of course, but hey, fruity tea tastes really damn good even if it ain’t doing the whole “abolish capitalism” mission any favors. I would love to hear your thoughts on this dilemma.

For now, I’ve already promised to publish two reviews and one giveaway on my blog in the next month. I don’t want to rescind the offer, but perhaps I’ll “even them out,” so to speak, with an upcoming post reflecting on the privileges and whiteness I’ve experienced in my time as a blogger. The first review, well, you’re about to read it!

Remember my review of the Vega line of products back in September? Well, those generous folks just kept sending me stuff, this time in the form of an array of samples of the new Vega One formula. The product that first popularized the Vega brand, Vega One is an animal-free protein powder packed with protein (duh), fiber, antioxidants, omega-3’s, probiotics, and greens available in a variety of fun flavors, like french vanilla, chocolate, berry, and vanilla chai.

Vega One Lid Label Image_1500x1500px

Recently, though, the Vega team developed a new Vega One formula that contains 33 percent more protein, two times more greens, and the same vegan/whole-foods/gluten-free/soy-free profile as the original Vega One. A fan of the taste, consistency, and nutritional capacities of Vega before, I certainly didn’t think that Vega needed to change up its products at all…but I’m also not one to refuse another helping or seven of kale. I suppose that my inability to detect much of a difference in the taste or texture of the new Vega One speaks to the impressive capabilities of the Vega team to maintain the integrity of their products even while adding/changing around the ingredients.

140910_VEGA_088

Just like the original Vega One, the new formula adds a pleasing full-bodied texture and sweet flavor to my morning smoothies, and actually tastes good when simply mixed with water or non-dairy milks for a quick protein shake (which I cannot say of many other supplement powders). The french vanilla flavor did taste a bit too sweet for my preferences when blended into a smoothie with bananas, berries, and kale, but I didn’t find it overwhelming when used as a powder/milk blend. The vanilla chai, though, worked phenomenally in a smoothie, imparting a lovely and unique flavor profile that I imagine would provide a wonderful base for more thematic smoothies (gingerbread or eggnog, anyone?). Shameless plug, but I also think that the vanilla chai would taste great in my Creamy Apple Spice Green Smoothie and Persimmon Green Smoothie, while the chocolate would lend itself well to my Blueberry Basil Smoothie.

Vega One Whole Food Ingredients_1500x1500px_US

If you’re looking to add a plant-based protein kick to your diet in more applications than just smoothies, though, the Vega website offers recipes for Vega One-enriched brownies, overnight oatmeal, dessert puddings and more.

So yay Vega tastes good, boo capitalism is bad, and thank you for reading my contradictory existential crisis of a post. Please remember to vote in the poll above!

In solidarity, Ali.

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4 thoughts on “Changes on the Blog | Vote for the Blog’s New Name! | Last Vega Review

  1. Elizabeth A. (@joyfulanarchist) says:

    I love the direction your blog is taking, you’re raising important questions, and challenging some important presuppositions. While I’m not vegan, I share many of your political commitments, in particular, your critiques of capitalism and “ethical consumerism.” My own critiques of animal agriculture and capital exploitation are rooted more in a Christian ideas of stewardship (which emphasizes human responsibility for the environment and other inhabitants of the planet) and love (which operates as a check on “freedom”) so it’s inherently species-ist.

    That said, I appreciate your dilemma – as Zizek is fond of saying, it’s easier for most people to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism, that’s the extent to which neoliberalism has captured our very capacity to think. So those of us engaged in imagining alternatives have our work cut out for us. The problem is, we anti-capitalists (or vegans, or Christians, or whatever epistemological designation we prefer) inhabit a capitalist world, in which we have to survive somehow. Etienne Balibar distinguishes between “communism” (which doesn’t exist, and has never existed) and “communists” (of which there are many) and the impossibility of extrapolating between the two, because every communist will make different compromises with capitalism. We can extricate ourselves only so much – the more conscious we are, the more we succeed, in avoiding the language of the marketplace in describing social relations, for example – but we won’t succeed completely, so it doesn’t diminish your message if you support your local farmers’ market or a company like Vega (I don’t support it because I do think there are cheaper just as good vegan proteins, even if they don’t mix as nicely in water).

    I think you could keep “Farmers Market Vegan” and still explore some of the dilemmas you’re aiming to explore with integrity, because you are not going to be able to stop consuming any time in your life time. You can explore the inevitable hypocrisy that goes with living in a capitalist economy, a world dominated by the interests of capital, etc. But if it’s really not sitting well with you, what about “Being Vegan” which I think allows you to foreground the existential aspects of veganism over the consumerist, while still talking about things like “choice” (which some of us can – and must therefore – exercise) and all the underpinnings of “freedom,” especially freedom in absence of ethical demand (a la capitalist freedom).

    • Ali Seiter says:

      Hi, Elizabeth! Thanks so much for your super informative comment and support of my blog. I completely agree–changing the name of my blog won’t in and of itself challenge the capitalist structures under which we operate, nor will it increase the legitimacy of my message (just as veganism in and of itself won’t dismantle speciesism). However, just as sticking to vegan consumption habits allows me to more fully inhabit an anti-speciesist politics, I feel that changing the name of my blog will allow me to more fully grow my blog into the direction I see fit, without being distracted by a title my heart is no longer completely behind, if that makes sense?

  2. raechel says:

    I love your blog so much, and love how much you think about the relationship between veganism and capitalism. I voted for Rosemary & Revolution, but Chickpeas & Change was my second choice. : )

    As for the consumption stuff: After a few years in my 20s trying to practice more of an anarchist, opt-out, DIY, anti-consumerism ethic, I have changed my views considerably on consumerism. Although it is admirable to not participate in gross consumer habits and although it is super important to make clear that real ethical consumption doesn’t exist in global capitalism, the real struggle rests in the labor and production, not the consumption. Even outside of my politics, by both choice and necessity, I am not a very material person–(I’m obsessed with de-cluttering, very minimalist, and am also not financially stable enough to buy a lot of things!), but I have come to realize that it doesn’t actually matter that much. I think that’s what Elizabeth was motioning to—assuming our individual consumption habits can do anything to challenge capitalism is a neoliberal idea. I don’t think it’s useless to buy fair trade products, nor do I think it’s meaningless that I don’t buy animal products, but as you know, what those buying habits do is invite more products, not less. What I’ve come to realize now, as a Marxist, it only really matters to not buy things if there is a call to not buy it/support it/shop at it/etc. *from the workers.* I support worker-led boycotts, and other than that, I buy things that are good on my conscience, while fully knowing it doesn’t make much difference outside of me feeling good. So, again, I think i’m agreeing with the above comment—*not* doing product reviews won’t challenge capitalism. And doing product reviews doesn’t make you a bad activist, at least not from a Marxist perspective. : )

    • Ali Seiter says:

      Mmm, thank you for all of this, Raechel, especially the point that boycotts called for by workers can still have real value. I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate the insight you provide in your comments (and your own blog, which I ADORE).

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