Saturday, March 19, 2011

Krissi Vegan Action - About Life, Punk rock, Veganism, etc...

If you've read Slug & Lettuce zine, you are probably aware about Krissi - the vegan activists in charged with "Vegan Action" column in S&L where anti-authoritarian / punk ideology and veganism / animal rights meet. As far as i know, Krissi is one f the pioneer (correct me if i'm wrong) of nonprofit organization animal rights group called Vegan Action, a Richmond, Virginia-based group dedicated to helping animals, environment, and human health through educating the public regarding the importance and benefits of a cruelty-free lifestyle. n addition to organizing public outreach campaigns, Krissi is also a punk mom and busy on raising vegan kids. Here’s that interview. (this interview was done couple of years back.. )

TOGC: Hi Krissi, introduce yourself and what are your activities in the scene?

Krissi- Krissi Vandenberg, 33 years old, momma of a 9 month old baby named arrow, I work for vegan action and go to graduate school for sociology for the most part I go to shows and have vegan action tables at shows and local events. I also helped organize Lady Fest Richmond last year. I try to be a vegan inspiration for people in the scene. It’s good to see someone that is 33 and still holding true.

TOGC: Could you please share to us how’s life their in Richmond. I've red in Slug N' Lettuce that you guys have a very active punk scene there. 

Krissi- Richmond is an interesting little city. It is the southern capital still holding on to a lot of outdated ideas but it has a blooming music and art scene at the same time. so, I can walk to the market and see people I know and still get to see some good shows in town. We have a college here that attracts a lot of folks and helps keep the political groups, artists, and musicians well populated. We also have a decent amount of activists for the size of the city. We have a strong pro-choice movement going as well as a political info shop, a queer run space, and a very successful food not bombs program. Vegan action is very supported in the scene although vegans are becoming fewer and fewer for some reason. Most of the time folks make vegan food for events because they do believe it is the best option even if they are not vegan themselves.

TOGC: What kind/style of music you are into? How/where do you get a record and what is you’re favorite record?
Krissi- I like all music except for new country. Yes, I even like gospel. We have a great little record store in town that has a great selection, especially for vinyl. That’s where I get most of my music. I’ve been known to buy one or two from e-bay. I can name my five favorite albums: Jawbreaker - 24 Revenge Therapy, Propagandhi - Less Talk, More Rock , Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane over the Sea , Fugazi - First album (self titled) , and Sleater-Kinney - Call the Doctor

TOGC: Are you a sXe? If you are, into what extent?

 Krissi- nope, not straight-edge.

TOGC:  In your column in SNL, most of your writings are about in the scene, instead veganism. Why?

Krissi- well, I like to mix it up and I don't like to preach. I like to offer information about veganism but within a context that folks can relate to. Veganism is a lifestyle, it's not just about what you eat or wear. The scene is a part of veganism and veganism is a part of the scene.

TOGC:  What sort of feedback do you receive? How do you feel about it?

Krissi- I have only had positive feedback about my column, I’m happy to say. I have had some folks question things I’ve said or opinions I’ve taken but that is a good thing. I like to debate, I like to hear other people's ideas and opinions. That’s the best way to learn and better understand ourselves.

TOGC: How often do you receive insults and criticism (unconstructive and mostly talking shit about you) about  about your lifestyle? Have you been in a fight because someone’s insult you?
Krissi- I rarely have been insulted or criticized. I’ve been teased and I’ve heard the same bad jokes for a really long time. But no, I’ve never fought about it. If someone tries to pick a verbal fight about it I just walk away because I realize it is not worth my time. I would rather spend my time being positive and talking to people who are open and truly interested. I’ve never felt that I needed to physically defend my beliefs or lifestyle. I’m all about being non-violent.

TOGC: About veganism, when did you start practicing it? Who introduce you to that lifestyle/idea?

Krissi- I became vegetarian in high school and vegan in 1994. I had been reading books and pamphlets about food choices and I was initially inspired to become vegan by a friend here in Richmond from a band Four Walls Falling. My boyfriend was in the band and hanging out with Tyler really helped me become vegan and know what and how to eat. Sadly, he is no longer vegan (it broke my heart to find that out a few years ago).

TOGC:  Who teach you how to cook? Can you share to us your top 3 favorite recipe?

Krissi- i have lived with a lot of great vegan cooks in the last ten years which has really helped me out tremendously. i think learning how to make nutritional yeast cheese has been the most exciting food item for me as well as making kick ass vegan desserts. my three favorite things to make right now are:

Nutritional yeast cheese:
/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. water 1/4 c. margarine

1 tsp. wet mustard 2 tbsp. soy sauce.

Mix dry ingredients in a sauce pan. Whisk in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick and bubbling. Remove from heat and whip in the rest of the ingredients. It will thicken as it cools.

Lentil Dhal:
3 tbsp oil 1 chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves 2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup green lentils 1/2 cup red lentils
2 cups water salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Mix in the spices and ginger with a little of the water in the pan. Add the rest of the water and the lentils and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Peanut butter balls:
1 cup peanut butter 1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup margarine 1 pound of confectioners sugar
2 cups crushed graham crackers.

Mix peanut butter, margarine, sugar and graham crackers together and roll into balls. Melt the chocolate chips by double boiling and pour over the peanut butter balls. Serve chilled.

TOGC:  Do you plant your own veggies? Do you have a garden or farm? Is it organic or what?

Krissi- Yes, I do have a nice little organic farm. In my front yard I have cucumbers and broccoli as well as a lot of herbs and in the back yard I have tomatoes, okra and yellow squash. It is so rewarding to grow your own food if you have the space. It is really awesome to give people food that you have grown yourself from seeds.

TOGC:  Can you tell us something about the animal right/liberation movement in the Virginia?

Krissi- It waxes and wanes. Animal rights used to be more of a priority in the mid-nineties but now most everyone has dropped it and focuses just on human issues. It makes me sad but there are still a good handful of us keeping things together and still making things happen. We still have hope that activists will see that all efforts for equality and happiness are connected.

TOGC:  What is the most unforgettable experience do you have during protest?

Krissi- one of the most amazing experiences was protesting the circus many years ago and a woman who had a ticket to go to the circus decided not to go and even grabbed a sign and joined the protest, that was bad ass.

TOGC: Speaking of protest or should I say direct action, have you bombed some slaughter houses or threw a bricks in at the glass window of McDonalds, burger king and the likes? What can you say to those people who do that?

Krissi- I cannot answer that but I do suggest that folks focus on converting people to veganism instead of focusing on direct action. I am a supporter of liberation but as long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. That is why we have got to get rid of the demand for animals as products buy educating people to do the right thing and become vegan.

TOGC:  Any thoughts you'd like to share on the state of the world today.... with wars, terrorism treats, poverty and environmental issues?

Krissi- I just keep reminding myself not to give up. Looking at the world today and all of the atrocities and injustices going on, it is hard to keep working towards a better future. it is really hard to have faith in humanity when there are people in power making such horrific decisions that affect the lives of so many innocent people. I just keep thinking about working toward a true democracy and sharing a world with people in a positive and caring way. We have a long way to go but I just refuse to give up. I have a tattoo that says "hope" as a daily reminder.

TOGC:  Favorite animal rights slogan.

Krissi- Human freedom, animal rights, all part of the same fight!

TOGC:  Your favorite cartoon characters beside from bugs the vegan bunny.

Krissi- Stewie, from The Family Guy.

TOGC:  The last question, if you are a vegetable what kind of vegetable you are and why?

Krissi- An eggplant. They have an awesome color, shape, and are shiny and a little bit toxic.

TOGC:  I think this interview long enough, thank you very much for answering this, now you can say whatever you want to… Thanks again Krissi, and VIVA-LA VEGAN!!!

Krissi- thanx xoox

*for Animals *for the Environment *for our Health
Vegan Action/Vegan Awareness Foundation
P.O. Box 4288
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone (804) 502-8736
Fax (804) 254-8346

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