addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Re: [vegetarian-515] some thoughts on the healing center.

From: Melissa B.
Sent on: Monday, August 22, 2011 12:23 PM
I have personally been heavily involved with the co-op for the past three months.  And I'll just say this: whatever the motives of the property owner may be, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the businesses within.  It's wrong to pass judgment on the multiple businesses there and make these broad generalizations.  The co-op chose this location (within the healing center) because there is nowhere else in that community for people to buy groceries.  It's not some hidden agenda.  I can't speak for the other businesses, but I can say that everyone I've spoken to at the Center is community-focused.  For anyone who doubts this, you should come to the Center this Sunday.  It's the grand opening and will be going on all day; you can come see everything that's opening there and decide for yourself.

Zack, the co-op carrying meat is a response to the demand from the immediate community in the St. Claude area.  It will be a very limited section.  You know I'm vegan and I also would prefer that it not be there, but to eliminate it would be alienating to the community that the co-op is trying to serve.  That's the truth of it, regardless of how we personally feel / what we personally believe and know.


On Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 11:57 AM, Erin L. <[address removed]> wrote:

I, for one, appreciate that you've started this conversation! Your e-mail was very informative and thought-provoking. I was actually already well into it before I realized I had just blogged about my excitement over the "Food Co-op" a few days ago. (Now that I have more in-depth information on it, consider my excitement officially dampened...)

Thank you for being a mover/shaker for justice and equality.

Anyone else have thoughts on the subject?

On Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 12:40 AM, 30 Days for Laboratory Animals <[address removed]> wrote:
Hi everyone --

The other day at the Hollygrove Market, I found myself in the midst of a debate with a woman about the implications of the Healing Center and its notorious co-chair Pres Kabacoff. Before I go any further, let me say that I don't wish to cause infighting within the NOLA veg community, or diss on the Food Co-Op or anyone working toward the accessibility of organic/raw/veg food alternatives. I simply wish to air a concern that gives me pause in extending support for what I'd say is the very dubious and insidious "mission" of The Healing Center.

As many are probably aware, Pres Kabacoff is one of the wealthiest developers in the city. Pre-Katrina, he was one of the main movers and shakers on the "restoration" of the St. Thomas projects, where the thousands of people who formerly lived there were essentially pushed out to make way for the "mixed income" (and what I must call horrid) apartment units now known as the "River Gardens." Additionally, he provided WalMart, no "sustainable" or ethical business by any stretch, with the contract to set up shop in that neighborhood. This redevelopment of low-income public housing essentially laid the groundwork for what post Katrina (you know, cause it's much easier to evict poor residents from public housing when they're displaced) would be the destruction of the "Big Four" public housing complexes -- an orchestrated urban development plan to basically ethnically cleanse the French Quarter-bordering "ghettos" of all poor black people whom tourists might not want to interact with.

I'm not here to mask any underlying premises, so I would like to let you know where I am coming from. I have been an active volunteer with the Iron Rail Book Collective since age 16; I am involved with a collective living space seeking to establish itself as a Land Trust to keep rent affordable for low-income Midcity residents; last year I undertook a month-long campaign to raise awareness about vivisection happening at Tulane; and I continuously try to lend my efforts to worthy grassroots organizing around town. Ideologically I support the mission to bring healthy food to New Orleans residents. We need that. New Orleans is a bit of a grocery void (well, anywhere not Uptown, anyway), and Co-Ops are obviously preferable to chain supermarkets. However, I'm torn as to whether to support what I see as something that will benefit the interests of rich developers like Pres Kabacoff and is destined to primarily serve, unfortunately, the more well-off residents of the neighborhood -- as the Healing Center, the planned vision of a kind of "French Market" on St. Claude (yuck!), and Pres's "Bywater Art" lofts will only further displace the poor with the continued gentrification of that area. I believe Pres Kabacoff's "greenwashing" of his image, using a noble enterprise like the Food Co-Op under his auspices, to be disingenuous at best. I am disgusted that Pres has invited the vigilante group the Guardian Angels to provide security for his building and given the corrupt NOPD their former headquarters back, encouraging even more of a police-state atmosphere in an area where the poor residents are struggling to not be dispossessed by gentrification. (Glad to see we can solve our problems holistically, you know...)

Obviously, this is a much bigger conversation. But I definitely think we need to begin having conversations about the role that people like Pres play in the disparate class divisions that exist in our city, how crime is a symptom of this poverty and economic racism, and our responsibility as conscious individuals in a predominantly white consumer movement to question what we're doing. Many of us have a coherent analysis of the ways in which corporate America forces a harmful paradigm upon our bodies and our earth; so why can't we also acknowledge privilege and class structures and begin to redefine our relationship to the developers, police, and politicians? My immersion into "food politics"  6 years ago was not simply a lifestyle choice so I could feel better; it was a process by which I began to examine all social conditioning -- how it's all part of a larger system of colonialism that is destroying lives and perpetuating an unjust world. I understand we all as individuals pick our battles. But I just hope that we don't overlook the egregious crimes of a man like Pres Kabacoff despite his ostensible support for worthy community initiatives, and I hope we can begin to question who are allies are...

 I'd also like to begin a dialogue, so if you feel you need correct or clarify points you think I may be missing or misconstruing, please do so!

Thank you for reading.



30 Days for Laboratory Animals | an ongoing project to remember the lives of animals inside research labs

Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
This message was sent by 30 Days for Laboratory Animals ([address removed]) from The New Orleans Vegetarian Meetup.
To learn more about 30 Days for Laboratory Animals, visit his/her member profile
To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here

Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] | [address removed]

Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
This message was sent by Erin L. ([address removed]) from The New Orleans Vegetarian Meetup.
To learn more about Erin L., visit his/her member profile

To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here

Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] | [address removed]

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy