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Lauren Ornelas: Food is Power

Species Unite 18 June 2020 163

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Lauren Ornelas is the founder and the executive director of the Food Empowerment Project, a nonprofit food justice organization that spotlights the abuse of animals on farms, unfair working conditions for produce workers, and the unavailability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas.

She and I spoke earlier in the pandemic. She had just written an article on Medium called, We Are All Connected. It was written back in April, but it could not be more relevant now, with the demonstrations in our streets calling out systemic racism.

“As many of us know, COVID-19 has just proven what we know: that racism and inequalities that exist for Black, Indigenous, and Brown people in this country are a barrier to success and living healthy lives. Our communities have been losing lives due to police violence, lack of health care, lack of healthy food, lack of clean drinking water, environmental racism, lack of living wages, and the list goes on; however, what makes COVID-19 even more dangerous is that these problems still exist and in some ways are exacerbated.”  – Lauren Ornelas, We Are All Connected

Lauren has spent her entire life on the front lines fighting for human and animal rights. She went vegan and became an activist in the 80s, later she founded and ran the animal right’s organization, Viva USA, and in 2007, she started The Food Empowerment Project, an organization that operates from the understanding that we are indeed all connected, humans, animals, and the planet and thus, it only makes sense to fight for the whole package.

Later, in that same Medium piece, she writes, “…but I am more determined than ever that we must truly fight the systems that have a role in how we got here.” And that is exactly what Lauren and the Food Empowerment Project are doing.

Species Unite is a podcast focused on those who fight the good fight on behalf of animals around the globe. It's a collection of the stories of the people who are healing the world one creature at a time.

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