Pamela Rice, 10th Annual Veggie Pride Parade

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pamela9922Pamela Rice is the author of the popular pamphlet “101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian,” now enjoying its 25-year anniversary. Long known as “the mighty convincer,” “101 Reasons…” is also available in book form from Lantern Books. Ms. Rice is the publisher of the erstwhile “The VivaVine” and is the organizer of numerous veg-events, including the annual Veggie Pride Parade and post-parade rally/expo in New York City, soon to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Pamela also ran the Veggie Center of New York City for 16 years. She’s answered a mini-mountain of mail and has taken many thousands of phone calls over the years from inquisitive people about the vegan lifestyle. Much of the snail mail she received is now bound up in decorative notebooks. Pamela calls these her Ephemera Project.

Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dieticians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.
TRANSCRIPTION:

Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody, I’m back. Yes, that’s right, I’m back. That was a quick break. And, now, I want to bring on my second guest. Very, very excited about this because this is a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious super person. Pamela Rice is joining me in the second part of this program. I heard a little giggle by Pamela. She is the author of 101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian, now enjoying its 25th year anniversary. Long know as the “mighty convincer,” 101 Reasons is also available in book form from the wonderful Lantern books publishing company. We love them. Ms. Rice is the publisher of the erstwhile “The VivaVine” and is the organizer of numerous veg-events, including the annual Veggie Pride Parade and post-parade rally/expo in New York City, soon to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Pamela also ran the Veggie Center of New York City for 16 years. She’s answered a mini-mountain of mail and has taken many thousands of phone calls over the years from inquisitive people about the vegan lifestyle. Much of the snail mail she received is now bound up in decorative notebooks. Pamela calls these her Ephemera Project. Hi Pamela.

Pamela Rice: Hi Caryn!

Caryn Hartglass: I don’t why, I must have thought this before, but your last name is an appropriate name for a vegan.

Pamela Rice: I guess it is.

Caryn Hartglass: Do you like rice?

Pamela Rice: Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: I kind of moved to the colorful black and red rices lately.

Pamela Rice: Absolutely. Well, nothing like take-out. That’s how I mostly get my rice to tell you the truth.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, fortunately, where we live, there’s a lot of Chinese places that offer a lot of rice and more of those fast food take-out Chinese places offer brown rice these days. So you can make some pretty informed, healthy choices no matter where you are.

Pamela Rice: Absolutely, absolutely, it’s not always the sauce. Speaking of sauces, that’s the killer. That’s where, with take-out, can be your downfall. So it is better to cook yourself. No question about it. You can keep that fat to a minimum.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, I remember, who was it, who made recommendations about if you’re going to buy take-out from Chinese restaurants, for example, get the sauce on the side, and then when you eat it, you don’t have to use all of it. You can use a little of it. A little goes a long way.

Pamela Rice: Take it home.

Caryn Hartglass: And use it for a long time.

Pamela Rice: Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s not too good. Okay, well anyway, Pamela, you are one of the four people (instead of forefathers).

Pamela Rice: Wow!

Caryn Hartglass: One of the four persons in this vegan movement. You have been there for so long, creating these double-sided pieces of paper called the “100 Reasons” that ultimately became a book. And, you probably have no idea how many people you’ve reached or, or maybe you do have an idea.

Pamela Rice: Well, no I don’t, I don’t really have any number. There are about 225,000 that were actually printed. Ink on paper. And all, but about, at this point, about 7 cases that I still have left to fulfill orders, all but those all got out there. A lot of people photocopied them.

Caryn Hartglass: Exactly, that’s what I was going to say.

Pamela Rice: I wasn’t always happy about that (laughing). I was happy about that.

Caryn Hartglass: Of course you were! People had to spread this information.

Pamela Rice: I saw a lot of photocopies and then, of course, it’s online. It has been online since the 90s. I was lucky enough to run into a couple of people who turned me onto something called the Internet! And they said, “you need to get this up online” and I go “hmm, alright, give it away free? Yeah, okay, no problem.” Anyways, it’s been up there since the mid-90s so, that’s a long time too.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s a long time. We’ve been doing this a long time.

Pamela Rice: The early editions in fact. I’m looking here on the most recent one, it’s the 9th edition, so I would change things up a lot. So, you really, it’s really more like a 1000 reasons at this point because of all the new reasons that got plugged in. And this most recent one is almost completely new. So, I actually just throw out old reasons and put in new ones, but it’s always 101 reasons.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmm, okay. Well, people can only digest so much in a small amount of time. It can be overwhelming. But I think the bottom line,

Pamela Rice: That’s why these are all in sound bite form.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes.

Pamela Rice: Each one of these are like 90 words, each one, and the message, the way I wrote it was extremely succinct. Not one word is superfluous because I felt I had to fit a lot on the page and, so, right to the point.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah so now we’re at 140 character tweets.

Pamela Rice: I’m not a big tweeter, but I do it, I do it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, it’s time to tweet.

Pamela Rice: We have a twitter for Veggie Pride Parade. We have about 1500 people there.

Caryn Hartglass: Very good, well I linked to you today in my tweet for this show.

Pamela Rice: Oh boy, I will retweet.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, please, love and retweet. Let’s just keep going back at each other. Let’s talk about the 10th-year of the Veggie Pride Parade. Wooohoooo!

Pamela Rice: Yeah, I’m just about as dumbfounded about that fact as anyone.

Caryn Hartglass: 10 years!

Pamela Rice: Yeah

Caryn Hartglass: Now, let’s talk about putting on an event, okay? No one has any idea, unless they’ve done it,

Pamela Rice: like you have

Caryn Hartglass: Like I have for 5 years (The Taste of Health at Lincoln Center) which was probably, I want to, I mean I don’t know, but, at the time, it was probably the largest vegan event anywhere and an amazing thing. And I have no idea how I did it and I would never want to do it again.

Pamela Rice: Well you’ve got to, just, the big thing is, when you do these things, is when somebody says jump, like the city, the Parks Department, they need a piece of paper, they need a notarized document and they need it today and you just have to get used to dropping everything and doing that one thing. And if you’re not prepared to do that, then you better find another occupation.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, but that’s just the beginning. And dealing with the Parks Department is not the easiest thing. I don’t know if it’s gotten any easier over the years.

Pamela Rice: They tend to add more red tape every single year. If I had kept a diary, I really believe that absolutely every single year they added something. The first year it was underground. They didn’t ask for anything. They didn’t ask for a bond, they didn’t ask for insurance…

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Pamela Rice: …they didn’t ask for anything. And, then, as the years went by, there was always something added. Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so we’ve got the 10th coming up on April 2nd.

Pamela Rice: Sunday, this Sunday.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my god, it’s Sunday! And, how is the weather looking? Because the last few years, the weather has been just chilling.

Pamela Rice: Yeah, the weather, that’s a sore point with me. I mean, it’s an outdoor event and I think a lot of people just didn’t get that fact. We’re outdoors and we’re outdoors for a reason because I would say the A, number 1, top, numero uno reason for the whole event is visibility and viability. The two V’s.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m with you on that.

Pamela Rice: And if you want an indoor event, that’s fine. Have a conference and you can do everything indoors. Unfortunately, you are not visible there. People have to seek you out. They don’t happen upon you. So, we’re at the North end of Union Square Park, which is an extremely well visited place by people. I mean, there are many many people that come through. So, they see us! And they see us on the street. And what I have seen over the years is that there are more and more Iphones and Samsung phones pointed at us throughout the parade. I mean, the most recent one, was just a whole bank of people. And those people, let’s hope they are posting those videos and those photographs to their own social media.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I think it takes a lot of courage to find out about changing your lifestyle, which includes what you eat, especially as you get older. And to find out the information and seek it out, it takes courage. So to have an event that is in a public place where you can just casually stroll through, you don’t have to make any commitments, just kind of pick up some information, can be very profound.

Pamela Rice: Well that’s where the viability thing comes in.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s why I agree that it’s important to have these outdoor, free events.

Pamela Rice: You asked, you just walk down an avenue in New York and you just grab a person and say, “what do you think about veganism or vegetarianism?” and they will just, what will come out of their mouth will be very typical opinions, attitudes, and they will say that “I’d be afraid to become a vegan or vegetarian” because there’s so much propaganda on the other side. So that’s where we have to say, another thing that we’re showing is our vegan culture and that we have something behind us so that people will sit up and listen or sit up and take a look and say “hey, look at all those people over there. They’re advocating for a lifestyle that I thought would make me drop dead in two weeks if I adopted it.” So, we’re just trying to change the attitudes. It can be demoralizing at times when you think about all the propaganda against us.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, but we’re winning and we’re growing in numbers and the vegan word is now firmly planted in mainstream vocabulary in so many ways. And people are finding ways to profit from vegan products and that’s one important way to build the movement: making money from it. Let’s talk about who’s going to be at the parade, the rally, the expo, who the speakers are and who’s exhibiting, and what can we expect at the event.

Pamela Rice: Oh wow. Well, I couldn’t even begin to list it. I’m going to be posting, by the way, the PDF for the program guide probably in a couple days, probably Thursday evening. So people can really see everything. We’ve got you, of course, Caryn Hartglass, you’re a speaker and an exhibitor with…

Caryn Hartglass: I love hearing her speak!

Pamela Rice: I love hearing her speak. She’s the best. No question about it.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m just looking forward to good weather because the last few times I talked, I was bundled up in one of my giant coats. It’ll just be a little liberating if I’m not weighed down by so many layers.

Pamela Rice: Yeah, that’s that old weather thing. Well we had the Women’s March January 21st and nobody said a boo about the weather that day. I mean it was a pretty nice day.

Caryn Hartglass: And I was just at the rally for women’s rights in Forest Hills in my neighborhood in Queens on Sunday. It wasn’t supposed to rain and all of a sudden it was raining on us. It was cold, nobody was dressed right.

Pamela Rice: Did anybody complain about the weather?

Caryn Hartglass: Well people were mentioning it, but I was fired up. And this is the value of this kind of live event because I was fired up by listening to all of my local leaders speaking and saying what I wanted to hear. And I just felt like “yes, yes we can!”

Pamela Rice: We vegans should, to use a bad phrase perhaps, “man up” – up against this weather thing. Anyway, we need to demonstrate, we need to get out there and be seen. All right, so we’ve got Vance Lehmkuhl.

Caryn Hartglass: I love him! Is this his first time at the Veggie Pride Parade?

Pamela Rice: He’s going to be there this year.

Caryn Hartglass: Has he been there before?

Pamela Rice: No, he’s a new guy. Vegan and he’s the food writer and columnist from the Daily News.

Caryn Hartglass: And he’s funny! He’s witty and smart.

Pamela Rice: I love him.

Caryn Hartglass: Yup.

Pamela Rice: And mainstay Karen Davis who’s been there every single year. And we have Marisa Miller Wolfson who is the writer and director of Vegucated.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh great!

Pamela Rice: You bet, you bet. And all these are confirmed. Clifton Roberts who actually lives in California.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Pamela Rice: He was the first ever candidate for President of the United States on the Humane Party.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow, excellent. What is he going to be talking about? Politics?

Pamela Rice: I don’t care. I’m just glad he’s there.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s great.

Pamela Rice: And Mary Finelli who I love is…

Caryn Hartglass: Fish Feel!

Pamela Rice: President. Fish Feel!

Caryn Hartglass: I first discovered her at the Veggie Pride Parade last year! I wouldn’t have known about her if she wasn’t speaking there.

Pamela Rice: She really gives a nice talk, she gets right to the point and she just lays out the points and it’s just too much truth. Her issue is gigantic.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, one of the things that I love about the Veggie Pride Parade is the free samples and some of the food. Now, there are a lot of Parks Department rules and we can’t sell food and the food thing has to be packaged and prepared.

Pamela Rice: We can sell food, we can. That’s one of the things that changed with the park.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh good! You can sell food.

Pamela Rice: But the only one who is going to legally do it is V-Spot. So then a lot people are just going to give out different things: chips and health bars. And in that category we have Kuli Kuli Foods. You probably never heard of them,

Caryn Hartglass: No

Pamela Rice: but you’re going to find out about them. They’re a vegan food vendor like you’re talking about where people are discovering that there’s money in veganism and they’re going to be a great example of that. They partner with people. They do do-gooder stuff, you’ll see. So we have religious organizations and then the big kingpins like Healthy Planet, Bob DiBenedetto and American Vegan Society, Vegetarian Resource Group, and, of course, United Poultry Concerns with Karen Davis.

Caryn Hartglass: So there’ll be opportunities to pick up literature, there’ll be books and lots of information and a great place to just go and hang out and either get some food from somewhere and listen to the speakers because you’ll have a space, almost like a little theater. It’s outdoors, of course, but people can sit and listen. Let’s talk about the parade. Where does it start and where do you go?

Pamela Rice: Oh, yes

Caryn Hartglass: And what do people do during the parade?

Pamela Rice: Well we trust everybody that they’re going to have a signboard that is on topic. It, for the most part, has worked save one of two over all these years. It starts, lineup is at 11AM again Sunday, April 2nd at 9th Avenue and Gansevoort Street.

Caryn Hartglass: Where’s that?

Pamela Rice: And that is in the Old Meat District.

Caryn Hartglass: Is that near the highline?

Pamela Rice: It is! Very nearby.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I remember near Gansevoort Street.

Pamela Rice: And very near the Standard Hotel, which you’re familiar with.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, that’s a fun space. Actually, the former meatpacking district.

Pamela Rice: It is, so that was a bit of a gimmick, trying to get the media to use that as a hook or a lead to a story, but the mainstream media’s been very disappointing to us. They came out the first year (2008) and we more or less haven’t seen them since. They saw our signboards and they say, “wow, this is a very important, these people are serious, these people have important issues” so they ski dazzled right out of town real fast.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, this is a hard sell, as we know, for many people who haven’t had the veil lifted that many people.

Pamela Rice: Yeah, but don’t get me started about the mainstream media.

Caryn Hartglass: No! I want to get started! Let’s talk about the mainstream media.

Pamela Rice: Well…

Caryn Hartglass: I mean that’s one reason Progressive Radio Network is here- because of the mainstream media. We can’t get the truth; we can’t get what we need to hear from the mainstream.

Pamela Rice: Absolutely. They’ve fallen down on their job and what’s happened is that with the new technologies, just individuals can, they just have to open their eyes and they see things that make sense to them, to us, and we’re broadcasting, we’re on YouTube or Twitter and everybody. We’re just bypassing the mainstream media and they don’t like it. I can see that.

Caryn Hartglass: Hey, you know what makes the mainstream media?

Pamela Rice: What?

Caryn Hartglass: Stories like the By Chloe Food Chain. So Chloe Coscarelli is an adorable chef who was the first vegan to win one of the Food Network shows. She won the vegan cupcake wars. I mean the Cupcake Wars with vegan cupcakes. That kind of launched her notoriety and now she has a chain of vegan food restaurants called By Chloe.

Pamela Rice: I’m very familiar with it. I’m very familiar with it. And like I mentioned when we were speaking before, I know one of the primary financers of her and as far as I know, he’s not a vegetarian or vegan, but I have had conversations with him and all he talks about is how unbelievably lucrative and successful that chain is.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay

Pamela Rice: And that he’s opening new places and this and that.

Caryn Hartglass: So that’s great. So why is it that the major investor or partner in this restaurant chain wanted to add non-vegan foods?

Pamela Rice: That’s a wonderful, that’s a rhetorical question I think,

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah and so she was in some kind of legal dispute and recently it was settled and she’s out. By Chloe is separated from Chloe Coscarelli, the namesake.

Pamela Rice: They just cut out, cut off their arms and legs?

Caryn Hartglass: And that’s what the mainstream media reports. The bad news. Well, anyway, we like to talk about the good things, so I’m sure Chloe will be doing many wonderful things and the good news is that there are many vegan investors or people who want to invest in vegan businesses because they know it’s a good thing and they know they can profit from it. And there are a number of organizations now, the Good Food Institute supported by Mercy for Animals and a few other angel investing businesses that support vegan businesses and I’m sure they’ll help her out.

Pamela Rice: Of course there’s always the mainstays right here in New York City. People who have (I’m sure you have your own list) but restaurants that have supported my work over the years. Candle Café, Hangawi/Franchia and Peace Foods. These are the top 3 that come to my mind immediately. They are all successful, in their own right, as vegan restaurants and they believe in that no one could buy them out ever.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well they were fortunate in starting a business that they had control of. And the ones that you mentioned have been very generous. You reminded me and I just want to mention this because I promised I would, one of the vegan restaurants that’s been around for about 40 years, Angelica Kitchen, is ending.

Pamela Rice: And that’s because of Hurricane Sandy. I think they never got over that.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh right. They were down in the East Village and just have been having a difficult time

Pamela Rice: Super shame

Caryn Hartglass: and they were there when nobody else was but they have a GoFundMe campaign right now. I just wanted to mention it for those of you who are familiar with Angelica Kitchen, they have a lot of debt and if you want to help them out, go to www.gofundme.com/angelicakitchen and find out about that GoFundMe campaign.

Pamela Rice: I’m going to do something for them. Speaking of Angelica, right next door is a very (I don’t know if you can put a word “very” in front of it) but they are a traditional Italian restaurant called John’s right next to Angelica. And they saw Angelica and they decided to put a vegan menu side by side with their regular one, so it’s one of my favorite places.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I didn’t know that. Yes!

Pamela Rice: And in fact, all the volunteers and all the people with Veggie Pride Parade always go there afterwards so you need to come.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, so that’s where everybody goes. We go to Peace Food but maybe we’ll try John’s. Awesome.

Pamela Rice: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you’d be amazed. They have a whole menu that mirrors their regular one, but all the food is just simply vegan. Anybody can just order from that one anytime.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay that’s really good news. Pamela!

Pamela Rice: Yes!

Caryn Hartglass: Bravo, Brava, you’ve done it! You’ve spoken to me for about a half hour and you’re on Skype, right?

Pamela Rice: I am, I just downloaded it today! Shame on me, I should’ve long ago.

Caryn Hartglass: Welcome to the 21st century. Okay, now there’s nothing stopping you.

Pamela Rice: Not at all. I would like to mention how awesome the Veggie Pride Parade is and the moment that, we make a lot of noise through the streets and we are escorted by a crew of the NYPD, the city’s finest, they ride on little motorcycles.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh that’s sweet.

Pamela Rice: We are 100% legal and when we come into the park, it is truly exhilarating and everybody is feeling great.

Caryn Hartglass: Are you going to have that Chinatown dinosaur dancing for us?

Pamela Rice: I haven’t heard, no.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, it’s not a dinosaur, it’s a dragon.

Pamela Rice: Maybe he’ll show up, haven’t heard anything this year.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well Pamela, thank you for joining me, we’re almost out of time.

Pamela Rice: You’re welcome.

Caryn Hartglass: People find you at veggieprideparade…

Pamela Rice: veggieprideparade.org

Caryn Hartglass:veggieprideparade.org

Pamela Rice: It’s real easy. And there’s all the buttons there. All the information right there.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I hope you get some rest. I know it’s going to be a lot of work on Sunday so energize up (I know you know how to do this) and I’ll see you Sunday.

Pamela Rice: I can’t wait. Take care.

Caryn Hartglass: Thanks, bye bye!

Pamela Rice: Bye bye

Caryn Hartglass: Bye bye. That was the wonderful Pamela Rice, the author of 101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian and the founder and creator of the Veggie Pride Parade here in Manhattan. And I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food and you can find me at responsibleeatingandliving.com and email me at info@realmeals.org and I really would like to hear from you at info@realmeals.org and I have one last request before I go and that is, if you like this show, you can do a number of things. One is you could let me know because it’s always nice to know at info@realmeals.org. Tell me what you like and share it, share it. Rate us on Itunes and let people know about this program because I think there’s a lot that will be beneficial to everyone. Okay, that’s your assignment and I’ll talk to you real soon. Right now, have a delicious week. Bye bye.

Transcribed by Kavla Tangella, 4/10/2017

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