This I Believe

Emily - Beloit, Wisconsin
Entered on December 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: equality

This I Believe…

Affordable Health Food Should Be Available For All Socioeconomic Classes

A family dines in the corner under a hanging handmade sarong. Old friends mingle over a full-bodied wine, gourmet seitan, couscous, and tempeh dishes. The dim lights and live, acoustic music combined with hand carved wooden furniture warmly invite guests from their first step upon the bamboo floors–barefoot. This restaurant disregards the “No shoes, no service” embarrassment, and encourages barefoot and natural connection to the earth and other people dining. Customers are referred to as guests, the waiters and waitresses are not rushed but are instead spoken with, often included in table discussions or dined with. Artwork ornaments the walls, confusing the definition of museum, home, restaurant, and tipi.

This reasonably priced vegan restaurant attracts passionate and quirky individuals everyday. It also attracts the socially outcast, physically disabled, and economically poor. I, as the future owner, understand the importance of operating a cheap vegan restaurant because of the current elitist society to which veganism caters. The lower middle class and the poor have the dollar menu, while upper middle class have Whole Foods, which my dad appropriately calls “Whole Paycheck.” It is not fiscally responsible for everyone to become a vegan. And I have a problem with that. I believe all social classes should have healthy food available to them.

I have been a vegan for almost three years now, and a vegetarian for almost seven. No one in my family is either vegan or vegetarian, but each is sensitive and outraged with unequal status rights. My parents both work at the public hospital. My mom works part time as an RN, and my dad is an adolescent psychiatrist. He works late hours and often weekends, and is nearing 20 years of dedication to Denver Health Medical Center. He also manages his band and a strong family life on top of all the miracles he works on a daily basis. His decision to help the mentally ill, especially those without health insurance and low income, has influenced my compassion toward the poor and underprivileged. Naturally passionate about my vegan lifestyle, I find support in my father’s work ethic and personality to direct my views in a positive way that encourages social change. His style and personality carry into my own, and will be reflected in my restaurant through the artistic and sensitive dishes created, and those who come to be served by a nurturing and non-discriminating hand.

Avey~Nuu is only a dream right now, and all of its fiercely original aspects have been growing so organically from ideals with which my family, especially my dad, have surrounded me. Combined with inspiration from my vegan ethics and my father’s personality, Avey~Nuu offers affordable, healthy food to everyone. I don’t know how practical it would be to sell such cheap vegan food, but perhaps I can receive funding and sponsorship from non-profits, hospitals, or charities. I’m sure there are others who also believe in health, regardless or status and wallet size.

Emily Peterson

700 College St. Box #1392

Beloit, WI 53511