Advocate: How One Vegetarian Makes a Difference
By Jack Rosenberger
Seeking to improve the spiritual ambiance of my home office, I recently
taped a small, see-thru cellophane envelope containing a block of four
Dutch postage stamps honoring Anne Frank, to the front panel of my computer
monitor. For me, the Anne Frank stamps are a daily reminder of how one
person can make the planet a better home for all of us.
The odds that a single person can influence the world on an international
scale, like Anne Frank did, are remote. But the publication of her diary—a
teenager’s thoughts recorded in a humble, plaid journal—has
influenced and moved millions of people. In addition, the Anne Frank
House, located in Amsterdam, is one of the most popular tourist sites
in the Netherlands, and operates as a cultural force against human injustice.
I thought of Anne Frank and other kindhearted souls recently when I
interviewed Johanna McCloy, an actor who is making the U.S. a better
place for vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike. During the 1999 baseball
season, McCloy caught a Los Angeles Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium.
A longtime vegetarian, she was pleased to discover a cafeteria in Dodger
Stadium that sold meatless entrees. The following year, however, when
McCloy went to see the Dodgers, the vegetarian-friendly cafeteria was
gone, having been replaced by luxury suites.
“I walked the length of Dodger Stadium in search of vegetarian
food other than Cracker Jacks and other non-meat snack food,”
recalls McCloy. “I walked the full length of the stadium, knowing
full well the odds were not in my favor. I was amazed by the abundance
of food and the absolute lack of anything vegetarian or healthy.”
McCloy’s hopes for vegetarian fare were raised when she encountered
a Subway food stand, as she knew Subway sells vegetarian sandwiches.
However, the sandwiches being sold were pre-prepared—and none
of them were vegetarian.
McCloy politely spoke with a Dodger Stadium concession manager about
the lack of vegetarian food. A sympathetic and caring soul, he appreciated
McCloy’s concerns. Soon after, the Subway stand started selling
a vegetarian submarine sandwich.
The incident at Dodger Stadium was the beginning of McCloy’s mission
to persuade Major League Baseball teams to sell vegetarian food in their
venues. Today, ten Major League Baseball stadiums sell vegetarian entrees,
particularly veggie dogs, due in part to McCloy’s efforts. Via
her soyhappy.com Web site, McCloy is persuading other baseball teams,
minor and major, to offer vegetarian food at their venues.
The ten teams that offer veggie dogs and other vegetarian fare are:
Chicago White Sox (Comiskey Park), Cincinnati Reds (Cinergy Field),
Florida Marlins (ProPlayer Stadium), Houston Astros (Minute Maid Park),
Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium), Milwaukee Brewers (Miller Park),
Oakland Athletics (Network Associates Coliseum), San Francisco Giants
(Pacific Bell Park), Seattle Mariners (Safeco Field), and Toronto Blue
Jays (Sky Dome). In addition, the Norfolk Tides, a Triple A team, now
sells veggie dogs at Virginia’s Harbor Park.
McCloy is the first person to admit that persuading a large, multi-faceted
business organization to offer vegetarian food is a difficult and time-consuming
ordeal. It’s one, she’s discovered, that requires patience,
diplomacy, and a lot of persistence. One formidable obstacle is that
sports stadiums, as a rule, have a no-compete clause with the companies
that supply meat to them. Typically, this means that a stadium can’t
offer competing products, including vegetarian ones, throughout the
duration of a meat supplier’s contract. McCloy, though, has succeeded
in getting veggie dogs and other vegetarian food into stadiums by being
polite and non-confrontational, informed (one of her most persuasive
arguments is that many nonvegetarians want meatless options), and tenacious.
While McCloy initially focused on baseball stadiums, she’s expanded
her efforts to include other public venues, such as zoos, where food
is sold. “I want to get vegetarian food into mainstream venues,”
One of the most valuable lessons McCloy has learned from her experience
is disarmingly simple: Speak up. “People’s voices have a
lot more power than they know,” says McCloy. “One voice
does make a difference.”
Thanks to McCloy and the many compassionate persons who have contacted
teams through soyhappy.com, more and more persons will be able to participate
in a new American tradition—attending a ball game, amidst the
noisy crowd, and being nourished by a cold beer, a bag of unshelled
peanuts, and a veggie dog. To me, that sounds like a fun thing to do
on a summer afternoon.
For detailed team and venue information and resources, including contact
information for the New York Mets and Yankees, neither of which offers
vegetarian entrees, visit soyhappy.com.
War Resisters League Offers Vegetarian Calendar
Want a 2003 desk calendar that’s totally vegetarian? Pick up a
copy of Nourishing the Nonviolent Revolution, a spiral-bound 5”
x 8” calendar and cookbook being sold by the War Resisters League,
a nonviolent anti-war organization founded in 1923 [see Benn and Jameson
in Satya, November 2002]. The 128-page weekly calendar contains vegetarian
recipes for main dishes, soups, salads, and other entrees. Half of the
recipes are vegan.
Calendars cost $12.95 and are mailed bulk rate. All proceeds benefit
the War Resisters League. Allow four weeks for delivery or enclose an
extra $2.50 per calendar for first-class postage. Send your order electronically
or via mail with payment to War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette St.,
New York, NY, 10012, or fax your order with credit card number (Visa
or Mastercard) to (212) 228-6193.