Fight! Vegan Grocery
interview with co-owner Chad Miller via IM by Furry
Chad, photo courtesy of Food Fight!
Furry Girl: First off, for
anyone who doesn't hasn't heard of Food Fight! yet, give
us your spiel about who you are and what you do.
Chad: We are
a mom and pop vegan convenience store located in Portland,
OR. The mom is Emiko Badillo, the father being me, Chad
Miller. Mostly "fun" food, not a health food store.
Furry Girl: Yes, yay for
Tings and soy snacks!
Chad: Fake meats, snacks,
candy, and some staple stuff too to keep the hippies happy.
Furry Girl: Was it intentional
to focus on so-called junk foods and imported snack items,
or are those simply easier to stock without worrying about
them going bad quickly?
Chad: It was absolutely the
intention. A big part of the store is to try and put a different
idea of what veganism is all about into peoples heads. We're
not about low cholesterol and granola, we are about promoting
animal rights and trying our best to be less shitty in general.
Furry Girl: Do you ever get
flack from the health food crowd about pushing snack foods?
Chad: Yes, but fuck 'em.
They're usually not very interested in animal rights stuff
and don't like our politics anyway.
Furry Girl: Does any other
group of people pick on Food Fight?
Chad: Not really, we just
get ignored by the older "veg" crowd who are uncomfortable
with our potty mouth and pro-direct action AR stance. And
they want us to carry raw foods, and we ain't about that.
Furry Girl: True, they probably
just want you to carry free-range beef and Cheetos's natural
hippie version. I've had some damn find raw foods, but it's
way too time-consuming to prepare them. I'm a highly imperfect
vegan who never eats salads.
Chad: Yeah, or raw fudge
or something. We just don't care about raw stuff, doesn't
bug us or anything.
Furry Girl: See, that sounds
like something you could carry. It sounds good.
Chad: It tastes like dates
Furry Girl: That's not chocolate.
Chad: I know, I know.
Furry Girl: So, here's an
idea: You should really carry vegan kosher cheese from the
east coast. I have never seen the stuff for sale outside
of eateries in NYC and DC, such as the delightful Foodswings.
It probably has hydrogenated oils to scare the health foodies
away, like Tofutti, but those kosher folk have really got
the faux dairy thing down.
Chad: Hmm, never heard of
it, and we lived out there. I know they have awesome kosher
ice cream but... I just wrote Food Swings to find out.
Furry Girl: Awesome. They
have the best quesadillas ever. I was listening to an interview
you did for the Vegan
Freak podcast, and you mentioned that vegans must
consume waaaay more jerky than meat-eaters. Do you think
vegans are perversely fixated on gobbling up meat and cheese
Chad: I dunno, I think there
is just this thing about finding something you're not "supposed"
to be able to eat. Like vegan haggis, or caviar, or baby
arm... whatever, vegans will eat it.
Or I will at least.
Furry Girl: What's your vegan
haggis made from? I'm part Scottish, I suppose I should
buy a can.
Chad: Mostly root veggies
and spices and hydrogenated oil, lots of that. Do I have
to show my weiner on your website for this interview? Cuz
that shit's tiny, like an emoticon.
Furry Girl: Naw, you don't
need to get naked for me. Besides the massive vegan desire
for more haggis, what would you say are your best selling
Chad: Jerky, frozen chicken
nuggets and ham tube, chocolates, this local bread called
Dave's Killer Bread.
Furry Girl: I've heard of
the legendary Dave's Killer Bread.
It's suppose to really kick Rudy's Organics ass.
Chad: Josh Harper loves it.
Furry Girl: He's the one
who was raving about it to me.
On that note, you and Food Fight have been amazing at churning
out fundraiser after fundraiser for the legal defense of
Josh Harper, once of the SHAC
7 defendants. With all that's been going on in the
US regarding the "green scare", what made you
decide to put your own time and energy into this particular
Chad: It just seemed like
the thing to do. Seemed like other bigger groups were dropping
the ball and scared of the whole "terrorist" label,
so... we don't have a lot to lose from our "constituency",
ya know? Plus, Josh rules as do the other SHAC defendants,
and they don't deserve to go to jail.
Furry Girl: Are there any
other causes or community happenings that Food Fight helps
out with, and other issues that spark your personal interest?
Chad: We've done benefit
stuff for a local farm sanctuary, a city skatepark fund,
and Basic Rights Oregon (gay rights group).
Furry Girl: What drew you
to veganism in the first place?
Chad: I was vegetarian for
like 7 years or so, and then vegan for the last 8. It was
just the logical step if you give a shit about animals.
Which I do. Got into AR through punk rock if that's what
you're asking. Straight edge and punk.
Furry Girl: Are you still
rocking the edge?
Co-owner Emiko, photo courtesy of Food Fight!
Chad: Oh yeah, it's better
when you get older.
Furry Girl: So you don't
think you'll be adding vegan booze to the store any time
Chad: Not on my swatch.
Furry Girl: When did you
open Food Fight, and what made you decide to do it in Portland
as opposed to an online store or retail space elsewhere?
Chad: We just moved here
and were bored and felt like not staring at computers all
day anymore. But now we have an online store and are slowly
going blind again. Oh, when? About 3 years ago, end of august
Furry Girl: Tell me a bit
about the other part of your "we".
Chad: Her name is Emiko,
she rules. We're all married and shit. She likes to sleep
and look at cute fuzzy wuzzies, and get secretly mad at
Furry Girl: Any kids, or
are you the child-free type?
Chad: We have a dog, and
he'll do just fine, thank you very much.
Furry Girl: I'm getting a
tubal ligation in a few weeks myself. My cat is all the
son I could ever want.
Chad: Good for you.
Furry Girl: I've never been
in Food Fight, so talk me through what you offer and what
a typical day as a vegan grocery clerk is like. Got any
good stories about epic battles with hippies or republicans?
Chad: a walk through the
day: roll in a little before 10. Start filling online orders
because we never have customers in the morning. People start
rolling in midday. Ring people up, chit chat with the locals,
irritate unsuspecting walk-ins with our abrasive music and
lack of "cigs".
Close up at 8, go home and eat. We don't get many assholes,
it's pretty great overall. Every once and a while, but not
as bad as we'd thought. Mostly, we have a great community
Furry Girl: You're still
in love with Portland?
Chad: Kinda sorta, yeah,
it's funny. There are things that bother me, but there isn't
any other place in the US I'd rather live.
Furry Girl: Since I'm interviewing
you for a porn site, what's your best bit of juicy sex advice
that the world just has to know about?
Chad: Oh... hmmmm... How
about... Don't have it for a long time, then when you do,
if you're a guy, finish really quickly, then feel like a
loser. Apologize to your partner. Then make him or her some
Furry Girl: I bet that's
going to be the best piece of sex advice I ever collect.
Thank you. Any last words or things you want people to know
about you and Food Fight?
Chad: Well, first, that piece
of advice is in no way something that EVER happens to me,
I'm totally a trooper. So, know that first and foremost.
Other than that... We're no fucking trust-fund kids, and
we're not out to make a fortune off the movement (although
it'd kind be cool). And we'd love it if people realized
the value of supporting small businesses, even if it means
a few more dollars to spend at checkout time. And... we're
trying, so give us a break.
Furry Girl: I hear you.
Furry Girl: Well, thanks
for taking some time to chat with me, and have a great day!
Chad: You too. xoxo
some vegan treats from Chad: