Dear Friends,

What a year! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in the work of the Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.). With a new year almost upon us, I want to share with you more about our mission, as well as what we have to look forward to in the year ahead and where we need you!

When I first started F.E.P., I was a bit worried about the responses we would get as we don’t focus solely on animal rights or human/worker rights (addressing issues such as slavery in the chocolate industry). Also, our intention to work on access to healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas puts us in another category altogether. As an organization started by a woman of color and with a board including people of color, we are in a unique position to reach out and work on these important issues.

I have been involved in the animal movement for over 20 years and F.E.P. was started as a way to combine many of the food justice issues that are close to my heart – and apparently close to yours as well. Our organization’s mission and goals recognize the need to work on these issues simultaneously. While we advocate for a vegan diet, we also want to raise consciousness about how those working in the fields — those who pick our fruits and vegetables — are treated.

We know that F.E.P. represents a new concept to many people, but through your support and that of our board, I am now convinced that we are an organization whose time has come! It seems that many of us agree, oppression is oppression — no matter what form it takes — and we are willing to tackle the challenges when faced with a very unjust food system.

Making progress:

1. Our website is now fully translated into Spanish ( Thanks to Emily Bellairs for the translation and everyone who continues to contribute those delicious recipes!

What you can do: If you have recipes – send them to us!

2. We have completed our survey to assess the availability of healthy foods in low-income areas (thanks to the Humane Research Council for their pro bono assistance with this project). We will be starting with Santa Clara County and our hope is to create a solid template that can be used in other areas.

What you can do: If you live in the Bay Area and would be interested in volunteering with us on this very important project, please email me at We hope to start volunteer training in January and then begin conducting the survey across the county.

As an organization of volunteers, we need funds in order to create printed materials, including materials written in Spanish and publications that tie in all of the important issues related to food justice.

Please donate:
After running a variety of organizations, I know that it is best for an organization to stick to its mission to fulfill its goals, and we realize the importance of working not only with volunteers, but also with other organizations whose missions fit with our own. One of F.E.P.’s goals is to remind everyone that being vegan isn’t enough if you want to eat with justice in mind. Of course, no one can be perfect, but our mission is to help everyone strive to recognize that their food choices can change the world!

In these tough economic times, we wish you all a safe and compassionate holiday season!

In solidarity,

lauren Ornelas
Founder and Executive Director
P.S. Try some of the desserts from for the holidays – Buñuelos are my favorite.

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