Ruckus’s Action Camps essentially build a temporary community for a week or more at a time. An all-volunteer kitchen crew works hard from early in the morning to late at night to prepare delicious, healthy, and satisfying meals to our campers. Over the years, Ruckus’s food policy has been a point of debate, and slowly changed to adapt to meet the needs of the communities with whom we work. Whereas Ruckus camps were all-vegetarian at one time, we have since added a meat option once a day, in order to best meet everyone’s needs. We want to ensure a comfortable and familiar experience for everyone during their week at Camp, so that everyone can feel healthy, satisfied, and focused on the trainings.
We recognize that our community has varying viewpoints about food politics, from cultural, ethical, environmental, and animal rights perspectives, and we hope to foster an atmosphere that respects this multitude of viewpoints.
Ruckus Food Policy
Ruckus Camps are Primarily Vegetarian, with Meat options served once a day
Ruckus Camps serve top-notch, thoughtfully prepared vegetarian and vegan fare, with meat options available once a day (usually at dinner). We strive to use organic foods, local producers and small farmers, and to avoid products and producers that contribute to the exploitation of workers, animals, and the land.
Why Primarily Vegetarian?
We believe it is wise to “tread lightly” on the earth, practice sustainable ecology, and consider the impact of all of our actions, today and for future generations. Some of us are also vegetarian or vegan because we oppose the killing and exploitation of animals. In general, Ruckus Camps limit the amount of meat served, because the industry:
- Subjects animals to cruelty, including cruel confinement, injury, disease, chemical and genetic engineering and inhumane slaughter.
- Devastates the environment, through air and water pollution, desertification, soil erosion, rainforest destruction, habitat loss, and climate change.
- Is harmful to people in multiple ways. Eating mass-produced meat contributes to preventable disease, because it contains chemicals like antibiotics and hormones and is often part of a high-fat, high-salt diet. The industry exploits workers, often in dangerous working conditions, and puts small farmers out of business. Globally, the meat industry contributes to extreme poverty and malnutrition, because whole economies are devoted to producing grain and/or livestock while the people go hungry.
Practical Reasons for Limiting Meat
Ruckus Camps also limit meat-consumption for practical reasons:
- Meat is expensive and requires additional refrigeration capacity in a camp environment.
- Meat requires additional labor from the (all volunteer) kitchen staff, mainly because it involves additional kitchen sanitation, preparation practices and equipment.
- Serving meat can introduce additional health concerns in a camp environment.
Meat at Ruckus Camps
Meat is not banned from Ruckus Camps, and we will serve a meat option once a day (usually Dinner).
- When serving meat, we will use wild caught fish and game where appropriate, and/or we will use meat from small producers who do not engage in cruelty to animals, exploitation of people, or devastation of the environment.
- We will plan for and purchase meat in quantities appropriate for serving meat once a day at Dinner. However, we may serve meat more than once a day if there is extra left over.
- If the meat served is not sufficient for some individuals, participants may choose to supplement the meals provided with their own meat.
Ruckus Camps bring together people from diverse communities, cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. We promote mutual respect, and we view our differences as opportunities to learn, grow, and build solidarity. Ruckus Camps are primarily vegetarian for the reasons stated above, but we do not use what people eat as a “litmus test” of political commitment or an excuse for passing judgment on each other. We encourage feedback about the food policy and hope to see it develop in ways that best serve camp participants, partners and allies in the struggle for global justice.