Vegan Living in Downtown Fargo
The Green House Café Provides Plentiful Options for Vegans
BY ASHLEY REZACHEK
Downtown Fargo is developing into a place where vegans can go to shop, eat and enjoy a variety of meal options.
The Green House Café is North Dakota’s first fully vegan restaurant and it’s in downtown Fargo at 68 N. Broadway. With a growing number of vegans here and across the country, the Green House Café is a welcome addition.
An estimated 3.7 million U.S. adults are vegan, according to a poll on vrg.org (The Vegetarian Resource Group). In fact, the Google search term “vegan” was at its all-time high in December in both North Dakota and Minnesota.
A vegan does not eat any animal products including meat, fish, eggs, dairy and honey. Some vegans also avoid animal products such as leather, silk and wool.
One can easily conclude that veganism is slipping into the mainstream. The Green House Café, which opened in August, is one example of the mainstreaming of vegan foodways.
The restaurant has separate menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering vegans a variety of meals to choose from including orange chik’n, mock duck tacos and the greenhouse burger.
Emma Duda is a lifelong vegan and has eaten at the Green House Café multiple times. Duda is a speech language hearing science and Spanish major at MSUM.
“The food is really good,” Duda said. “I like the macaroni and cheese. The food is a lot like what my parents make at home so it’s like nice; it’s comfort food for when I’m stressed out.”
Green House Café not only gives vegan options to its customers, but is also an earth friendly restaurant. Green House Café uses local produce for its meals and emulates earth friendliness through its décor. The restaurant walls are painted light green. Each table is decorated with a small plant; terrariums hang from the ceiling. Artwork of a tree hangs next to a map of the world and a rock lamp sits at the counter. A vintage green bike hangs from one of the walls.
“I love the bike on the wall … they are really pro-biking,” said Hayley Hilfer, a sustainability major at MSUM with an emphasis in environmental science and environmental policy.
Hilfer became a vegan after watching “Cowspiracy,” a documentary on the environmental impact of today’s agricultural practices. She also researched the issues on her own. Hilfer cites environmental reasons as her biggest motivator in becoming vegan.
“Eating more meat increases methane emissions into the atmosphere and that perpetuates global warming,” said Hilfer.
Environmental issues are one of the leading motivators for someone to become a vegan.
Karinna Ramnarine, a former employee at Green House Café, is a vegan and sustainability major at MSUM. She says it was enrolling in a society and environment class that opened her eyes to the impact mass-farming conventions and techniques have on the environment. Ramnarine also said the excess use of water and waste produced in farming practices led her to become a vegan.
“I’ve been to other places where I could like create stuff that is vegan but it’s not like they are vegan; that’s not really their concept,” said Ramnarine. “The Green House Café is the only one I know that is completely vegan.”
Although there are places downtown where you can request vegan meals, including Drunken Noodle and Red Raven Espresso Parlor, the Green House Café is the only strictly vegan restaurant.
“It’s gotten a lot better,” Hilfer said. “Originally when I started being vegan I didn’t think it was that hard, you know when you cook for yourself and stuff it’s really easy, but if you ever want to go out to eat with people it’s very hard to find something on the menu.”
Duda likes that the Green House Café is a fully vegan restaurant. She noted that her hometown of Minneapolis just recently got a fully vegan restaurant.
Duda lives in Moorhead State’s dorms. The university requires that students living in the dorms have a meal plan at MSUM’s dining services.
“I’ve been having a hard time finding food on campus to eat,” Duda said.
When asked whether it was difficult to be a vegan in downtown Fargo, Hilfer said, “Yes, it’s hard; it’s difficult.”
Ramnarine disagrees, saying “I don’t think it would be very hard to be vegan or at least vegetarian (in downtown Fargo).”
One thing is for certain though: as veganism moves more into the mainstream, watch for more vegan restaurants popping up in downtown Fargo and across the country.
(Ashley Rezachek is a multimedia journalism and biochemistry and biotechnology major at MSUM. She hopes to one day combine her majors for a career in science writing or editing, and help bridge the gap between the public and the science world. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)