Philadelphia is known as a great destination for vegan food, but it wasn’t always so. This week we talk with Carmella Lanni, one of the activists who helps to cultivate the plant-based abundance Philly is known for via pop-up events and Philly Vegan Restaurant Week.
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Carmella Lanni is co-owner of V Marks the Shop, which operated Philadelphia’s first all-vegan grocer/convenience store, proudly a Black & Queer-owned business. She is also the creator of Philly Vegan Pop Flea/Philly Vegan Events, hosting vegan-centric community pop-up markets and events since 2016. She is also one of the co-organizers of Philly Vegan Restaurant Week, Philadelphia’s premiere vegan restaurant week launched in 2018 (founded by Nicole Koedyker). Her background includes over 20 years in digital commerce, working as an analyst and consultant to small businesses & Fortune 500 companies. She believes that business can be compassionate and community-connecting all year round. A native of Bronx, New York, Carmella enjoys baking, watching anime and crime dramas, pulling Tarot cards, making playlists, and hanging with cats.
Jasmin Singer: Welcome to Our Hen House Carmella!
Carmella Lanni: Thank you. Appreciate you having me on.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, I've really been looking forward to chatting. I know you have so much happening right now, and I want to be able to talk about as much of it as we possibly can. But to start, we've known each other for a very long time, but I need to get caught up on the story of how you went from a food blogger in New York City to owning a pop up vegan store in Philly.
And I'm sure that's a long story, but like, tell me the highlights, because I'm very curious what that trajectory looked like.
Carmella Lanni: So, I've been vegan 13 years. And I always had this idea of starting a business, and my partner Carlo wanted to start a business, and he comes from a food background. So, we went back and forth, and he decided he wanted to do a grocery store. And we were at Vida Vegan Con.
The last one in Austin, Texas in 2015, the last session they were talking about business and he got up in front of everybody and said, we are opening up a vegan grocery store and it's going to be in Philadelphia. And I'm like, what? So he's like, well, if you don't say it, it's not going to happen. And I'm like, uh, okay.
Because not only was I a food blogger, I also had a career in digital commerce and IT. So, yeah, so that was, that was a huge pivot. I mean, always wanting to have a vegan business since I've been vegan has been, you know, definitely on the radar, but not like that. As I am with a lot of things, if there's a passion project, I'm going all in, and so that's kind of what happened, went all in and moved to Philly and opened up V Mark's The Shop in 20, well, I mean, we were doing V Mark's The Shop as a pop up since 2015, but we opened up the storefront in 2018.
Jasmin Singer: So, yeah, and now the store is not a store anymore, not a brick and mortar store, I should say, but it is a pop up again. So briefly tell me, like, what was that like? You had a store, I went to it this past summer, I just put on my chapstick from your store and now it is no more. So are you able to share a little bit about that with us?
Carmella Lanni: Yeah, so, you know, we got through the brunt of COVID, but there was a lot of challenges because the way that people shopped has gone quite differently. And we tried our best to pivot, and then we ran into a lot of issues on the personal side. So I was actually out for nine months in 2022.
And I, I had a lot of health issues that kept me out, actually even before that, from towards the end of 2021. And just trying to get caught back up was so difficult. And even the end of 2022 was rough because we both got COVID right during the Christmas period. So trying to rebuild, we actually had some good points which carried us probably into early June and then it just felt like the bottom fell out.
And at some point we're like, we can't keep going like this. And so we had to make the decision to close the storefront. But the thing that I always loved about the business model that we have is being very community oriented and we started the business as community based project, hosting different events.
So we did a vegan mac and cheese competition for four years. We did a vegan chili cook off. We did vegan pop up markets that we hosted and plus also vended at. But the ones that we hosted, we did that for over four years and we just brought that back this summer. And it just gets us to connect with people, small businesses, plus the local community, whether they're vegan or not, to understand the contributions of vegan businesses to the local economy.
So since we've closed the storefront, we're pivoting back into the community based events as a way to support, not just the vegan community, but the small business community at large to give them a place to get in front of customers and to build their brands.
Jasmin Singer: So, you're back to that. Tell me about the mechanics of doing a pop up store, like, how do you arrange where to pop up, and how do you store your merchandise and get it there? What am I not even thinking of? I don't, I have no idea, I just realized as I'm talking to you how much I've taken this for granted in the past when I've gone to pop ups.
Carmella Lanni: Yeah, so, definitely trying to find the right venue, working with the venues to understanding what kind of licenses we may need, or if there needs to be somebody coming in from, like, the city to do any kind of health and food inspection kind of thing. So that's a huge piece because that goes into the cost. And then you're also having to keep in mind things like marketing and access. And if there's a way, like for instance, you know, being in Philly, it's a major city, parking is at a premium. So if there's anything that could help especially the business owners save, or, you know, cut down their costs when it comes to paying parking fees, we try to do that.
So there's a lot of moving pieces, working in like the timing, how do people load in, where do people set up, developing a floor plan. A lot of parts to it. And then also on my end, in particular, is that I have to vet everybody. So whoever applies, it's not just you pay a fee and you show up. I actually vet everybody because I want to see like their following. I want to see their products. There's always the honey debate when it comes to food, or even beauty products with beeswax and honey. Like, oh, I sell vegan products.
And it's like, okay, well, I need to understand your ingredient list. I need to make sure that these certain things are not in there.
Jasmin Singer: So Carmella, given everything you just said, are most of your customers vegan? Because it sounds like you have some possible sellers who are a little bit ignorant, but who's coming to the pop ups?
Carmella Lanni: It's actually a healthy mix. It is a healthy mix. There are a lot of people who are curious about vegan. There are people who like certain vendors, so they may not necessarily be vegan, but they already like this company or their products, so they're showing up to support. And then... there're the vegan communities coming out for a vegan event.
So it's really it's a nice mix if I had to poll like do a sample. I would say close to 50 percent of them are not vegan
Jasmin Singer: Wow. That's fascinating to me. I love that though so much. And why did you feel that vegan retail was the right direction for your activism and for your lives?
Carmella Lanni: Um, I think partly because of our backgrounds and then the other part of it is, you know being a consumer and not wanting to have to jump through so many hoops to find vegan products. It's a lot easier than it was when we first started the business just because how much veganism has grown, but, you know, there was a time that I would have to shop at like four or five stores just to get all the groceries that I wanted.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah,
Carmella Lanni: Beyond produce, you know, or having to constantly have to look at labels. Allergies are one thing, but if you don't have an allergy, you just want to find vegan products, having to read labels is quite tiresome. I wanted to create a space where you can spend more time getting to know a brand than having to read the label for like specific ingredients.
Jasmin Singer: That's an interesting point. I remember the days of having to go to multiple stores in order to just have enough for dinner. But as it becomes easier to locate vegan products everywhere, why should people be shopping at and supporting vegan owned businesses specifically?
Carmella Lanni: Well, part of it is that we don't have like a massive, you know, major corporate vegan entity for shopping, right? So right now it's about making sure that those that are in the movement are aligned with the values. And I think that's why it's really important to support as many vegan small businesses as possible.
Granted, I mean, we're in a capitalist society. So there's always going to be maybe a couple of those businesses that aren't so much aligned with the ethics, but it's the clear fact that if you view veganism as a form of activism, that you would want to ensure that while we're in a capitalist society, that your money is going to support that movement.
And that's why it's important to support vegan businesses.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, I agree with that. I try really hard, even when I can get it at my local Whole Foods or whatever, I try really hard to patronize vegan businesses. Now, can you talk a little bit about the big picture and the importance of food security and accessibility and how that relates to your work? Because I know that's a really big driving force for you.
Carmella Lanni: Yes, one of the biggest things, and it's not even just in terms of like pre packaged or packaged items or whatever, but it's access to quality food. It's so huge. And then you've got the vegan tax. And when people are shopping and they're looking at a non vegan item versus a vegan item, most of the time the vegan item is more expensive because it's usually a smaller business, has less distribution, higher production costs, and really depends on volume that's going to bring the cost down.
And a lot of people don't see that, and there are a lot of people who want to go vegan and they're scared because they're worried about it hitting them in the pocket, and based on the current economy, that's even more so. And we're talking about how many cities and towns now have community based fridges trying to ensure that their neighbors have access.
Jasmin Singer: mm hmm.
Carmella Lanni: And it's not just the average person, we're talking about access based on age, because a lot of elderly folks, their funds are limited and they're not able to get quality in some areas. Those people, you know, family size also impacts.
Being able to have a store that was able to accept EBT was huge for us. To ensure that people can get good quality products without them hurting their pockets, that it's fully accessible to them is really important. And if we're talking about being in a system that's oppressive and we're trying to push for liberation for everybody, food security and food justice has to be a part of that discussion.
Because there is so much power that is given up by us as individuals that we're not even aware of half the time, in terms of how we're able to access food, and how stores get set up in our neighborhoods.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, well said.
Carmella Lanni: It's not an easy process, and you know, having to be subjected to, a lot of times, major corporation deciding our prices, it's tough.
So wanting to ensure that everybody has equal access is really important, and when we're looking, again, looking at it from a vegan lens, if we're talking about liberation for all beings, that has to be part of the discussion.
Jasmin Singer: That is very well said, Carmella. I think that there's been at least some recognition by many within the vegan movement of the importance of intersectionality.
But can you discuss how that needs to be an ongoing endeavor and not just a flash in the pan?
Carmella Lanni: Oh, yes. You know, again, we're going back to the point of veganism being a movement where we're looking for liberation for all beings and we're also looking at it being a stance of living the most compassionate lifestyle with the least amount of harm and you can't have veganism be specious. It has to be about everybody, and when I'm talking about everybody, we have to look at all the points from culture, all the socio political concepts, socio economic concepts, we have to look at it across the board. If we exclude one, we're really excluding all, and I think that's a point that is often missed. So if we're talking about a movement that is based on compassion, you cannot leave out certain groups because you don't like them or you don't feel they're a part of it.
And there's people that don't agree with that thought. There are people that look at veganism as just being about non human animals, but you cannot have a movement about non human animals without humans being involved. And you can't push a movement forward to support non human animals unless you have a connection made with humans to keep it moving.
And so a lot of times that point is missed. And it's kind of foreign to me as to why, but it is missed for a lot of people. Well, I should add, I think some of it comes from a place of privilege, because when you don't have to think about other groups, and you can have a singular lens, that's privilege.
Whereas somebody that grew up seeing the struggles of various people, they have a different lens and they understand that I can't just have a singular view on the world. I have to have a more, I guess, global, worldly, I know when you say that that people look at that as negative, but you actually do have to have more of a world view in order to understand that there's more to a movement than just the one piece.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, totally. You know, it's so funny this morning before I interviewed you, you know, I was doom scrolling and I came across this funny meme that said, I've done so much self growth that I now hate every person or something like that. And I chuckled to myself because it's hard. And I would love your take on this because you're a person who deals with human beings all the time.
And you're doing something that's very positive and uplifting and you're leveraging the voices of a lot of people and their businesses, but with that comes the flip side, the dark side. So how do you manage all of the, let's call it intricacies, of humankind, given the fact that humans can also just be so completely closed off to understanding the ways that they're contributing to various types of oppression?
Carmella Lanni: Oh man, that's a deep question.
It is something because if you're an empathetic person, you take it pretty hard. And so you have to kind of work your way to not be like, okay, this is rough, but it's, it's not personal, and we have to understand, again, there's a lot of things about society that I might not agree with, and then other people don't always agree with me, and trying to find points where there's common ground that you can work through things, that gives me some hope not all is lost. I think that's why the community aspect is so important.
Jasmin Singer: Totally, totally true.
So, I just, I have to tell you that I am I'm feeling sometimes like I'm doing a disservice to the Our Hen House listeners because I promised them indefatigable positivity early on and lately I just feel like everything is really bringing me down, including the fact that people are still consuming animals in just as big, actually a bigger way than they had previously, even though there are more and more amazing vegan products available. Can you just, like, I'm not asking you to fix my despair, but can you weigh in on that and just, like, I'm very curious how you deal with this, given the fact that you see people all the time.
Carmella Lanni: I think it's about being a realist. Yeah, people love to have everything 100 percent positive, but I think being a realist that can come up with some solutions is the more optimal way to go.. It is disheartening to see that people are still consuming animals and at times it feels like, you know, we're so far away from this vegan world, which a lot of us want. Um, but I think also we have to be realistic and look at the things that have gotten us to where we are now. Yes, there are a lot more vegan products out there. I have to get to a point that I think in some categories there's an over saturation of vegan products.
But the fact is that when I went vegan 13 years ago, most of this stuff wasn't around. So I have to look at that as a win. Right? We have to look at our individual contributions to the movement. And, are there areas where we can do better? Absolutely. Absolutely.
But what have we done up to this point that is positive and recognizing that? So, I mean, these times are rough. So we have to be honest about that. These times are rough. The way people come into veganism is varied. Some come into it from an environmental view. Some come into it because it just, it piques their interest because maybe their friend lost some weight on a vegan diet and they want to try it for themselves.
So it's like, okay, well, we understand that people come at different points. So how do we meet these people where And we may have to pivot our, our, our, not our viewpoint, but our approach to those different audiences, so that things that we say, they do resonate. And I think that's where we can find the hope and we can find the positivity if we learn to be a little bit more honest about where we're at as a movement and that people are coming from different walks of life.
And so we have to address them differently. And we're kind of come at people to show, hey, this is again, it's a compassionate lifestyle. How to connect with that? It's a little different than saying I'm just going to tell you I'm vegan and I'm in your face. There's a lot of people that are still coming at that mindset that vegans are all militants and we're all in your face and we're all telling you, you have to stop doing this, you have to, it's like, well, it's different now.
It's very different now. And I think it's actually growing pains within the vegan movement itself. I think any movement has growing pains, in terms of, you know, how the movement developed, how people were connected to it. And when there are more people involved, you know, there is some truth in the too many cooks in the kitchen.
There is some truth in that statement because there's a lot more people, there's a lot more personalities, there's a lot more touch points. So it's like, okay, where do I fit in? I don't have to take on everything. Maybe there's a certain aspect that I can connect with people on.
Or a certain focus within the movement for me to focus on? We don't have to do everything.
Jasmin Singer: So you chose food as your direction. And I I'd love to know a little bit more about your theory of change, which is something we've been talking about more and more here on Our Hen House. Like, tell me about where this leads to, in your opinion.
In other words, what is the role of the products that you make available between that and animal liberation? Like, connect those dots for me.
Carmella Lanni: So, for me, having greater access, especially when it's smaller makers, is really a means of promoting liberation for all because I look at it as, in a way, fighting capitalism from within, so if we're going to try to push a social movement within a capitalist society, we've got to fight from within it.
And so, I mean, I'm a little bit anti corporate. So, you know, having more of those products out there and getting them in front of people is like, hey, there's an alternative. I want you to connect with people within your community, whether it's a local community or a movement community. And here's a way to do that.
And you can also help, again, show the contributions of these makers to your local economy. And having more of these products that are out there, that means, you know, there's a shift in resources, and less use of animal based food products and materials and whatnot. You know, some of the ways that these products are created, it could actually help the environment.
It helps, again, helps the local community, and if you're talking about who the makers are, it helps connect with other people in their communities, cultures, races, religions, whatever, age, whatever. So it can have a broader impact, overall, for the movement by just demonstrating what those contributions can mean, long and short term.
Jasmin Singer: I love that way of looking at it. It's a very holistic and community minded way of looking at it. I'm grateful that you're able to contextualize things in new ways, but now let's talk about the food products themselves, because although I'm not a foodie, I do really enjoy learning about what's popular.
What is popular in terms of the products that you're selling at your pop up?
Carmella Lanni: I mean, the biggest categories have always been the vegan cheeses and the vegan meat. It's always been. And vegan chocolate. Those have always been the biggest categories. And I think that's just kind of, I think that's how it is in food, to be perfectly honest.
It's food in general. You've got your sweet, you've got your savory, and people are very much about protein, and I think that's more of a Western societal thing, about how to take your protein. And having those three categories in particular in the vegan business sphere food industry, people are looking for alternatives to what they see in the mainstream.
And so if you're seeing people talking about, you know, meat, I need meat to live and all that stuff. Well, there's people that are interested in plant based. Okay, well, how can I get that in a plant based form? Well, let me show you. So, having those as examples and demonstrating them is really important.
Now, the thing that we're seeing is because vegan has become a trend in the food industry. If you look at various market reports and such, vegan has become a trend over the last five years. And seeing the amount of products that have grown and are being now displayed and now you're seeing they're in the major corporate supermarkets, that's great, but there is an issue of oversaturation and an issue of lack of differentiation.
I mean, last year, I can't tell you how many different vegan chicken products there were, and I couldn't tell you the difference between them. I mean, how many chicken nuggets can there be? You know, and a lot of these companies are really working towards developing brand loyalty versus quality of product.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. I'm also like, another thing that excites me is the, like, the fact that there are so many more things that can be turned into protein. I'm not talking about cultivated meat, although that's a whole other conversation, which I am excited about. But I mean, like, when I went vegan 20 years ago, like, there was TVP, of course, which I still eat in the form of soy curls, but there are so many more mushroom meats now. I've had, like, meats made out of banana leaves, and it's just amazing the fact that, like, it's the texture and the taste that have been replicated in so many ways. Like, what about you? What are you most excited about personally?
Carmella Lanni: I mean, I'm, I'm excited about food tech in general.
I like seeing how more natural ingredients are being used to create these replacements, you know, and understanding that this is what's happening with these, the technology technology goes, of course, things are going to be at a higher cost and might be cost prohibitive for folks. So, you know, the hope is that the technology takes off and there is enough volume to help start bringing the cost down. In terms of what I'm excited about, you know, it's weird. I get excited more on the smaller brands than anything. So I just want to see like something unique come out of, you know, what are you doing that's so different? Where, you know, it could be like a different type of jerky.
I know we've seen the mushroom jerky, we've seen jackfruit jerky, banana jerky. You know, I get excited when it's something different. And I feel at a time that it's becoming further, like, something completely different, where I feel like a lot of people that are trying to do, do more of that brand loyalty, create the same product, and let me build a brand fan base, and get my growth that way.
I think that's also a testament to what we're seeing, like, even in social media, a lot of it's about brand loyalty, building that way. And impulsivity. So people like yes, there is this thing about being first to market. There's definitely that, but it's like, how quick can I get it is more important than that.
So it's a little bit difficult for me now to be excited about something because I see so much of the same type of product.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, I could, I could see that. But Philly, you're in Philly, which has a famously vibrant vegan scene. What are some of the products being produced locally that you're able to feature?
Carmella Lanni: So, a lot of it is coming out of, like, small bakers, or bakeries, or already established restaurants. I'll tell you this, one of the products I really like, we sold it for a minute at a store. It's this beet ketchup that comes from Algorithm Grill and Food Truck, and it's really good, and it doesn't taste like beet.
It's a really nice alternative. I'm a huge fan of this gummy candy called Blob. They're very unique flavors, and the founder of the company is originally from South Philly. He actually grew up down the street from the store. That's a good one.
I love seeing stuff like Amira's Delight. She's amazing. She does like a bunch of farmer's markets and stuff, but her cinnamon rolls are amazing. And, there's a lot, there's more, like... So we start running into people and, you know, there's people that do like vegan puddings. There's people that, who are not vegan, but they've added vegan to their product line because they know there's a demand. And it's not just, you know, for some people, yes, you know, I'm jumping on a trend, but there are people that may have a connection because maybe a family member has gone vegan and they want to create something to support that family member. So, learning those stories is really good.
Yeah, there's a lot. There's like, MilkJar doing vegan ice cream in South Philly. Their stuff is really good. Crust Bakery is starting to do some stuff out of their shop with their ice cream. So that's exciting. Tutu Mary's, which is out of Tattooed Mom, which is like a classic fun dive bar in Philly. Tutu Mary's is an offshoot where they do vegan Hawaiian inspired food.
Jasmin Singer: Wow, that sounds so good.
Carmella Lanni: Yeah, and the stuff that they're creating is fantastic, so that I get excited about.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, no, I am too.
You're getting me, you're definitely bringing me out of my rut. Tell us about Philly Vegan Restaurant Week.
Carmella Lanni: So, Philly Vegan Restaurant Week, this is the brainchild of Nicole Kodiker. Back in 2018, she was frustrated by what was going on in the local restaurant week, where there really wasn't much of a vegan option.
And we were in a Facebook group, and she was like, Who would like to help me create a fully vegan restaurant week? And so about five of us got together. And we did our first one, and it was a hit, and we had about 30 or so restaurants participating, and what happens during that week, is that various restaurants either offer a special fixed price menu, or they do individual items.
Originally it was a portion of sales were going to go to a non profit, but instead we switched it up this year where the restaurant makes a donation to the selected nonprofits. So this year it's Philly Food Rescue, which is part of the Share Food program that is here in Philly. And what Philly Food Rescue does is they work with local businesses and restaurants and such to take the excess food and then they will deliver it to a point where they need to create access, so it could be a community fridge, it could be a soup kitchen, it could be a church, after school program, anyone that's going to use that food right away.
The first year was Peace Advocacy Network. I think second year we did Misfit Manor. During the brink of COVID, we just raised money for the restaurants for their staff. And having people go out and supporting the vegan option at various places is huge.
And most of the participants are not vegan restaurants because you don't have that many vegan restaurants in the city. I mean, the number has gone up, of course, over the years, but starting there weren't that many vegan restaurants in the area.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, I mean, I, I lived in Philly. It was the, in the nineties when I was in college before I went to New York City, and of course it was like lost on me.
I was vegetarian, but then when I started going back, Oh my god. And Vicki from Our Hen House, who I know you're, good friends with, she lives there. I'm constantly living vicariously through what she eats. Like, it's amazing there. I just want to encourage our listeners to go to Philly on vacation.
Totally worth it.
Carmella Lanni: The food scene alone is worth it, and so many places have embraced vegan options because there's a clear demand for it. And people are showing up to support, so having something like a restaurant week actually is great because why? It helps boost the economy. It makes Philly a bit of a destination for it, because there are people who travel that come for Philly Vegan restaurant week.
The other part of it is that it gives support to these businesses who, it might be their first time trying to add a vegan option to their menu. It's helping them get visibility. It's helping them build another target audience. There's been a lot of the participants that because of Restaurant Week, they now have actually a vegan menu.
So it's something that just to kind of see how it's been built up over the last five years, it's been phenomenal. So we're getting ready for the fall edition of this year, because we did spring. The fall edition is going to be November 1st through November 12th, so we're doing more than a week.
We're making sure the restaurants get two weekends to get in front of customers, and like I mentioned, in order to participate, they do have to make a donation to Philly Food Rescue in order to be a confirmed participant, and then we list everything on the website at PhillyVRW.com. People can check out menus once we have that up later up this month, and that can help them plan. I don't know if we're gonna, we did a map before, I think we'll probably do a map again so people can kind of plan out their time. And now they have more days to try more places.
Jasmin Singer: That's awesome.
That's so exciting. I want to go.
Carmella Lanni: It's really cool. I made the mistake though one year, trying to hit like six places in one day.
Jasmin Singer: Oh my god.
Carmella Lanni: I went from breakfast to dessert and I'm like...
Jasmin Singer: That's freaking awesome, Carmela. It's like my dream, seriously.
Carmella Lanni: And then one year, I got friends together and we did a food crawl.
I don't know how many places we hit, but with more of the places that we're doing the individual menu items, we can try a little bit before going on to the next place.
Jasmin Singer: Do you remember that movie with Queen Latifah? It's like a Christmas movie and she's diagnosed with cancer with like less than a month to live or something, but in that time she decides to spend all her money and go do all of these extremely fancy things.
This, like, you're describing what I would do. Like, that's what I would do. I would just be like, okay I have a month to live, I'm gonna go to Philly and I'm gonna eat my heart out and I'm just gonna eat everything and not worry about the paycheck. Oh my god.
Carmella Lanni: Oh my god, I would be like that when I would travel.
So, you know, I haven't really, I haven't done much travel, like, the last couple of years, but I would, like, last year I went to Portland for a couple of days, and then I went to Seattle for a couple of days. While I was in Portland, I was like, where are the places I have not basically took my last visit?
And I made sure I hit them up. And so I have my little list, and I'm like, Carlo, we have to go here, here, here, and here. Here's where we're going to first, and this place isn't far from here. I have mapped out everything. And I was so excited, because I hadn't done that in a while.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome.
By the way, small aside, it's so cute that your name is Carmella, and your partner's name is Carlo. Like, is that why you're with each other? Because it's like alliteration?
Carmella Lanni: I don't know what brought us here. His dad's name is Carmello.
Jasmin Singer: Oh my gosh. Seriously?
Carmella Lanni: So it's wild. His dad goes as Carl, but his, his real name is Carmelo.
Yeah. So it's just kind of weird how that all that all happened. And our niece's name is Carly.
Jasmin Singer: That's so funny. Oh my goodness, I love that. Well, I hope you'll stick on with me for a few minutes for your bonus content, but Carmella, it's just a joy to speak with you, and I'm sorry about the tech problems we had, but, so if people are listening to this and they're like, why is the sound quality changing?
It's because we had to go through every way of recording possible, but now we have, but because we're on the phone recording this, I kind of forgot I was interviewing you. And I just thought, like, we were chatting, because I don't have my headphones on and I'm not sitting in front of my computer. So I just want you to know, you're is friggin exciting to me, and I appreciate so much your ethos and your attitude and, like, all of the joy and vegan food you put on this planet and in front of people.
So thank you and Carlo both so very much for all that you're doing.
Carmella Lanni: Oh, thank you. And I've always respected you and everything that you've done, so I'm just glad we're friends.
Jasmin Singer: Yeah, so am I.
Can you tell our listeners where they can find out more about your and Carlo's work?
Carmella Lanni: Sure, you can follow us, vmarkstheshop. com, on social media, it's all vmarkstheshop, V M A R K S T H E S H O P.
Jasmin Singer: Fabulous. Well, thank you so much for spending time with us today, and just everything you've shared with us today, it feels really powerful and I appreciate you.
Carmella Lanni: Yeah, I appreciate you as well. Thank you for having me.
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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision-makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.