Santa Ana native Skyler Tanksley is bringing Southern California’s first vegan vending machine to the 4th Street Market in downtown Santa Ana.
“There isn’t a level of awareness in vending” Tanksley explains, ”So I decided to create a wholesome vending machine that was plant-based.”
The Vegan Vending Machine includes options such as; Topo Chico sparkling water, Yerba Maté, craft batch soda, Munchies walnut chorizo made in-house, diced ”chicken”, ”Carne” Asada, Kitehill yogurt, and premade Munchies sandwiches.
”They’re all made from someone within three days,” says Skyler about Munchies products, “You’re not talking about shelf storage that’s sitting here for weeks and weeks, which most non-vegan products are.”
”Being able to have the access where your family member can go to the vending machine down the hall and get you a deli sandwich that has walnut chorizo made organically by people of color’s hands and people who care with love, ” Tanksley explains, ”That’s the reciprocation.”
He was inspired after two newly installed vending machines at his apartment complex didn’t cater to his vegan lifestyle. “We put the vending machine in Downtown Santa Ana first to put Santa Ana on the map,” Tanksley says, “I live here. So why do I have to drive everywhere else to go support everyone else instead of my city?”
Many Santa Ana citizens debate the gentrification of the once culturally rich 4th Street, ”Calle Cuatro”, and partly blame the new businesses. ”If you care and you want to eliminate gentrification, build a business. Put it in your city, ” suggests Tanksley, ”Don’t go to LA and don’t go somewhere everyone else wants to go to.”
Purchasing from the vending machine is not only environmentally conscious but also supports ethical profits. ”When you buy products from it, some of the profits of that go to human and animal liberation rights and causes.”