Interview with the CAA Duluth Chapter founder

This past year saw the addition of a chapter in the Duluth area! Prior to the pandemic, there was a large vegan recipe group that met in the Duluth area. They had a plant-based food and cooking discussion. Sheri Olson, was interested in reviving something similar but with a more specific focus of partnering with CAA. She had recently moved from the Twin Cities where she had been a CAA volunteer. She reached out to CAA Executive Director Laura Matanah and got support for starting a new chapter. 

Read below for Sheri’s responses to some questions we sent her. Learn more about this exciting new chapter which is helping to serve the needs of the veg curious in the North Shore area:

Interview with Sheri Olson, CAA Duluth Chapter

What will be the range of activities of this new chapter?

Sheri Olson

We will host the Duluth Vegan Cooking Group on the 3rd Thursday of every month. The group picks an ingredient each month and cooks dishes with that specific ingredient. Everyone brings their recipe to share. In addition, I (Sheri) do research on the benefits, facts, and history of the ingredient and share that with the group, as well. 

What are some possible future activities in the coming year? 

  • A Vegan Dine-Out at a local restaurant
  • A Vegan Business Expo
  • We also hope to add more content onto our Duluth CAA Chapter FB page – more posting and more interaction. 

What has been the response from the community?

We have received a good response on our Vegan Cooking Group. We began in October 2022 with 15 people attending and 20 people seriously interested. We hosted a Friendsgiving in November and had 19 people attend with five brand new people from our FB outreach. We currently have 26 people on our list of regulars. The ages of our group range from people in their 30’s to in their 80’s.

What are some of the chapter’s accomplishments so far?

We began in August with a Vegan Potluck Picnic. We had approximately 10 people. We did that to gauge the interest in beginning the cooking group. There were many people that said they were interested in doing something monthly. Previously (prior to the pandemic), there was a large vegan recipe group that met in the Duluth area. They did not bring food but had a plant-based food & cooking discussion. 

Since we began our vegan outreach this summer, a local church has added a plant-based option to their free weekly community meal as a direct result from the encouragement of a group member.

The official launch of the Duluth CAA Chapter began in October with the Vegan Cooking Group. We have about 26 people on our email list, plus we advertise on five vegan FB group pages. We currently have 22 people on our Duluth CAA Chapter FB page.

How so you feel about the group and its future?

I am so excited about the potential for the Duluth CAA Chapter! There is a strong vegan & plant-based community in this area. There was a good base and we built upon it. I love the idea of doing other vegan things in Duluth like a Dine Out and a Vegan Expo to gather all the vegan businesses together.

I am also very excited that we are sharing the plant-based, vegan idea with a wide variety of people. We have people that attend on the whole spectrum of the veg journey. They come for a variety of reasons: for their health, for the animals, for their partner. Some attend that are not vegan at all and have been invited by their partner, some are vegetarian, some are flexitarian, many eating for better health, and several who eat almost all vegan except a few times a month.

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