Emily

Volunteer Shout-out: Shannon Lasnetske!

Meet Shannon, a member of the University of Minnesota CAA Student Group and one of the volunteer coordinators for Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019. Read on to learn who encouraged her to go vegan, her involvement with the animal rights movement, and what she’s working toward while in school.

Who (or what) inspired you to go vegan? 
When I was 16 years old I was scouted by a modeling agency in New York and they told me that if I could lose weight they wanted to sign me to work with them. On my way home at the airport my grandma, who was with me, bought me a book called Skinny Bitch to help me lose weight. It wasn’t a big book and I finished it on the plane before I was home. I had no idea it was actually a book about veganism, but it is what ultimately introduced me to the plant-based diet. I didn’t think I could do it, but I tried it for a day which turned into a week, and before I knew it I had been on the diet for months.

Was it a linear process? 
For me, it definitely was not a linear process. When I first read the book that I previously mentioned, my main concern was all about weight-loss. After about a year of plant-based eating and trying to lose weight for a modeling career, I gave up on all of it, even being vegan. At that time I forgot about the animals who were also mentioned in the book. About a year after that I met someone who helped reintroduce me to veganism (it wasn’t hard). After that, I was plant-based for a couple of years. About three years ago I learned more about the animals and what they go through for animal-tested products and for products like leather and wool, and that’s when I really embraced the vegan lifestyle, cruelty-free toothpaste and all. My process was a mess, but at this point, I know I’ll be 100% vegan for the rest of my life.

What is your favorite way to advocate for the animals? 
Outreach! I really love talking with people about veganism. I’ve had so many good conversations with people and I’ve learned so much since I’ve started advocating for the animals. I also like protesting and working with the AV Cube.

How did you get involved with CAA? 
If I remember correctly, I think what happened was I googled vegan groups in the Twin Cities and found the CAA website. One of the events listed on there was video outreach on the UMN campus, so I showed up on the date and time listed on the website and met a really cool group of people doing some amazing stuff.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering?
There aren’t any animal rights groups that I am officially apart of, but I love meeting new people and going to activist events whenever I find them online. When I’m not volunteering I’m studying. I’m a full-time student, and I have a part-time job working as a medical scribe as well. When I’m not studying for my classes, my favorite hobby is studying languages.

What are you studying in school? 
I’m now majoring in Chemistry, French, and Arabic and minoring in Biochemistry. I really love being a student.

How does your major tie into what you are passionate about?
I’m passionate about learning and about languages, in which case what I’m studying is directly related to my passions. But I’m also a premedical student. I hope that once I’ve finished all my schooling, I can advocate for animals and champion a plant-based diet for health from a well-respected platform as a medical doctor.

What would you tell a new vegan to help them on their journey? 
I think the best advice I received when I first went vegan was to not be too hard on myself for mistakes and to take it one day at a time. For new vegans, mistakes can happen! Mistakes are a good opportunity to learn, don’t give up and don’t be beat yourself up. And even if you were vegan before and you did give up on it, you can always go vegan again!

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Are you a University of Minnesota student? Get involved with the UMN CAA Chapter! Visit our student group page to learn more about meeting times or our volunteer page to get involved.

October Eats | Vegan Recipe Club

If this month’s recipes are any indication (aside from the changing weather), we’re heading into fall. Selections for October include:

You can download this month’s recipes here.

Explore the Fall Flavors of the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge

If you’ve already gone to try some of the dishes as a part of the challenge, you know that they are gooooooood but if you haven’t, a picture is worth 1,000 words (and definitely the prelude to heading in for a taste). Check out these delicious, vegan specials available until October 20—and make sure to share your experience when you vote AND share photos from your visit on social with #tcveganchef to be entered into a weekly drawing!

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Local Heroes: Farm Sanctuaries

Hilda was so sick she couldn’t even stand. And the shadows swirling around her didn’t seem to care. She blacked out, and it’s lucky she did because where she was about to end up would almost surely have sealed her fate: on a pile of her dead friends. She wasn’t known as Hilda, then. But the soft bed of hay she found herself resting on when she came to was her start down a path to healing and love.

The farm sanctuary movement was born when Gene Baur rescued Hilda behind a Lancaster, Pennsylvania stockyard 1986. He sold vegan hotdogs out of his VW van in Grateful Dead concert parking lots to raise funds for his aptly-named Farm Sanctuary, where Hilda lived 10 long years. Today, there are about 100 sanctuaries across the United States with six in Minnesota and one in western Wisconsin. Let’s take a look at how our local sanctuaries are contributing to the movement.

Meet some of the sanctuaries around the Twin Cities

ANNA LAKE ANIMAL SANCTUARY IN UNDERWOOD SINCE 2017
Anna Lake is a microsanctuary that is home to 20 chickens, five ducks, and three cows. They provide rescue, education, and adoption. The microsanctuary movement believes that rescue can be just as effective on a small scale. annalakeanimalsanctuary.com

CHICKEN RUN RESCUE IN MINNEAPOLIS SINCE 2001
Chicken Run provides shelter, vet care, love, and adoptive homes to rescued chickens. They’re the only urban chicken rescue of its kind. They educate the public about how adopting animals impacts their lives and encourage all to help further positively impacting the lives of chickens by adopting a vegan diet. chickenrunrescue.org

FARMASTE IN LINDSTROM SINCE 2016
Farmaste offers rescue, a safe haven, and rehabilitation to unwanted, injured and abused farm animals. They offer many community outreach programs and camps to promote compassionate and mindful living that inspire folks to rethink what they can do to impact the lives of farmed animals. farmaste.org

LITTLE ACORN SANCTUARY IN CASTLE ROCK SINCE 2018
Little Acorn is Minnesota’s newest sanctuary and has big dreams about the role they will play in the lives of farm animals that have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. Their current residents include goats and chickens. They offer private tours, as well as volunteer opportunities. They work hard to educate the public about the harmful effects of factory farming. littleacornsanctuary.org

ROOSTER REDEMPTION IN CENTER CITY SINCE 2016
Rooster Redemption currently provides sanctuary for 23 abandoned, exploited, and mistreated roosters. They choose to refrain from giving regular public tours but can make special arrangements for visitors. roosterredemption.org

SPRING FARM SANCTUARY IN LONG LAKE SINCE 2016
Spring Farm was one of the first farm animal sanctuaries in Minnesota and is “committed to ending farm animal cruelty and promoting vegan living through our rescue, rehabilitation and education efforts.” Owner Robin cares for 20+ residents while educating the local community through events and tours about the environmental effects of industrial animal agriculture and the conditions animals endure. springfarmsanctuary.org

SOULSPACE FARM SANCTUARY IN NEW RICHMOND, WISCONSIN SINCE 2015
SoulSpace opened in 2015, has 40+ residents, and “works to inspire change in the way society views farm animals and support people in their quest to live a more compassionate lifestyle.” People of all ages can volunteer or take a tour. They host one- and four-day education programs. And in 2017, owner Kara opened a vegan Airbnb (guests are asked not to consume animal products on sanctuary grounds during their stay) on her farmhouse’s upper level to further fund and fulfill their mission. soulspacesanctuary.org

Meet Pancake (left) and Martin, friends, and residents of Little Acorn Sanctuary. Pancake wears a bell so Martin, who is blind, can find him.

More than just a home

Minnesota and Wisconsin are fortunate to be home to so many of these important allies in the animal rights movement. Their residents experience healing and the chance to be themselves. Visitors learn how advocating for changes to factory farming and adopting a plant-based diet can make an impact. Volunteers put their passion for animal rights into action through direct care and education.

At their heart, farm sanctuaries are safe spaces of change and healing for both their residents and surrounding communities. We are so grateful for the work these sanctuaries and their residents do! Each year, CAA organizes group visits to some of our local sanctuaries. To pre-register for one of these life-changing trips, visit exploreveg.org/events or email info@exploreveg.org to learn more and get involved.

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This article was originally published in the 2019 issue of Twin Cities Veg Living.

Emily Kampa is a writer, animal lover, and foodie. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her wife Laura and their American Staffordshire Terrier, Pip.

A Leader in Calling for Pollinator Rights | Bee Free Honee

This summer, local-based Bee Free Honee announced that they would be shutting down their operations. We met with founder and creator, Katie Sanchez, to talk about her honee’s start, the journey it took her on, and facts about these often misunderstood and abused animals.

A sweet start

Katie created the project by chance during her days of working as pastry chef for Whole Foods when trying to make apple jelly for the first time. Katie explains, “I didn’t want to make jelly with gelatin and I didn’t want it to be so sweet.” After it didn’t turn out the way she had planned, she canned the jelly and left it overnight to find a honey-like substance in the morning.

“At the time, when I thought about the vegan pastries we were making for Whole Foods, we didn’t have a lot of options for sweeteners. I had always wished we could use something like honey that was light and would let lemon or vanilla bean come through, and so I thought this could be a really cool gift for my fellow vegan bakers,” recalls Katie.

Her cousin asking, “why not make it a business of your own?” prompted Katie to turn her researching and consideration of the honey into a reality and work toward bringing it to market.

Flower Pollen Infused Bee Free Honee has all the nutrition you’d hope to find in raw bee honey but is vegan, from pollen sourced straight from the flower. (Photo from Bee Free Honee)

A honey ahead of its time

The honey was not only a great alternative for vegans, but for all human children and folks who are allergic to honey. (Children are advised not to eat honey due to their young age).

In a time where an increasing number of analogs are being developed for eggs, dairy, and fish and land animal flesh there weren’t direct analogs out there for honey.

Growth and time on Shark Tank

Katie and her business partner made an appearance on Shark Tank as well, where they learned how to explain their product and the importance of protecting pollinator rights when appearing in front of the sharks.

“When I started I didn’t realize the depth of the honey controversy,” recalls Katie. “My dad and his retired beekeeping buddies were all excited about it. I thought that this product can only do good. I was not in any way prepared for the level of disruption that was ready to ensue upon me.”

Katie started out with the original, and then came out with Slippery Elm, which aimed to help soothe throats and calm upset stomachs, before she learned how to make flower pollen infused bee free honee, which had flower pollen extracts custom blended to create a full profile of all the nutrients in the measurement that would equal raw bee honey. “We were the only honey on the market that had a nutrition panel that listed all of the nutrients inside in every tablespoon. No other honey could do that because every pollen profile has a different nutrient profile and it would be too expensive to test every individual honey.”

Katie realized the criticism and slow reception to the honee wasn’t about nutrition, but perhaps something deeper. “Today, I think people are a little more ready to hear the message. I’m hoping that we were at least able to break through and pave the way for the next person,” reflects Katie. “I’m not going to stop trying to help our pollinators and putting information out there, and hopefully the ripple effect will help our pollinators.”

“Starting a business with a mission is really challenging. You have to learn as you go and be accepting. We’re all trying to be the best we can in the world. If we’re really going to save lives, the world, and our humanity, then we have to meet anger with love and acceptance.”

We need to stop undermining our pollinators and work to support them, which starts with not eating their honey or taking any of their other secretions.

Honey is a health food—for bees

Roughly one third of honey being sold in the United States is produced domestically, while the rest is imported from around the world. What’s more—over three-fourths of what is sold in the US is ultra-filtered to remove the pollen.

“Producers call it honey because it comes from a bee, but because there’s no real definition, they can call it honey and get away with it,” explained Katie.

Filtering helps exporters and importers disguise where their honey is from (as pollen is the only way to identify where honey is from) and import honey potentially contaminated with heavy metals and illegal antibiotics. Learn more about honey laundering here.

The most alarming of this all is that during a time with climate change, disease, and other factors wreaking havoc on pollinator populations, we are taking the “surplus” honey from bees, which isn’t actually surplus, but stores of honey each hive sets aside for consumption in hard times (including winter) to sustain their population. Producing honey is no small feat—during a bee’s lifetime, he will only make approximately 1/12 teaspoon of honey and to make one pound of honey, a colony will have to visit over two million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour according to the Utah County Beekeepers Association.

It’s difficult to determine what is a “surplus” in honey from hive to hive and large-scale beekeepers often remove all or most of it and replace it with a sugar or corn syrup substitute, which is nutritionally deficient and eventually makes bee populations sick. Farming also often limits bees’ diet to monoculture crops and introduces large amounts of pesticides into their systems and can lead to farmed hives crowding out wild pollinators.

“How is this a positive thing for this insect that’s being trucked around the United States, being exposed to every climate in an unnatural manner? Every orchard and grove uses a different pesticide, so they’re being exposed to every pesticide. It’s not just one truck coming in, it’s multiple trucks from all over the US. If one hive is contaminated with mites and another is healthy, by morning, the mites will have moved over to the healthy hive so that it’s contaminated as well,” explains Katie. “Bees are being exposed to everything simultaneously, their food is being taken, queens are being swapped out of hives unnaturally and regularly so that the queen is productive, and we ask ourselves, ‘What’s happening? Why are the bees in decline?’ It’s not a mystery. We’re doing everything we can to kill them.”

“Bees are being exposed to everything simultaneously, their food is being taken, queens are being swapped out of hives unnaturally and regularly so that the queen is productive, and we ask ourselves, ‘What’s happening? Why are the bees in decline?’ It’s not a mystery. We’re doing everything we can to kill them.”

Another bee “ingredient” to watch out for is bee venom, which is collected by randomly shocking bees as they try to enter their hive. It can be found in face masks and other personal care products.

Pollinators in peril

Pollution, chemicals, disease, and climate change are all contributing to shrinking and shifting pollinator populations.

With over 35% of the world’s food supply relying on pollinators to some degree, it’s impossible to imagine a well-fed future without pollinators. In addition to facilitating the creation of the food we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife.

How to support pollinators

You may be reading and wondering, “But what can I do?!” Luckily, there are some excellent ways to support bees and other pollinators.

If you have access to land, start by planting a pollinator garden! Did you know Washington state has a pollinator path running through it? It started with a woman getting permission from the city to plant a pollinator-friendly garden between the sidewalk and the street near her house and grew when her neighbor saw it and decided to replicate it in their yard. It took years to grow as neighbors joined in and created more and more of the pollinator path.

  • Stop buying into the monoagricultural system. Buying and planting the same types of plants from large stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard’s, etc.) leads to nondiversified nutrition for pollinators, plus the plants that are purchased from these stores often have seeds that are impregnated with pesticides so they last longer and people won’t return them (but consequently make pollinators sick!)
  • You can look for plants that are indigenous to your area that are pollinator friendly (including Beebalm, Pale Purple Coneflower, Sunflower, Joe-Pye Weed, and Yarrow) that you can plant in your neighborhood that don’t come from big box stores.
  • Don’t destroy your dandelions—they are the first food sources for pollinators.
  • Get involved with your city—Check out what they’re already doing and ask them to plant pollinator-friendly plants and allow them to grow wild without intervention.
  • Stop buying honey, beeswax, and other products carrying bee secretions and share why you’re not buying them with others.

Thank you Katie and Bee Free Honee for being a voice for pollinators and calling for their protection. You have inspired many across the country to join you, and your honee will be missed.

Twin Cities Veg Fest Food Guide

One of the most exciting parts of the festival is THE FOOD! Each year, the festival keeps growing and so do the flavors! And from food trucks, to bakeries, to sauce companies, and more, there are a lot of flavors to experience at the festival.

Before their big reveal on Sunday, take a peek at the list of the businesses bringing Instagram-worthy treats and meals for you to enjoy at Twin Cities Veg Fest between attending cooking demos, inspiring speakers, listening to the awesome music lineup, and visiting with the 100+ non-food exhibitors that include sanctuaries, other animal rights organizations, local and national businesses, and more!

We’ve included just a few of the posts we caught on social of food that will be at the festival—there will be SO MUCH MORE and we can’t wait to see your pics! Be sure to #tcvegfest — where will you visit first?

Reverie is bringing jackfruit bulgogi, watermelon poke, and other summer favorites along with some exciting news!!

The Herbivorous Butcher is bringing a trio of sliders and other veg classics—YUM!

The J. Mobile will be bringing Jamabalaya and Tinga Tamales (exclusive menu items) along with their Dirty Secret sliders—can you believe??

Read on to search for new and familiar names on the food list and check out the entire 2019 festival map here. See you Sunday!

A10-A11 Miss Garrett’s Vegan Soul
A12-A13 Foxy Falafel
A20-A21 The J. Mobile
A4 These Wingz?
A8 Fig + Farro
A9 Simplistic Project
B11-B13 Free Indeed Food
B14 Justveggiez
B16 Tiny Footprint Coffee
B22-B23 Reverie Mobile Kitchen
B4 Saint Pops
B6 Pizza Luce
B7 Soul Bowl
B8 Root to Rise Kitchen
C1-C2 Peace Coffee
C11 Vixed Baking Company
C12 Keiko’s Kitchen
C17 Vegetables Are Cool
C19-C20 Tori 44
C28-C29 K Town Street Foods
C30 PLNT BSD
C41 Atlas Provisions
C42 Sanitas Foods
C45-C46 VB & J’s
C49 Superior Small Batch
C7 Tibet Momo
C8 North Coast Organics
C9-C10 Crofter’s Organic
D1-D2 The Herbivorous Butcher Food Truck
D10 Superior Switchel
D12 RachCakes
D13 Koru Kombucha
D14 Kakookies
D15-D16 Borealis Bowls Food Truck
D17 Hope’s Vegan Kitchen
D18 Prairie Vegan Pies
D19 Rouge Smoked Foods
D20 Totally Baked Donuts
D21 Daisy’s Cafe II
D22 Follow Your Heart
D29 Vegan Mama’s Bakery
D31 Grlk
D33-D34 Sweet Gypsy Waffle
D35 Choosy Cookie Co.
D38-D39 Fresh Sugarcane Juice
D42 Mod Kitsch
D44 Innate Foods
D45-D46 Sssdude-Nutz
D47-D48 Fro Yo Soul
D5 Coconut Whisk Baking Co.
D6 Rawr Organics
D7 Jajja Wellness
D8-D9 KCM EggRolls
E11 Irie Vybz Jamaican Restaurant
E12 Wholly Veggie!
E13 Radical Eats
E14 K-Mama Sauce
E15 Maazah Chutney
E16 Beyond Better Cashew Sauce & Dip Mixes
E17 Sara’s Tipsy Pies
E18-E19 Evan’s Organic Eatery
E21 Jasmine Deli
E24 Green Garden Bakery
E25-E26 Rooted Green Wellness
E3 Trio Plant-Based
E5 Seed Cafe
E6 Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet
E7 EcuaFry
E8 Sünabloom
E9 Muddy Tiger – Indian Street Food
F1 – F3 So Good So You

Speaking of food, make sure to get your ticket for Veg Island Jam so you can stick around after the festival and try the awesome Jasmine Deli is creating to go with the sweet local lineup of up and coming Twin Cities based bands. Tickets are $20 before the festival and go to $25 at the door.

Special Features of the 2019 Festival!

We can’t wait to welcome you to this year’s festival! We’ve got a bunch of new things as well as returning favorites. This week, check out the festival zones made possible by our sponsors.

Metro Transit Zero Waste Area

Biking, walking, and arriving by car are all options to get to #tcvegfest 2019, and we’re most excited to announce that our Zero-Waste Sponsor, Metro Transit, will be offering free rides from Union Depot to the festival!

Be sure to claim your free ride to Twin Cities Veg Fest here!

Pizza Luce Water Area

Be sure to bring a water bottle to fill up at the Pizza Luce sponsored water area!

Spring Farm Sanctuary Cooking Demos

They say that food is the way to the heart and we couldn’t agree more! Check out one or all of the four FREE cooking demos (that come with delicious samples!!) sponsored by Spring Farm Sanctuary.

Reverie Volunteer Area

Volunteering? Stop by the Reverie-sponsored volunteer area before or after your shift to enjoy a free drink and to relax.

Did you know that volunteers get a free Twin Cities Veg Fest t-shirt AND a free ticket to Veg Island Jam? Sign up here to volunteer at the festival and claim your Veg Island Jam ticket!

The Stanford Inn and Resort VIP Area

The Stanford Inn and Resort is sponsoring our VIP Area for all speakers, cooking demo presenters, committee members, and sponsors. Be sure to visit their booth where you can plan a trip to CA or bring their luxurious meals home with an award-winning cookbook!

The Wildcat Sanctuary Family Area

Coming with your little ones? Be sure to visit The Wildcat Sanctuary Family Area at Twin Cities Veg Fest!

So Good So You Main Stage

We’ve got a full lineup of music and inspiring speakers at the Main Stage, sponsored by So Good So You. You won’t want to miss trying out their Digestive juice shot—they’ll be passing them out FREE to every attendee at the main entrance! Learn more about them here.

US Solar Ask a Dietitian Area

Got a nutrition question? Ask an expert at the US Solar sponsored Ask a Dietitian area, staffed by veg-friendly dietitians all day! And if you’ve got a question about solar power—like how you can get solar without a panel on your roof—be sure to stop by their nearby booth!

Want to get more tips about how to have a blast at the festival? Check out our First Time Attendees’ Guide to Twin Cities Veg Fest!

First Time Attendees’ Guide to Twin Cities Veg Fest

Twin Cities Veg Fest is now the biggest plant-based festival in the Midwest. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend this year on September 15 at Harriet Island Regional Park. Admission is free and every attendee will get a free juice shot from main stage sponsor So Good So You. If you’re considering attending the festival for the first time, here are a few tips to make your first Twin Cities Veg Fest experience the best it can be.

Tip #1 – Come hungry.

While there are plenty of things to do at the festival that aren’t eating, food is still the main event. Anyone who comes to the festival with a full belly will be facing some serious FOMO moments.

Tip #2 – Bring a water bottle and plenty of Tupperwares.

The festival aims to be a zero waste event, which means the festival’s planning committee has been hard at work to ensure that over 90% of what’s used is compostable or recyclable. The water area can help you stay hydrated with your own water bottle and bringing your own reusable containers can further reduce the resources needed to operate this event. Plus, this way, you can take home any of the food you’re eyeing that your stomach runs out of room for. If you do this right, you could be basking in the glow of Twin Cities Veg Fest for days to come!

Tip #3 – Take advantage of a free ride.

You can reduce your impact on the environment even further by walking, biking, or using public transit to get to the festival. Thanks to our partnership with Metro Transit, the festival is able to offer free transit for festival-goers. This is a great way to make your travel to and from the festival free and easy.

Tip #4 – Attend with friends.

The festival is most fun when shared. Plus, you’ll get to taste test even more delicious foods when you come with friends or family. Don’t know anyone who wants to come? Volunteering is a great way to meet new folks. You can also pick up a bingo card at the Twin Cities Veg Fest or CAA tables that can serve as a way to get to know others.

Tip #5 – Come early and/or stay late.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is wildly popular, growing dramatically each year. And there’s a good reason for that. So why not make a full day of it? If you’re one of the first people to arrive at the festival, you can avoid long lines and enjoy a free swag bag if you’re one of the first 250 attendees. If you stay late, you can take part in Veg Island Jam, featuring a great line-up of local bands, a cash bar, and unique food items for purchase. Tickets available here.

Tip #6 – Choose a speaker and cooking demo to attend.

This year’s line-up of speakers and cooking demos is fantastic. It’s a can’t miss opportunity to learn for free from local and national leaders in plant-based cooking and animal advocacy. The speakers offer plenty of inspiration and ideas for how to become a more effective advocate for a compassionate world. And whatever your experience level, the chefs offer helpful ideas and tips for becoming a more skilled and confident cook of plant-based foods. Stay until the end to enjoy the tasty free samples!

Tip #7 – Be an adventurous eater.

One of the best parts of the festival is trying new and unique foods. Keep an open mind and take advantage of unique items or foods you can’t normally find in a local brick and mortar location. Haven’t found a vegan cheese you like? Surprise yourself with the Cheese Curds from Radical Eats. Think mac and cheese doesn’t belong inside an “egg roll?” Think again and try Root to Rise’s amazing Mac & Cheese Vegrolls. Some of the other unique offerings include twinkies from Prairie Vegan Pies, the plant-based wings from Chicago’s These Wingz, and the Vegan Snickers Bar from Mod Kitsch. 

Tip #8 – Share your experience on social media.

One of the simplest and most effective forms of advocacy is sharing how delicious and fun plant-based eating can be. And you will have plenty of examples of that at the festival. For instance, check out the pineapple smoothie from Jasmine Deli, which is served in a real pineapple. Look out, Instagram!

You can inspire people to try out plant-based eating for themselves by showing your social media followers how exciting vegan foods can be! Use the hashtag #tcvegfest when you post about the festival and to find other’s posts.

Tip #9 – Don’t forget about the non-food elements of the festival.

The food is amazing, and usually steals the show. But there’s so much else to enjoy! Relax in the grass near the mainstage and soak in the live music. Learn about local animal sanctuaries. Sign up for solar. Stock up on gifts and self-care items like cruelty-free and vegan soaps, deodorants, lip balms, and more. There’s even face and body painting!

Tip #10 – Plan for the weather.

Twin Cities fall weather is often unpredictable. Check the forecast before you head out to see if you’ll be more comfortable in a summer outfit or warmer layers. Depending on what is predicted, you may also want to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, or an umbrella. 

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019 is sure to be our biggest and best festival yet. We’re so glad to have you join us for this fun-filled celebration of compassion! For more information, visit https://www.tcvegfest.com.

Top 10 Things to Know About So Good So You at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019

10. FREE SHOTS and coupons. Yes that’s right—we know you’re going to eat yourself silly with all the amazing veggie goodies at the festival, so we gotchu! Every single person at the festival gets a free Digestion shot and coupons for $1 off our products at partner grocery stores! Powered by organic apple cider vinegar, ginger, apple and carrot juices and 1 Billion probiotic CFUs, it’ll help your belly feel better, fast. Until the next round of vegan nachos. Cheers! 

9. For the Love of Body & Planet, the company’s tagline, captures our mission to inspire people to embrace eating more plants because it is awesome for our health, and the health of the environment. 

8. So Good So You products are now available in over 30 states and 3000 grocery store locations found here, and, we ship nationwide via Amazon Prime. Downtown skyway warriors can get their fill of delicious smoothies, salads and plant-protein bowls and snacks at our two Minneapolis skyway locations

7. We operate a Zero Waste facility. Through multiple programs at our retail cafes and manufacturing facility and offices, we currently divert over 94% of our company’s waste away from landfills and are constantly looking for ways to do better. 

6. Our products are made with 100% sustainable energy. That’s right, wind energy provided by Excel Energy. If you’re an Excel customer, you likely have the opportunity to opt in to use some or all sustainable wind source energy for your home, too! Check out how here

5. Sticking up for Mother Earth—we’re all about environmental activism. We are constantly talking about how we can do more to help—recently, our team volunteered to Do So Good on Earth Day—we picked up trash to clean up city parks and walked the Earth Day 5k! The team is planning our next event, So Soon! 

4. We ship nationwide in a Zero Waste shipping container. It’s pretty cool! The outer box is made of FSC certified, recycled corrugate. You recycle this. The insulation is made of a corn-based fiber. You cut the pouches containing the insulation and run the “foam” insulation under water. It dissolves, and is totally non-toxic, then you recycle the pouch it was in. Those big ice bricks keeping your juices nice and chilled? Also non-toxic! Just cut open the pouch and run the non-toxic gel coolant down the drain. As for our bottles—they’re made of recycled and recyclable plastic, and we are working on being able to launch an industry leading “better bottle” that will have a relatively insignificant environmental impact. Stay tuned! 

3. We were excited to learn that planting 1 trillion trees can reverse climate change and we’re constantly looking for ways to do more! 

2. You can help us plant trees! Follow us on Instagram and we’ll donate to plant a tree on your behalf. Use #SoGoodTCvegfest2019 to help spread the love!

  1. So Good So You is a local company. Founded in 2014 by entrepreneur husband and wife team Rita Katona and Eric Hall, all products are made right here in the Twin Cities. Learn more about our story here

Volunteer Shout-Out: 2019 Festival Planning Committee – Part 5

Dedication, creative vision, and passion. The Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee is short on none, and it shows—our festival has grown to be the largest Veg Fest in the Midwest, attracting over 9,000 attendees in 2018.

Some members are serving on the committee for the first time, while others have returned to help make this year’s festival the biggest and best yet and they can’t wait for you to experience it. This week, meet part of the team behind this year’s festival.

Jodi Miller Gruhn

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I work on social strategy and spreading the word about Twin Cities Veg Fest. My goal this year is to increase engagement on the festival social media channels by delivering interesting content and experimenting to see what drives engagement.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I’d been following CAA ongoings and work for years and had attended the festival in the past. I often felt the tug to get involved and I finally jumped in last year! 

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

What I love most about the festival is seeing in real time just how much plant-based has caught on. People are incredibly curious to learn more and try new foods—they are genuinely excited to be there! I also love that the festival embraces people wherever they are and for whatever the reason is that fuels their interest in the festival.

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I had been vegetarian for many years and had never really thought I’d go fully plant-based. Quite honestly what drew me to becoming 100% plant-based was social media. Social media brought me information that had always been accessible, but delivered it directly to me. I could no longer deny or ignore the truths that were presented to me each time I checked my feed. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

Life has been over taken by the purchase and slow renovation of a big mid-century modern house “with potential.” My vision for this home is to make it a hub for beautiful plant-based dinner parties and events with the goal of making plant-based more accessible to my amazing network of human beings.

Maggie Simmons

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the Instagram Coordinator!

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

Got involved with CAA in 2017 when I first moved to Minnesota and my first activity was handing out Twin Cities Veg Fest fliers with Sarah Matanah!

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of the festival is seeing everyone enjoying and loving all different kinds of vegan food. 

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I am drawn to the veg lifestyle out of the desire to cause the least amount of harm possible to animals and the planet. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

I am the Communications and Marketing Associate for KIPP Minnesota, a charter school region. I enjoy running, swimming, reading, cooking, and playing with my PUPPY!

Dyne Stephenson

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the Food Vendor Coordinator. I have been focusing on sending out recruitment e-mails to past and possible new vendors, answering questions, etc. We aimed to recruit more minority-owned food vendors this year.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I have been involved with CAA since 2013 after having Bridges of Respect speak to my high school students. After volunteering for a number of CAA activities, I volunteered as the Speaker Coordinator for the Twin Cities Veg Fest committee in 2017. The last two years I have been the Food Vendor Coordinator on the committee.

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of Twin Cities Veg Fest has always been the food choices. It was very satisfying last year to be a part of the food vendor recruitment and then to see all the vendors at Harriet Island. I’m looking forward to seeing it all again but in even greater numbers this year.

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I met my lovely wife-to-be, Roberta, in 1989 and she was vegetarian. A big influence but what pushed me over the edge was when we went to see Alex Pacheco, co-founder of PETA, speak in Colorado 28 years ago and he had a slide show. I went vegan that night. The biggest part for me has always been not participating in animal mistreatment, torture, and death, and trying to influence others to feel the same.  

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

I am a Social Studies and Personal Finance teacher at an alternative school in the Robbinsdale School District. I have two sons, Nations (24) and Henry (16). I enjoy tennis, disc golf, reading, walking, cycling, kayaking, playing guitar, and hanging with Roberta, Henry, and my three cat companions.

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Twin Cities Veg Fest is our biggest event of the year, and we need lots of enthusiastic volunteers to help make it a success. Sign up here to be a volunteer and help make this awesome vegan Minnesota get together happen!

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