Fall on Campus: What’s Going On?

A food giveaway at Augsburg University

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) is fortunate to have not one, but two student chapters in the Twin Cities. The chapters at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg University campuses have fast become hubs for more peer-to-peer advocacy. Fun fact: the two campuses happen to be anchored around the Hard Times Cafe, a local vegan and vegetarian restaurant.

We connected with Marina Kirkeide, chair of the University of Minnesota chapter and Haley Hastings, chair of the Augsburg University chapter to learn about how their groups are doing and what they have planned for this fall semester.

“Overall, our group is doing pretty well. We have about 12 really consistent members right now with more that come and go a bit, but you can do a lot of events with 12 people participating,” said Marina. “I think most members are here because they want support with their lifestyle, but most came to that lifestyle because of the animals and a smaller portion for health and environmental reasons.”

The Augsburg group is newer than the University of Minnesota group, having started spring 2018. “One member of my group felt very isolated because she didn’t know any other vegans before coming to the club,” said Haley. “It’s good to have a sense of community.” Members of the small but strong group went vegan for the animals and invite all (vegan and non-vegan alike) who are curious about plant-based living and animal rights.

Both prioritize making their groups a safe, inclusive space for all members to learn, grow, and explore compassionate, plant-based living together in their roles as chapter chair.

“Our group has some staple events like pay-per-view, food giveaway, bake sale, and dine-outs but I think the real point is just having a place to meet with like-minded people every week,” said Marina about the University of Minnesota chapter. “A lot of people do not get much support or help from friends and family when they become vegan or vegetarian, so it’s nice to have a place to share experiences whether that be venting or small victories. My favorite thing about the group is definitely the friendships I have made and seen other people make.”

In the past year at the University of Minnesota, the biggest change has been that meetings have become a lot more focused on activities for students and less on the planning of events. The majority of the planning is instead done by students in leadership roles, enabling other members to focus on being present at their advocacy events.

“In addition to two food giveaways and a planned farm sanctuary trip, I’d love for the club to be involved with the spring environmental fair at Augsburg,” said Haley. “I’m mainly focused on growing the group and making people aware of us.”

The existence and growth of the two groups indicate an exciting shift toward more people practicing compassionate, plant-based living. Students doing peer-to-peer advocacy create events that end up reaching more folks, contributing to a larger future impact. We are grateful for our student chapters and the work they do!

If you’re a college student in the Twin Cities who is looking to become involved with one of our CAA student groups, visit our campus page to learn more. (High school students are welcome, too!) Weekly meetings have started up for this fall semester, and we have other upcoming volunteer opportunities listed here.

Photos from the 2018 Festival

160+ volunteers

100+ vendors

9,000 attendees

These are some of the numbers that describe the 2018 Twin Cities Veg Fest. This year’s festival was full of thoughtful presentations, exciting conversations, performances, and delicious food. Numbers are great, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Luckily, we’ve got a ton of pictures to show you how we Twin Cities Veg-Fested. Special thanks to our awesome volunteer photographers!

To see even more photos from Sunday (or share some of your own!), check out our Instagram feed and search for photos with the hashtags #tcvegfest or #tcvegfest18.

Have You Tried Seed Cafe?

Seed Cafe is one of the newest all-vegan businesses opening around the Twin Cities. Focusing on simple, plant-based meals like salads, rice bowls, and wraps and giving some vegan comfort classics like ice cream a healthy twist, the cafe is currently in its soft opening phase. They also have a lot of gluten-free options and a coffee bar.

This past weekend, they were open for an 11 – 1pm brunch as a part of their soft open, offering mouth-watering options like a chickpea frittata, scrambled tofu breakfast burrito, kale caesar salad, the infamous millennial favorite – avocado toast – and more.

We couldn’t get enough of their breakfast sandwich on focaccia with their now-forever-known-as-magical cheese aioli and avocado combination. (We ate it too quickly for a photo, oops.)

Ryann and Phil Doucette decided to open the cafe next door to their Modo Yoga franchise in the Calhoun Village shopping center at 3253 W Lake St after the space opened up. Seed Cafe marks their second restaurant endeavor – prior to moving their yoga practice to Minneapolis, they operated a cafe in Canada.

Whether you’re looking to get your brunch on after yoga, get a snack from their fresh grab and go, or hang out for a couple of hours, Seed Cafe has you covered. 

The bright, open cafe will be open this week for more breakfast and lunch! Check out their website for their soft open hours and take a peek at their menu.

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2018 Recap

















This year marked some big additions for Twin Cities Veg Fest. We were in a new event space (thank you Harriet Island Regional Park!) and hosted 100+ vendors, new activities, more cooking demonstrations, roundtable discussions, more transportation options, and a 21+ After-Party. We even added music which included performances by the RedBone Singers, YaLonda Lolar Johnson, The Peace Life, The Sun Singers, Mistress Ginger and her band, Mary Bue, and DJ WAGZ. 


















Festival food favorites included jackfruit nachos from Reverie, cheeze curds from Radical Eats and Herbivorous Butcher, pineapple smoothies from Jasmine Deli, and so many more delicious options from over 25 food vendors. These Wingz? even came all the way from Chicago, IL to sling their BBQ and buffalo seitan-based wings. These vendors showed that plant-based options can be fun, delicious, hand-held, and extremely satisfying.

This year’s festival was pulled together by a 24-person planning committee, supported by 160+ volunteers, and enjoyed by over 9,000 attendees. Wow!

To put that in perspective, 2017’s festival hosted 15 food vendors, 70 exhibitors total, had 150 volunteers, a 10-person planning committee, and entertained over 7,000 attendees. 

Whether you attended, presented, or volunteered at the event, thank you for making Sunday possible. Your participation in Twin Cities Veg Fest contributed to the momentum of the plant-based movement sweeping the country. Together, we moved the ball forward for the animals!

To see more photos from Sunday, check out our Instagram feed and stay tuned for more video and photos released from the festival. Have some of your own to share? Post on social media and #tcvegfest!

Swag Bags Are Back!

Thanks to generous donor contributions, we’ll be handing out official Twin Cities Veg Fest swag bags to the first 225 attendees! To get yours, make sure to arrive early and get in line Sunday morning at 151 W Water Street (the official festival entrance).

Don’t want to wait until then to find out what’s in the bags? We’ve got you covered. This year’s swag bags will contain:

  • Upton’s curry dinner
  • Yelp tote bag
  • Orgain protein powder
  • Reverie coupon for a free dessert or side and veggie tattoo
  • Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling drink cozy
  • Nogurt pin and information
  • Bryan Schumann free music download
  • Sssdude-Nutz coaster
  • Farmaste Animal Sanctuary, Caravan Vet, The Stanford Inn and Resort, and Compassionate Action for Animals information

Dreaming of more Twin Cities Veg Fest swag? Official festival t-shirts will be available for purchase during the festival. Want yours for free? Sign up to volunteer Sunday at bit.ly/tcvegfest18vol to make a difference at the festival AND get a festival shirt!

Meet Our New Communications Coordinator!

A couple of weeks ago, Compassionate Action for Animals announced that a new Communications Coordinator had been selected. Emily Nyberg began working with CAA yesterday, September 4th.

Emily pictured holding Lenny the dog
Emily and Lenny the dog

Emily initially connected with CAA at several of the events we run and attend around Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Twin Cities Veg Fest and Twin Cities Pride. What struck her about the conversations she had with volunteers at events was the approach CAA uses to help individuals reconsider the impact their consumption habits have on farmed animals, our communities, and the environment.

Emily comes with non-profit and for-profit marketing experience, having interned for a number of non-profits, including Minnesota Opera, Vintage Band Festival, and Sing for Joy, a radio station based in Northfield, MN. While at St. Olaf College, she worked on their Music Entertainment Committee (MEC), a student-run organization that produced music events for the student body. Emily held several positions during her four years on the committee, from Marketing Communications Officer to Committee Coordinator. During her time on the committee, she most enjoyed connecting with other student-led groups to produce unique events for students to experience.

She has spent the past two years on the marketing team at Parsons Electric, an electrical and technologies contractor, where she focused on video and graphics content creation for social media campaigns and sales. One of the video series she produced in 2017 was recognized by the Construction Marketing Association after a successful email outreach campaign, receiving their 2017 CMA STAR award for Video. While at Parsons, she also wrote, designed, and distributed a new internal newsletter that informed employees about what was going on companywide.

“Each organization I’ve worked with has encouraged me to expand professionally and gain new perspectives to approach the way I work to support their mission,” said Emily of her previous work experiences. “I look forward to moving back into non-profit work, being a full-time animal advocate with CAA, and getting more involved with the Twin Cities vegan community.”

Emily (pictured right) standing with Hayden (on left) outside the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
Emily (right) with Hayden at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, August 2018

Emily was drawn to apply for the Communications Coordinator position by CAA’s continued work towards educating the Twin Cities community about the farming industrial complex and making resources supporting a compassionate, plant-based diet accessible and sustainable for all. She believes it’s important to continue to talk about the animals and “why vegan?” even after committing to a vegan lifestyle in order to continue to strengthen and grow the community.

She is excited to support our community outreach events and potlucks and connect with more CAA volunteers. A large project she plans to start this year is the development of a communications plan for CAA that matches our mission and increases volunteer conversion.

When Emily is not working in support of the animals, you’re likely to find her in the kitchen veganizing different dishes with her boyfriend Hayden, singing, studying herbalism, exploring Minnesota with friends and family, or behind the counter at Healing Elements, a yoga and wellness studio in St. Paul.

We are excited to welcome Emily to the team. She will be at the 2018 Twin Cities Veg Fest and 21+ Veg Fest After Party on September 16. You can meet her there and join our celebration of the growing Twin Cities veg community!

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Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 18, 2020 - Saturday, October 10, 2020

Veg Up the Market! – Saturdays July 18 – October 10, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020 - Monday, August 31, 2020

Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge 2020

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Volunteer Appreciation Open House