Emily

Reflections on the 2019 Animal Rights National Conference

Each year, the Animal Rights National Conference is held to connect animal activists so that we can share experiences and victories from the past year, ideas, and more with each other. We are a growing movement, and there is always room for us to work better together to change the lives of animals and the world for the better.

Read on to hear about some of the reflections and experiences our group had at this year’s Animal Rights National Conference.

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Julie with Justin at Poplar Spring Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland

This was my second year attending the conference. I find the experience of being around hundreds of like-minded advocates incredibly energizing and inspiring. One of the most memorable pieces of the conference for me was a session by Mercy for Animals called Measuring and Evaluating our Impact. This session gave me ideas for how we at CAA can quantify and communicate the real change we are making for farmed animals. After the conference ended, we visited Poplar Spring Sanctuary to enjoy some much-needed time with the animals. It was the cherry on top of an amazing vegan sundae!

Julie Knopp

Yunuén with a resident at Poplar Spring Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland

On July 25th-28th, I was privileged to attend the 10th Annual Animal Rights Conference. I mean it when I say this: it was a life-changing experience. 


I’ve been vegan for over seven years now. This whole time, I felt that I was doing “enough” in my vegan lifestyle—simply by not: consuming, wearing, buying, or using products tested on animals when in fact, veganism is more than just that. There’s politics and realities behind veganism that I feel have always been right in front of me, but I never stopped to listen or acknowledge them. I’ve always been the passive activist that occasionally shares the realities in the cruelties behind animal consumption or exploitation. My friends and family know that I don’t consume any animal products, but I haven’t gotten in depth as to the the big question, “But why not?” The workshops and plenaries helped me learn how to answer those questions and how to live by it. The love and passion that other vegans shared during the conference rubbed off on me and helped me strive to be on “their level.” I used to say that we should advocate for the voiceless, but I learned that just because we can’t speak or understand an animal’s language, doesn’t mean that they’re mute. It simply means that we just need to stop, breathe, and listen. The hands-on workshops, along with the #ImNotLovinIt Campaign silent protest I participated in was exhilarating. My original reasoning behind adopting, adapting, and transforming my life into veganism wasn’t just due to the yummy vegan foods. Knowing me, I love to fight for what’s right and and thankful for CAA sponsoring my attendance at the Animal Rights National Conference. They added fuel to the fire that ignites within me for my Animal Friends and Mother Earth. 


If you’re considering attending next year’s Animal Rights National Conference (ARNC), PLEASE communicate your interest to Laura Matanah, CAA Director. You will NOT regret it.

Yunuén Ávila

Lydia with Remi at Poplar Spring Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland

This was my first time attending the National Animal Rights Conference. It was extremely rewarding to learn about the different facets and methods of activism in the animals rights movement. I also really enjoyed getting to meet people from different walks of life, who all shared a common passion. It is an experience that I am grateful to have had, and I hope to continue attending Animal Rights conferences in the years to come! 

Lydia Green

Josh with Remi at Poplar Spring Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland

As a first-time attendee to the conference and as someone new to the movement, I enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere and sense of community that was present. I was surprised by how accessible leaders of organizations were, many making themselves available to chat between sessions. It created a sense of immediacy to their causes, such as Shirley McGreal’s International Primate Protection League, where I was able to talk with her directly about the work she’s doing with primates. I feel that after the conference I am more prepared to speak to the causes I am fighting for and left with a clearer idea of how to find my path forward as an individual activist and volunteer promoting animal rights. 

Josh Truong

On returning home after the 2019 Animal Rights National Conference

Each year, the Animal Rights National Conference is held to connect animal activists so that we can share experiences and victories from the past year, ideas, and more with each other. We are a growing movement, and there is always room for us to work better together to change the lives of animals and the world for the better.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing reflections from other volunteers who attended this year’s Animal Rights National Conference. We can’t wait for you to hear about their experiences at the conference and what they learned!

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Written by Laura Matanah

I always appreciate the chance to connect with and learn from animal activists from around the country, sharing both our joys and sorrows. I also really enjoyed being at the conference with Abi, Lydia, Yunuén, Julie and Josh, and getting to hear their reactions and perspectives.

I learned a lot from the VegFund sponsored Strategic Communications workshop and Aph Ko’s plenary speech on new perspectives on animal rights that I’ll apply to our work.

The successes we’re experiencing as a movement in getting vegan products to go mainstream is inspiring! 

Laura Matanah and Unny Nambudiripad accepting the VegFund Award

It was also inspiring to receive VegFund‘s award for CAA’s vegan activism with past director Unny Nambudiripad, and to have the 119 projects that we’d completed with their support over 10 years recognized.

I left with lots of energy to work with you to keep the momentum rolling!

Volunteer Shout-Out: 2019 Festival Planning Committee – Part 3

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.

Lydia Green

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I’m the Sponsorship Coordinator. My primary focus is to recruit sponsors from past and new exhibitors as well as research and pursue new sponsorship opportunities. 

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

This is my first year volunteering with the Twin Cities Veg Fest and I was looking for options to get more involved. 

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? 

This is my first time volunteering, and I’m looking forward to a fun and successful Twin Cities Veg Fest. 

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

I was drawn to the vegan lifestyle for a number of reasons—animal rights, the environment, and health. About four years ago, I essentially went vegan overnight after watching a speech by Gary Yourofsky

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

I work full-time for a local nonprofit. I also enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and traveling. 

Fred Tio

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I’m coordinating the electrical needs for the festival. My focus for this year is to design a new electrical plan, as we are using different areas of Harriet Island park. This gives us the opportunity to use permanent power and eliminate the use of generators.

My goal is that this new electrical design can be easily expanded to serve the growing needs of the festival. 

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I simply asked if they needed help with the electrical for last year’s festival and I had a few friends also helping.

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival?

For several years I was involved with the Jaycees. They did all kinds of projects, the biggest was the Tunnel of Terror. My favorite parts of the are the food and friends.

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

About four years ago I watched Forks Over Knives and changed diet with in a week. Six months later I joined a meetup group called “Everyone Vegan”. From there I met others in CAA.

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

In my working life, I’m an electrician. In my spare time, I’m the treasurer for my local 12 step Intergroup. I enjoy camping, getting on my bicycle during the warm weather, and spending time with my new partner Suzanne and other folks in the vegan/plant-based world.

Emma Cameron

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

My role is the Non-Foods Exhibitor Coordinator. I recruit and follow up with all potential exhibitors, ranging from animal non-profits, to clothing vendors, and more!  

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I got involved through seeing the Facebook post advertising the recruitment of folks to the planning committee. This is my first year helping out with Twin Cities Veg Fest. 

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? 

I’ve actually never been to the festival before! My first time attending will also be my first time helping to plan it. 

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

I was drawn to helping animals when I was 15 years old in 2008, which led me in quick succession to try vegetarianism, veganism, and then becoming more active for animals through volunteering. Fun fact: I was first motivated to take animals off my plate when I watched videos of undercover investigation footage from Mercy For Animals, and I now work full-time at the organization in campaigns! 

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

As I mentioned above, my career is in animal advocacy—I currently work at Mercy For Animals. I’m also a passionate long-distance runner, in the form of training for ultramarathons. I had a 50 mile race in mid-July and then my first 100 mile race slated for October of this year!

Arthur Goldstein

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

As CAA’s Tech lead, I help ensure that the website is running.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

As Outdoor Activities volunteer, I plan to set up volleyball and other sports and games at the festival. 

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? 

I told Laura that I thought there should be volleyball at the festival. I set it up in 2018. I’m not sure yet what will be different but am open to suggestions. 

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

My uncle helped inspire me to become a vegetarian. 

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

I am a software developer and am involved with Toastmasters. I like to visit New Jersey where I lived for many years and want to be doing more outdoors.

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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!

Photos from the ARC + CAA Annual Vegan Potluck

We had a great time at the ARC/CAA Vegan 4th of July Potluck at Minnehaha Falls earlier this month! Over 140 people attended, enjoying great food and conversation.

Big thanks to The Herbivorous Butcher, who donated their awesome vegan brats and burgers for all to enjoy at this event.

At the event, we celebrated the work that has been done in the Twin Cities community as well as nationally and internationally to further the animal rights movement in the past year, including the launch of the Animal Rights Coalition-supported Fur Free Minneapolis campaign and school districts adding plant-based meals through Wholesome Minnesota and individual outreach. We are grateful for this time to come together as a community with ARC and celebrate all things vegan in the Twin Cities and look forward to next year!

Enjoy photos from the potluck below—thanks Maya Ulrich for documenting the event and to all of the volunteers that made it possible! While we wait for next year’s potluck, we hope to see you at one of our upcoming events including Twin Cities Veg Fest on September 15!

Where to Eat When You Find Yourself in Iowa City, Iowa for 28 Hours

Written by Theresa Zingery

On a recent snowy (!) April Saturday my husband and I drove down for a brief weekend trip to Iowa City as he was doing a talk on Sunday morning. We only had 28 hours there but I was seriously worried about being able to find vegan options to even support me for that short time! I didn’t need to worry. On the way down, as we rushed to avoid the incoming winter storm, I did a quick search on Happy Cow on my cell phone and found lots of great sounding options. Since we were only there for three meals I had to make choices. What follows is an outline of the happy finds I made for each of my meals:

We were arriving around noon on Saturday so I hunted around to find the best option for lunch. Trumpet Blossom came up with the highest Happy Cow rating (4.5) so I checked out their web site. Lo, and behold I found out that they were having their 25th Anniversary celebration that weekend and that included live music during brunch on Saturday! Sweet! We drove directly there as it was too early to check into our hotel. It is in a rather nondescript building near downtown but the inside has the most spectacular old wood bar taking up one side of the venue. There were a good number of tables and while it was busy we didn’t have to wait. The food and drink selections at this all-vegan restaurant were extensive and there were even things for my flexitarian husband to love. The food was all tasty, well presented and unique. They even had falafel waffles! I had the vegan florentine and my husband had the soup and cornbread (which he let me save for breakfast the next day!). Both were great. They are known for their tempeh Reuben.

Our next choice was to go for dinner at the Big Grove Brewery since no trip is complete for my husband without a brewery tour. And this brewpub is highly rated and has a large vegan selection (pubs there can actually make and serve meals!). We walked into this gigantic space and were unable to find a seat as it is so popular. They have a large, lovely outdoor patio filled with many fire pits but the weather was not ideal for sitting outside (the snow hadn’t made it there but cold drizzle had!) We left and made this our Sunday lunch instead. At that time it was still busy but we got seats. The staff recommended the sesame ginger Cauliflower wings and I took their recommendation. I was not disappointed. The beers were also excellent making this place a hit for my husband and me! 

Saturday night dinner we went to Mellow Mushroom which is the closest outpost of this mostly southeastern pizza restaurant chain. They have a cute, whimsical hippy era decor—this one complete with an alien abduction of a cow mid-restaurant. The selections for the pizzas and calzones were pretty vegan-friendly with a wide assortment of veggies including tempeh and tofu toppings with Follow Your Heart Vegan cheese. There are several specialty combos they were glad to customize to be vegan but I went with a “design your own” pizza. There were also a few salad options.

Afterwards, I did a carousel ride on a carousel right outside the restaurant with very cute animals in addition to the traditional horses!

My last stop before heading out of town was downtown to see the historic area and the famous Prairie Lights Bookstore—right around the corner was  Molly’s Cupcakes which had several vegan options which I grabbed for the road. All and all a very satisfying trip with lovely vegan eating options.

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Have you gone on a trip recently? We want to hear about it! Guides like VegGuide.org and happycow.net are great to start planning a trip, and so are tips on how to make and keep your trip to somewhere vegan from folks who have visited prior.

Let us know if you’d be willing to share your trip and some of its highlights with us at info@exploreveg.org.

Volunteer Shout-Out: 2019 Festival Planning Committee – Part 2

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.

Sal Kravik

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I’m the Twitter coordinatorMy goal is to create more excitement for the festival through updates and engagement/interaction with prospective attendees, sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors out there in the Twitterverse.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

After attending my first Twin Cities Veg Fest in 2012, I knew I wanted to get involved somehow. Unny must have sensed that because he recruited me while attending a mutual friend’s dinner party and I joined the planning committee in 2013.

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? 

I love seeing the festival attendance grow every yearespecially now that we have more space to accommodate everyone. Speaking of accommodating, I also love that the festival is more inclusive and accessible than ever.

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

Motherhood and feminism! Seventeen years ago I was lovingly growing a little human inside my own body when I learned of the immense suffering of dairy cows. I couldn’t imagine the horror of having my own baby taken away from me moments after he was born, never to be seen again, and then being hooked up to a milking machine indefinitely like female cows in the dairy industry are. Mother cows cry for their babies and the babies cry for their mothers, just like humans. I knew I could never be okay with supporting that kind of cruelty, no matter the species, so I removed animal products from my diet the day my son was born.

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

I love to travel! Traveling means I get to try new restaurants, co-ops, markets, recipes, and flavors. I am also very focused on staying healthy, which includes getting outside to do a lot of biking and hiking while the weather is warm. 

Nathan Gaut

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the committee chair for this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest. I help coordinate the other committee members and run the meetings. 

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I have been involved with the festival for the past few years. I started off as Exhibitor Coordinator in 2017 and have been chair for the 2018 and 2019 festivals. My involvement started off as an attempt to get more involved in the vegan activist scene after moving to the Twin Cities.

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? 

I love just looking out over the sea of people mid-day. It is still incredible to me that over 9000 people have an interest in plant-based food and took time out of their day to celebrate, eat vegan food, and learn more! This year, we’re really upping our game with the music aspect of Twin Cities Veg Fest. We have some amazing bands lined up. And all the music is going to be set on a much bigger stage and have a much larger presence. We even have some bigger names featured at our first ever outdoor after party!

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

I’ve been vegetarian almost my whole life. And for that I have to thank my parents for supporting and encouraging a toddler who didn’t like the taste of meat to make compassionate choices. At the time they were not vegetarians! That eventually morphed into becoming an ethical vegetarian. In college, I looked more into the ethics behind animal products and went vegan shortly after. My decision to be vegetarian and vegan was always because of a compassion for animals first and foremost. But the health and environmental benefits are other great reasons that have helped keep me inspired!

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

I am a graduate student studying synthetic biology at the University of Minnesota. I’m currently working on the first steps towards making artificial systems that resemble cellular life. Outside of that, I love being outdoors, be that on a motorcycle, camping in the forest, on a sailboat, or just drinking beer on a brewery’s patio.

Cecilia Burke

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

Zero Waste Coordinator. My goal is to have as close to zero waste as possible for the whole event!

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I heard of Twin Cities Veg Fest in 2016 while I was a grad student at the University of Minnesota looking for veggie/vegan events and groups. 

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? 

I have volunteered as a Zero Waste volunteer for two years. My favorite part of the festival is seeing how many people are there experiencing vegan food. 

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

I decided to try being vegetarian when I moved to Minneapolis in 2016. The less animal products I ate then less I wanted to eat them, and now I can’t imagine going back. 

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

I am a Speech Language Pathologist and I work in schools in the Metro Area. I love game nights, soccer, cooking, and Netflix! 

Dustin (on left) with friends

Dustin Cahill

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

This is my second year managing the WordPress site for the Twin Cities Veg Fest. Staying on schedule so that the website is updated throughout the lead-up to the festival, not just in the last final few weeks prior, is my goal this year.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I started last year, after beginning to serve on CAA’s Tech Team.

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?

When the committee meeting seizes on a new idea for the festival and everyone is excited about it, that’s rewarding to be a part of. I’m looking forward to the evening events being further fleshed out this year.

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

I’ve never heard a strong argument for any other ethical/dietary “lifestyle,” so getting there was more about putting my ethics into practice. Having a partner that was vegan helped a lot. Meeting new, thoughtful friends through volunteering with CAA also made it easier.

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

I abuse the public library system to find great film, horror and science fiction novels, and comics. I also run, volunteer a couple places, sleep in the sun with my cats, and binge video games. I do AV support at a metro-area community college to collect a paycheck.

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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!

2019 Pride Outreach in Pictures

Every year, CAA sets up a table in Loring Park for two days, where we leaflet and conduct video outreach on behalf of animals, which reaches many people along the way. We had a blast at this year’s Twin Cities Pride Festival!

Pride is an ideal venue for sharing our message of compassion. The festival itself celebrates and is committed to expanding the circle of compassion to include the LGBTQ community and the people we reach there tend to be especially open to the idea of opening their hearts to the plight of farmed animals. After watching the video, one attendee said, “I wanted a burger, now I just want fries.”

A volunteer said, “Some of my best conversations were with people who said they ‘couldn’t watch the video’—this led to some easy cognitive dissonance about ‘if you can’t watch it happen, should you really be comfortable eating it?’ Lots of people committed to making small, better choices.”

Over the course of the weekend, we gave away more than 1,500 leaflets sharing the truth about animal agriculture and compassionate living and got more than 520 views from individuals and groups of viewers—wow!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with outreach and to Emily Nyberg for taking these photos!

Diet and Climate: Where’s the Beef?

the world map painted onto two human hands

When I became a vegetarian in 1992, it was all about the animals. I love animals and had never really thought about the fact that their lives were being brutally taken to give me life. I mean, how could we with fun e/McDonald’s songs that we sang on the school bus and kitschy commercials from Wendy’s that had my classmates joking around in the cafeteria with one another by asking, “Where’s the beef?” 

While I knew I was still contributing to animals’ suffering by being a vegetarian, I didn’t quite understand how I was still causing them to die until I learned what happened to the male calves and chickens when they were born. So a few months later, I transitioned to being vegan. The environmental and health reasons for being vegan were extra bonuses.

A Destructive Industry — For All

However, when I actually started doing research last year on how much environmental destruction is being caused by animal agriculture, I realized this wasn’t just an afterthought at all. This could also be a primary reason why people choose to eat a plant-based diet, or at the very least, a plant-rich diet.  

For example, did you know that agriculture uses 18% of our fossil fuels? If you’re buying an electric car to keep fossil fuels in the ground, changing our diets is actually more affordable and accessible for everyone. Also, in the United States alone, 87% of our freshwater is used in agriculture, and that number is a staggering 70% worldwide. Factor in the water contamination of pesticides and the antibiotics that are given to the animals, and how much is actually remaining for human consumption? 

And then there’s the fact that the dairy and meat industries use 38% of our land throughout the world. Think about how much of that land could be used for reforestation, carbon sequestration and even feeding the world. 

In 2010, the United Nations came out with a report that recommended people change to a meat and dairy-free diet. At that time nine years ago, the meat and dairy industry was responsible for “9% carbon dioxide emissions, 37% methane, and 65% nitrous oxide” (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 2010). In 2019, those percentages have increased, with the latter two gasses being 25 and 300 times more poisonous than carbon dioxide. 

With those kinds of numbers in mind, last October the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shocked the world with their revelation that in 12 years, it will be too late to turn things around. In fact, we need to be in the process of turning them around within the next couple of years so that we aren’t raising the temperature of our planet any more. With all of this critical information, I was determined to start making a difference in my community by focusing on the connections between food and climate change.

Community Change Adding to Global Change

So as a part of the Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC), which is a city commission that advises Mayor Frey and City Council on environmental issues, I formed a subcommittee on food and climate change. Some things I’m starting to work on are changing the ordinance so people can grow food on their boulevards, getting free community gardens into every city park, and being a part of the creation of the Food Action Plan

In 2013, CEAC helped with the creation of the Climate Action Plan, which is a roadmap for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the city. At that time, there was no mention of food in the plan, which is why it’s critical that it’s being added now. 

Homegrown Minneapolis is hosting meetings for the public to be a part of, and the next meeting is July 24 at Eastside Neighborhood Services, with the topic being Diets and Community Demand. If people show up en masse to show we care about all the impacts of animal agriculture, including the fact that Plant-Rich Diet is the number 4 solution (out of 100) for reducing carbon dioxide in our world that was identified in a report called Drawdown. Researchers from around the world proposed a comprehensive plan filled with 100 significant and existing solutions to reverse climate change. 

The Plant-Rich Diet is Part of the Solution

Plant-Rich Diet was the solution that a few of us from Compassionate Action for Animals were working with when we wrote up a proposal for MN350 to add it as a solution to their newly formed Solutions Team last year. This was not an easy road, and it was difficult to understand objections to a solution that would encourage people to do the thing that the organization was created for, reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

However, if you look at environmental organizations around the country, it is very rare to find one that is willing to take on a plant-rich diet (even plant-based is now seen as a bad term, and don’t even get me started on how people react to “vegan”). With that being said, I’m thrilled that the MN350 Solutions Team is now able to work on Plant-Rich Diet as a part of our campaigns. 

We Need YOU!

BUT, and this is a big BUT, we need YOU there! We need people who are concerned about the environment and diet to show up at our meetings so that our committee of two or three can be a committee of ten or twelve and start getting things done. We need environmental nonprofits to see that community members care about animal agriculture and how it impacts our planet every moment of every day. 

So what can you do to make a difference, other than eating a plant-rich diet?

  • Join me on the Food and Climate Change Subcommittee for the Community Environmental Advisory Commission. We’ll meet once a month, with a time to be determined. My contact information is below.
  • Come to a Community Environmental Advisory Commission meeting, and let us know that you are concerned about the impacts of food and our environment. If you have specific ideas as to what we can do at the city of Minneapolis level, bring those too. Our meetings take place at a different location each month so check our website. 
  • Attend one or more of the Food Action Plan meetings! 
  • Join MN350’s Solutions Team! We meet every other Thursday at the MN350 office in South Minneapolis, and our next meeting is July 18. Check out our website for more information!
  • Educate others about the impacts of eating animal products. Encourage them to try at least one thing to make a change, whether that be eating smaller portions of meat, participating in Meatless Monday or going completely plant-based. (Oh, and please let the grass-fed beef eaters know that it isn’t as rosy of a solution as they’ve been taught to believe.)
  • If you or someone else does need a mentor for changing your eating habits, Compassionate Action for Animals has a program to help you make small changes or big ones. Whatever you want to do, that’s what they’re there for!

I’m super excited about inviting you all on this journey with me, and if you have any questions, please send me an email at michelle.shaw@exploreveg.org.

Just as the animals need us to save them, the planet needs us too, and we can’t afford to wait one more minute to rise up and act.

Keiko’s Kitchen brings alkaline food to the Twin Cities

Written by Maya Ulrich

Mykela Jackson, the owner of Keiko’s Kitchen, has a vision which has become her business’s slogan—to create “real food for the soul.”

With her pop-ups, she is working to break down traditional soul food into creative, colorful, and accessible plant-based dishes that the black community can try—in a way that is not confrontational or offensive. 

Jackson recognizes that the food the black community often has access to commonly perpetuates food oppression dating back to slavery in America. “I want to bring awareness that the foods that we are eating and are readily available to us are not good for us,” Jackson explains, noting that she hopes to create food that supports nutritious eating and healthy lifestyles.

Jackson believes that by breaking down the traditional idea of soul food the black community can build progressive relationships with each other and with the foods they eat. To accomplish her goal, she started collaborating with Breaking Bread Cafe. Breaking Bread’s food advisors helped her develop a schedule to host Keiko’s Kitchen pop-ups at the cafe while still maintaining her day job and other responsibilities.

Jackson has also helped open up the door for other vegan entrepreneurs to partner with Breaking Bread, helped increase vegan options at the cafe, and she has also helped money go back into the black community by supporting the development of black-owned businesses. In fact, she has just signed a residency contract with Breaking Bread for every other Thursday starting August 1st.  

Mykela follows the Dr. Sebi diet which, in addition to being vegan, states that natural alkaline plant foods and herbs can control acid levels in the body and prevent disease. Jackson sees this diet as the key to health because it uses the power of food to transform communities, both through physical health and environmentally sustainable foods. 

In addition to supporting the alkaline movement, Jackson is trying to make her business as holistic as possible. Initially, her business was formed on the basis of health and breaking away from the chains of oppression and white supremacy. However, as she continues to grow Keiko’s Kitchen she wants to make animal advocacy and environmental activism even more a part of the business’s mission. 

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Friday, September 20, 2019 - Sunday, October 20, 2019

Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Video Outreach

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Introduction to Plant-Based Eating

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Vegan Food Giveaway