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Meet Our New Intern!

Meet CAA’s new intern Sydney Terwey. Sydney majors in Media Arts and Animation at The Art Institutes International of Minnesota and will be helping develop a variety of our design materials for the next three months.

Sydney hails from Long Prairie, a small town in rural Minnesota. Growing up around farms, she had a behind-the-scenes perspective on animal agriculture. Even on small farms, she witnessed the inevitable suffering and slaughter that are part and parcel when animals are used for food. She formed friendships with pigs much like people do with their dogs and cats, but then one day, the animals she had grown to love just weren’t there. Such intense experiences led her to stop eating meat.

Now vegetarian for the past 8 years, Sydney was drawn to working with CAA for her internship. She appreciates that CAA is passionate about the issues but not pushy. She tries to bring this tactic into her design work and creates images that are warm and inviting, rather than gory or shaming. In this way, she hopes to make a difference for animals, grabbing attention and then getting people to think about their food choices.

Sydney’s association with CAA began before her internship. For one of her design classes, she created an informational 2D and 3D animated advertisement for Twin Cities Veg Fest. (We’ll be sharing the video in the next couple months to coincide with the announcement for this year’s festival date and location.) The video was so impressive that we welcomed Sydney as an intern and very much look forward to all that she will contribute to the group and for the animals.

 

 

 

 

Compassionate Times: December 2015

Twin Cities Veg Fest: Past, Present, and Future

Compassionate Action for Animals recently hosted the fourth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest, and we’ve already begun planning for the next one. The festival continues to grow from year to year, and the momentum just keeps building.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is by far the biggest event that we produce, not only in terms of the thousands who attend, but also in terms of how much of our resources are devoted to making it a success. Here’s why we think it deserves all of that and more: In one day, Twin Cities Veg Fest reaches thousands of people with a message of compassion for farmed animals. Those who attend get to enjoy lots of eye-opening activities, including delicious vegan food, inspiring speaker presentations, and informative cooking demos.

A few vegan donuts from Glam Doll Donuts!
A few vegan donuts from Glam Doll Donuts!

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Research Findings: How Effective is Twin Cities Veg Fest for Animal Advocacy?

Twin Cities Veg Fest flyer

Our mission at Compassionate Action for Animals is to encourage people to embrace their empathy for farmed animals and to move toward a plant-based diet. All of our activities are designed with that goal in mind, and, as we grow as an organization, we look for new ways to assess how our outreach methods are having an effect. Are we actually fulfilling our mission and moving toward our goal of a cultivating a more compassionate community?

In 2014, we undertook our biggest initiative for evaluating our methods, and we used our largest annual event, Twin Cities Veg Fest, as a platform to do that. In creating a plan for the research, we consulted with a variety of experts, including Kathryn Asher and Che Green of Faunalytics (formerly Humane Research Council), food scientist Chris Homsey, psychology student Sonal Markanda, and Brandon Whited of Statistics in the Community. We incorporated their ideas into designing a research plan that would help us assess whether the 2014 Twin Cities Veg Fest had an effect on the behavior of attendees. Did the festival inspire them to take action for animals, either by moving further toward a plant-based diet, volunteering, donating, or sharing information about farmed animals? Continue reading

Vegan Education at Blaine High School

“…I want to become vegan.”

“It was a great presentation and very inspiring.”

“It was an eye opener.”

These quotes are from students at Blaine High School in response to a Bridges of Respect presentation on factory farming and veganism that was given on November 6. Shannon Kimball, who coordinates CAA’s humane education program, Bridges of Respect, had scheduled me to speak to two agriculture classes that had a total of 60 students.

During the presentations, I shared my story of what caused me to change from an avid meat eater to a vegan animal advocate; talked about the emotional lives and intelligence of pigs, cows, chickens, and fish; and exposed the link between animal agriculture and environmental destruction, including climate change.

Students were also invited to watch Mercy For Animal’s documentary Farm to Fridge. This 12-minute video shows the sad reality that animals face in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Because of the video’s graphic nature, students were empowered to take care of themselves and given the option to not watch. Most of them did watch it, and, because of their compassion, many of them were deeply moved and lots of tears were shed. Continue reading

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015: Truly Amazing!

Our fourth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest happened just a couple days ago, and we’re still feeling the excitement. We hope you were able to join us for this event, which was our biggest one yet with an estimate of more than 2,500 attendees.

Check out the slideshow below to get an idea of what the festival included. It’s just a glimpse of the many exhibitors, vendors, sponsors, speakers, chefs, volunteers, and attendees who made this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest truly amazing. All of us at Compassionate Action for Animals are grateful to everyone involved. Thank you!

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That Kooky Twin Cities Veg Fest Planning Committee

It’s no secret: The team behind Twin Cities Veg Fest is a kooky bunch. I mean, they have to be kooky to take on the challenge of putting together a mammoth festival that draws thousands and shows them how freaking awesome vegan food can be. But they do it because they love it. And they do it for the animals. So maybe they’re not so kooky as they are extraordinarily compassionate. Here’s a bit more about them and why they love Twin Cities Veg Fest so freaking much:

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest?

  • More space! We can accommodate more people in the exhibitor halls (now we’ll have two!) and we have a ton of room for people to come to our cooking demonstrations!
  • Working with the exhibitors
  • Food, food, and more food. And maybe some food to go with the food. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing people show up and enjoy themselves. And food.
  • Every year I look forward to new and interesting food vendors. Word is getting out that Twin Cities Veg Fest is a great place to showcase delicious vegan food (and sell out!) so I hope our food court grows even more.
  • Introducing very skeptical omnivores to the wonderfulness that is vegan food.  Hearing “Hey, this is good!” is music to my ears.

Can you tell us a little-known fact about another committee member?

  • I think Sal looks like the pop star Robyn.
  • Unny used to have incredibly long hair, super hippie-style.
  • Unny pledged to not read any Harry Potter for ten years, and that kind of makes me want to start reading Harry Potter.
  • Dave loves vegan food but not fruit. Weird.

If you could help rescue any animal, who would it be and why?

  • I’d like a nonhuman animal to rescue humans from ourselves! I think I’ll have a Kneazle rescue us; my friends would appreciate that.
  • Any animal is worth rescuing.
  • Definitely a pig. Pigs are just too darn cute. On the other hand, I like pretty much all animals, so I’m not picky.
  • A chicken! Because I think I could probably care for her or him at home.
  • A horse! Or a cow. Or a lamb. Or a goat. Okay, I want to rescue them all.

Who is on the Twin Cities Veg Fest Planning Committee?

Dave Rolsky - Pretty Furniture (Committee Chair)
Dave Rolsky – Pretty Furniture (Committee Chair)
Brita Bengtson - So Many Friends (Social Media Coordinator)
Brita Bengtson – So Many Friends (Social Media Coordinator)
Chris Homsey - Cooks up Chefs (Cooking Demo Coordinator) with Mika
Chris Homsey – Cooks up Chefs (Cooking Demo Coordinator) with Mika
Unny Nambudiripad - Buck Stops Here (CAA Executive Director)
Unny Nambudiripad – Buck Stops Here (CAA Executive Director)
Kirsten Just Kirsten Just - Extraordinary Organizer (Exhibitor Logistics Coordinator)
Kirsten Just – Extraordinary Organizer (Exhibitor Logistics Coordinator)
Sal Kravik - Hardy Partier (Pre-Party and Twitter Coordinator)
Sal Kravik – Hardy Partier (Pre-Party and Twitter Coordinator)

Not pictured: Annette Gaudreau – Speaks to Speakers (Speaker Coordinator)

Twin Cities Veg Fest will take place on Sunday, November 1, from 10am to 4pm at Coffman Memorial Union. RSVP on the Facebook event page and let us know if you’d like to volunteer for the event.

Eat Like a Million Bucks: Roberto Martin’s New Vegan Cooking

If you want to eat like a vegan superstar but can’t afford takeout, much less your own personal chef, Roberto’s New Vegan Cooking: 125 Easy, Delicious, Real Food Recipes is the book for you. Roberto Martin’s collection of recipes spans the gamut from quick and easy to super fancy and dispels the myth that vegans can’t eat well on a budget.

Rather than relying on convenience foods like mock meat and dairy, Roberto shows that, with the proper technique and seasonings, wholesome, affordable ingredients such as beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and mushrooms can be turned into culinary masterpieces. His Eggplant Parm can be perfectly battered and fried up to be crisp and tender with surprisingly no fuss. He shares with the world the magic of besan (garbanzo) flour, a lesser-known vegan wonder food. He uses this for his “lobster” quiche, which was hearty and packed with flavor. Martin graces the reader with treats stemming from his Mexican heritage, such as his tofu soyrizo and a showpiece: Albondigas (the Spanish word for “meatballs”) Soup.

Albondigas Soup
Albondigas Soup

Martin does all of this with little to no assistance from pre-packaged, processed foods. He even offers up some of his own recipes for all those little ingredients we love to eat but often hate paying for, like ketchup, sour cream, pickles and other condiments. While some of Martin’s recipes may be a bit advanced for the novice plant-based eater, he eases the reader into trying out new things by beginning the book with a chapter of DIY basics, staples, and starters. His fast, cheap, simple recipes for condiments such as vegan mayo and barbecue sauce (which is great since honey-free versions are increasingly hard to find) make these foods suddenly within reach for novices and those with processed-food phobias.

On top of all that, he provides detailed instructions on how to make the perfect flaky, crisp vegan croissants, which could probably convince just about any veg-inclined individual to pick up a copy of Roberto’s Vegan Cooking post-haste.

EG Nelson is a community funding coordinator by day and a bicycle enthusiast, competitive baker, and advocate for queers and animals at all other times. She is a co-founder of Queer Bike Gang and can be found riding around Minneapolis where she lives with a cute boi and three cats. Learn more at haygurlhaycafe.com. image001

Compassionate Times, August 2015

Opening Hearts, Changing Minds

written by Linda Pope, CAA Volunteer at Twin Cities Pride 2015

My 13 year old son and I were among the many CAA volunteers and staff working the pay-per-view table this June at the Twin Cities Pride Festival. We offered attendees one dollar to watch a short segment of the documentary, Farm to Fridge.

It was a very successful event in that 540 attendees watched the video. One reason we were able to reach so many people was because volunteers had multiple tablets set up for viewing, and they were continuously in use.

In between viewings, we had many heartfelt conversations with viewers and other attendees who were curious or wanted to learn more about the disconnect between what happens on factory farms and industry’s heavily funded efforts to manipulate the public’s understanding of factory farming. Others were eager to share that they were vegetarian or vegan too. Some people simply thanked us for what we were doing.

Continue reading

Vegan Main Dish Competition at the State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is coming up soon, and they’re hosting their 4th annual Vegan Main Dish Competition. Your favorite original vegan recipe could be the winner. This is a fun way to participate in the fair while sharing how awesome vegan food can be. Register to enter the competition by tomorrow, August 11 at 4:30pm.

The judges are looking for tasty, easy-to-prepare dishes that supply a complete protein. The entries will be on display in the Creative Activities Building, and the winner will receive a ribbon, a check, and vegan cookbook.

The category is listed as lot #1110 on page 39 in the Creative Activities Booklet. Check it out and enter to win!

Christianity and Advocating for Animals

What does the Bible teach about compassion? Why aren’t more Christians vegan or vegetarian? But didn’t Jesus eat fish? And what about the idea that God gave us dominion over the animals, according to the Bible?

These controversial questions are addressed in the most recent episode of Exploring Veg. Our Executive Director Unny Nambudiripad speaks with two Christian animal advocates: Kathy Dunn, an animal activist and blogger, and Ruth Soresnson-Prokosch, a pastor at a Lutheran church. They share how they speak up for animals using the Christian teachings. We hope this podcast will be inspiring not only to those who are Christian, but also to those who want to learn more about how to respond when others use their understanding of their faith as justification for eating animals.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Twin Cities Veg Fest Data Entry Party!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Student Dine-Out: Wally’s Cafe

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Vegan Food Giveaway

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October Dine Out: Eureka Compass Vegan Food