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Highlights from Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014

Twin Cities Veg Fest was a memorable experience for all involved. Thousands of people came out to attend this festival of compassionate living. They enjoyed an array of delicious vegan food, powerful speaker presentations, informative cooking demos, and a variety of exhibitors. Good times were being had left and right, and all in the name of helping animals.

Check out our video of festival highlights and you can see all of this for yourself. Heck, you might even see yourself in there!

Tips for Going Vegan in the New Year

Thinking about moving towards a plant-based diet as a New Year’s resolution? Take these tips from vegan registered dietician Kristina DeMuth on how to make the transition in a healthy, lasting way.

In conversation with CAA executive director Unny Nambudiripad, Kristina answers your key questions:

  • How do I go vegan and meet all of my nutrient needs?
  • What are some resources, both online and local, that can help me stay on this path?
  • What are some challenges that I might encounter and how can I overcome them?

Along with basic information on healthy plant-based eating, this podcast offers inspiring insights on how to move forward with your resolution to go vegan in the new year.

Thank You for Giving for Compassion!

Our Give for Compassion campaign was a huge success thanks to all of you!

We first set a goal of raising $7,500. Thanks to the generous contribution of an anonymous donor, that goal was matched 2-for-1, giving us a total of $22,500 to support our work. We made that goal with a few days to spare and then set an additional goal of $1,500, with another 2-for-1 match from another donor, giving us an additional $4,500. Thanks to the contributions of many supporters, we not only met both of these goals, but also surpassed them. Wow!

If you’re wondering what your donation will achieve, check out the image attached to this post. It offers a visual example of how these funds are allocated to support our outreach, education, and community building programs.

Again, thank you for your generous support. With your contribution, we are able to speak out on behalf of farmed animals and build a compassionate community in the Twin Cities and beyond.

There’s still time to give for compassion!

Great news! Thanks to a generous outpouring of support, we’ve reached our first year-end goal of $7,500 along with an additional stretch goal of $1,500, all with time to spare. (Note that both of these goals were matched 2-for-1!)

Though we’ve reached our goal, the campaign isn’t over yet! If you’d still like to make a contribution, you have until midnight tonight. Give for Compassion today and help support our vital work speaking out for farmed animals.

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Give for compassion today and be a hero for the animals!

There’s no time like the present to Give for Compassion! We reached our first year-end goal of $7,500 with a couple days to spare. Then, guess what happened! Another generous donor offered a $3,000 2-for-1 match if we can raise an additional $1,500. We have until Wednesday, December 31 at midnight to reach this new goal. That’s less than 48 hours! Give today and help support our vital work speaking out for farmed animals.

The range of our work can be seen in our year-in-review video slideshow. We hope you find these images inspiring and that they remind you of all the great times that we’ve had in the past year and all that’s possible in 2015 and beyond!

Bridges of Respect: Setting a Standard for Humane Education in Minnesota

CAA’s humane education program, Bridges of Respect, has been giving presentations in Minnesota schools for more than 10 years. During our presentations, we offer students Tofurky sandwiches on whole grain bread, and they get a taste of how delicious wholesome plant-based food can be. But that’s only the beginning of what our humane education program is giving to the young people in the Twin Cities region.

Here’s an overview of our activities over the past year:

We gave 50 presentations in 2014. Most of these presentations focus on the ways animals are affected by our food choices, but we also incorporate environmental issues. We occasionally present on how animals are used in the entertainment business and in the science industry, and we make a connection between violence toward animals and the violence toward other human beings.

By the end of 2014, we reached about 1,500 students in Minnesota’s high schools and colleges. Students learn about veganism in their health classes and their environmental chemistry classes. We always bring the emotions and intelligence of animals into the conversation when discussing the food industry.

We have conversations about factory farming. We discuss animal agriculture as a whole and show how it has affected our lives. Some students stay after class to talk about it more with us, and some students incorporate what they’ve learned into classroom assignments. They scribble “chooseveg.org” and “vegguide.org” on their notebooks and type them into their smartphones.

We speak with students about the dangerous “ag-gag” laws. We explain how these laws threaten transparency by outlawing images taken of an “animal enterprise,” and how these laws would infringe on our right to free speech.

We are working each day, even when not in the classroom. We train others to give presentations. We prepare food samples, literature, and other resources for students. We also prepare for the presentations and provide the vital follow-up support to students and teachers.

A full foot of snow won’t stop us! The morning after a big snowstorm, several school districts cancelled classes. Until we got a message that our presentation had to be rescheduled, we were ready to trudge through whatever weather to get our message of compassion to students. We are committed!

CAA is currently trying to raise $7,500 by December 31 at midnight. All of these funds are matched 2-for-1. It’s a great time to support CAA’s humane education efforts in the Twin Cities. We have almost reached our fundraising goal, but we need your help to make it the rest of the way. Give for Compassion today!

How about a Vegan Option at the DQ?

It’s about time for a nondairy option at the Dairy Queen, don’t you agree? Wouldn’t you just love to take a nostalgic trip to DQ, but this time for the simple joy of a vegan soft serve cone? We sure would!

With nearly 6,000 locations worldwide, Dairy Queen has an opportunity to expand its reach by offering a vegan ice cream option. This new campaign, organized by Nicholas Coughlin, seeks to influence Dairy Queen to do just that.

To make this happen, Dairy Queen needs to hear from YOU! Let them know that a growing number of consumers are looking for vegan options, and that you’re one of them. Some consumers are concerned about their health, some are lactose intolerant, and some just want to make kinder food choices.

Compassionate Action for Animals supports this initiative, as it makes another vegan option available for those moving towards a plant-based diet. We want the marketplace to continue to change to reflect the growing awareness that factory farming is simply not okay. More and more, the public is asking for more humane food options. A nondairy option at the Dairy Queen is an obvious step in that direction.

Chain restaurants such as Chipotle, Subway, and Dunkin’ Donuts have responded to consumer demand and are now offering vegan options. Tell Dairy Queen you think they should follow suit and offer a vegan ice cream option!

 

Musings of a Vegan Shopper: Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese

Hello to all! This column was born from my desire to share recommendations for vegan products that will simultaneously amuse your taste buds while fostering collective support for a cruelty-free marketplace. I asked, “Why not start a CAA column that sings the praises of such vegan goodness?”  Alas, I was elected to be the bearer of good news. I’ve decided to focus my maiden article on Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese. The holidays are here, it’s time to indulge and impress. These nondairy cheeses are the perfect ticket for you and your guests. May this column be the first of many!

Riddle me this: has a trusted confidant ever navigated you towards such-and-such vegan cheese because it’s to die for? They say you’ll never crave real cheese again and you’ve just gotta try it asap? You take the plunge, plunk down about four clams (or more!) for a package, try a nibble, and exclaim, “Like, wh-a-a-a-a is this? Cheese replacement extraordinaire? I don’t think so!” You let it loiter in your fridge, hoping the opportunity will arise for you to just eat the dang thing and get your money’s worth, but it never does. Attempting to dodge the guilt you feel about wasting four dollars, you try not to let it catch your eye when hunting for other items on the shelf. Eventually, the cheese is simply too moldy and rank to ingest, and you have no other choice but to pitch it. Has this ever happened to you?

I’m here to tell you that Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese is here to save the day. Not only are these little beauties a delicious dairy-free cheese, but they’re also made locally in Minneapolis! The consistency is similar to goat cheese, thick and creamy, and it can be spread like peanut butter. These nut milk blends have a mild, unobtrusive taste that doesn’t overpower other flavors, making it multifaceted. It comes in four varieties: Plain, Herb, Smoked, and Nacho. I’ve purchased the Plain a few times and had the pleasure of taste testing the Herb and the Nacho. Smoked is the only variety I have yet to sample. The Plain is the most versatile. Add it to pizza, make a mean hoagie with it, or how ‘bout use it as an appetizer accompanying fresh tomatoes and basil drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette? Or perhaps smother it in chutney or cranberry sauce and use it as a dip? The Herb flavor has the ability to shine on its own, gracing the top of a cracker in the buff. The Nacho has a bit of a giddyup factor and is delicious for all y’all who like to kick things up a notch past Minnesota Mild.punkrawk2

I purchased my little bundle of joy at The Wedge. The Plain runs slightly north of $10 for 6 ounces, and the flavored cheeses are a few bucks more. Yes, it’s a luxury item but well worth the price. One caveat: be sure to check the “sell by” date. This product will start to deteriorate not long after, and I’d hate to see you waste your hard-earned money. An unexpected bonus: each cheese wheel comes in a lovely metal tin that’s perfect for upcyclers or crafters who want to give it a second life as a handy-dandy caddy that will hold safety pins, paper clips, cottons balls — heck, you name it!

Cheers to a happy and compassionate lifestyle!

T.H. Waters (aka Tera) is a Minneapolis freelance writer and author of three books, including Letters to Bert. Feel free to send her a jingle jangle at thwaters@verefor.com.

Going Veg and Sticking With It

A recent study by the Humane Research Council (HRC) shows that 10% of U.S. adults ages 17 and over are former vegetarians/vegans, while 2% of the adult population are current vegetarians/vegans. Many of the former vegetarians and vegans reported that they had felt a lack of support or a sense of isolation in their veg lifestyle. What these findings suggest to us is a need for animal advocates to focus more on supporting existing vegetarians and vegans in their choices so that they don’t feel compelled to return to eating animal products.

As much as we encourage others to embrace their empathy and move towards a plant-based diet, we should also focus on supporting them after they have chosen a vegan lifestyle. We want to teach them not just why to go vegan but also how to do it in a sustainable way. While the outreach that motivates people to make a change is essential, we also need to offer the support that keeps them on the path. Beyond the videos of the factory farms and the message of compassion, we need to provide additional resources.

At Compassionate Action for Animals, providing these resources has always been a key aspect of how we work towards our mission. Community building may take a variety of forms, from social events to volunteer opportunities. What these activities have in common is that they allow participants to interact with one another. In the company of other like-minded individuals, we are reminded that we are not alone. With these relationships, we get a sense of validation. When compassionate lifestyle is experienced as the norm, new vegans and vegetarians are more likely to continue to continue on that path.

Social media is also proving to be a valuable forum for building community. Whether through a Facebook page or a Twitter feed, interactive online media is another way to be part of a larger group and is perhaps most valuable to those who live in an outlying area and are unable to attend live events on a regular basis.

Building a community is an ongoing endeavor. We must strive to welcome new people and truly embrace others wherever they are on their path to compassionate living. And we must offer support and resources to those who are already on board. With more focus on sustaining our compassionate community, we can do more to help farmed animals.

How a Simple T-shirt Changed My Life for the Good

Growing up, I had always considered eating animal meat to be a bit disturbing. I had a hard time thinking about the animal that was running around prior to being on my plate. I would try to hide the meat with breading, buns, and condiments. As an adult, I prepared meals for my husband and our two children based on my upbringing, and I did the best I knew how.

About a year ago, I discovered that I’m lactose intolerant and eliminated dairy from my diet. But for most of my life, I rarely ate vegetables. I just didn’t get excited about a cooked carrot or a celery stick. When my 20-something daughter invited me to Twin Cities Veg Fest, I was not overly excited about it. My niece, a freshman at a nearby college, also really wanted to go, so I agreed to take her and meet my daughter there. We walked around, sampled some good healthy snacks, and discovered some new vegan food options. I turned down an aisle and stopped to look at the t-shirts. I laughed at the sassy sayings on some of the T’s. Then, I saw it, the shirt that made my stomach turn. It pictured a sweet little pink pig with the caption “Please don’t eat my insides.” I quickly turned away to avoid its impact on me.

Later at the festival, I sat down with my daughter, my niece, and my daughter’s best friend. We spoke for a few minutes, and then I decided to talk about the t-shirt that I had seen. I told them about what it brought up for me. When I was a child, I was hospitalized for a serious operation, and, in the hospital gift shop, there was an adorable pink stuffed pig. I desperately wanted that cute little pig and let my mother know how much I loved it. After surgery, the pink pig was waiting for me in the recovery room. It meant the world to me to call that little pink pig mine. I still have it 40 years later.

As I retold the story and thought about that t-shirt, tears ran down my face. I thought, “What am I doing eating animals?!”

That’s what it took. One t-shirt changed my life. Since that day, I have adapted to an entirely new lifestyle. As a new vegan, a whole new world has opened up to me. To my surprise, cooking is now much more fun. I realize that raw meat had been appalling to me and that I had forced myself to cook with it. Now, I love making meals and get excited to find new recipes. I honestly had no idea how delicious vegetables could be. I’m so happy when I think of all of the beautiful animals running around in the world, and I’m happy to help them run free!

I have no intention to ever eat animals again. I have found happiness in my new lifestyle and look forward to sharing my discovery with others.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Twin Cities Veg Fest Leaflet Stuffing

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bridges of Respect: Vegan Food Giveaway

Saturday, June 23, 2018 - Sunday, June 24, 2018

Pride Festival Video Outreach

Monday, June 25, 2018

June Dine-Out: moto-i