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Join the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Committee

We need YOU to make 2020 the biggest and best Twin Cities Chef Challenge yet!

What is the challenge?

The Twin Cities Chef Challenge brings new vegan options to Twin Cities restaurants, which diners then rate. It’s a win-win-win as diners get new options, restaurants increase their business, and animals are spared through the addition and promotion of vegan options at restaurants.

The challenge had been planned for October. We are considering moving the date up to August.

How can I get involved?

Restaurant outreach volunteers—3 to 8 needed. These volunteers go to restaurants between 2 and 4 pm to invite chefs and managers to participate. We provide you with materials to bring. You’ll also drop off promotional materials at the restaurants prior to the challenge, and invite chefs to the final celebration. This position begins in June.

Specifics:

  • Volunteers need to provide their own transportation.
  • Commitment: An estimated 5-8 hours a week for two weeks to a month.

Restaurant follow-up volunteersThese volunteers make sure restaurants have submitted necessary materials (name of dishes, food photos, etc.) to prepare for our website and promotion. This position begins in June.

Specifics:

  • Position can be done from home.
  • Have basic spreadsheet skills and be comfortable with using email and making follow-up phone calls.
  • Commitment: An estimated 1-2 hours a week.

Dining and social media volunteersThese volunteers go to restaurants, purchase the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge dishes, and post about them on social media. They also follow and comment on posts submitted by the community.

Specifics:

  • Volunteers need to provide their own transportation.
  • Commitment: An estimated 5-8 hours a week throughout the month of the challenge.

Ratings volunteerThis volunteer creates the Google form diners fill out to rate the dishes they eat and calculates the results of the votes using a spreadsheet to determine the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Champion. They also help determine awards, which are given to all restaurants who participate. Begins in June.

  • Commitment: An estimated 3-6 hours to create the survey, make edits, and compile data afterward. The 3 to 6 hours of work will be spread out over several months.

Social media adminsThese volunteers put posts on social media pages for the challenge, and help plan social media strategy. Begins in June.

  • Commitment: An estimated 3-4 hours a week, starting two months before the challenge and running two weeks after the challenge wraps up.

Please fill out our new volunteer form or email Laura Matanah at  laura@exploreveg.org and let us know what interests you!

What’s ThanksLiving?

The traditional Thanksgiving holiday has many potentially positive elements: thankfulness, food, family, and tradition. It also encourages denial about the real experiences of turkeys and Native people.

We’ve decided to change the name of Compassionate Action for Animals’ traditional celebration from “A Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck” to “A Vegan ThanksLiving Potluck” as a way to refocus our celebration on the lived experiences, and resistance to oppression, of both human and non-human animals. Our goal is to retain many of the positive elements of the traditional holiday while expanding its meaningfulness with greater knowledge and action.

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The 2019 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award Goes To…

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award.

We’ve created this award to recognize a person, organization, or business in our community whose amazing work is pushing the ball forward for animals. This year we’re giving the award to Shannon Kimball and the Bridges of Respect program. This volunteer-run program has provided free humane education presentations in the Twin Cities for twenty years.

Students pose with program leader Shannon Kimball (top right) after a presentation.
Shannon speaks about the Bridges program with help from volunteers at the Compassionate Action for Animals annual banquet.

The program has reached over 38,000 students since its inception. After a presentation about the program at the Compassionate Action for Animals banquet, one guest came up to program leader Shannon Kimball and said, “You presented to my class at Century College—and what I learned helped me commit to a vegan lifestyle!”

Students after a Bridges of Respect presentation with plant-based food samples

Originally started by Freeman Wicklund, the program was taken over by Shannon Kimball several years later, and is now a program of Compassionate Action for Animals. Compassionate Action for Animals will present Shannon with the award at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019 on September 15 at Harriet Island Park. The award presentation will take place on the So Good So You Main Stage just after a performance from singer-songwriter Mary Bue. 


This award honors the memory of animal lover Kenny Feldman. He thought animals were to be cared for and allowed to a live a life with freedom. Kenny was a close friend of Compassionate Action for Animals co-founder and first Executive Director, Unny Nambudiripad. He inspired Unny to become an activist. Sadly, we lost Kenny to suicide 19 years ago. From that tragic loss, we were moved to establish this annual award to acknowledge the contributions of individuals who strive to create a more compassionate world.

The Feldman family wants to thank CAA, Unny Nambudiripad, and current Executive Director Laura Matanah for helping preserve Kenny’s memory and continuing his legacy of being an animal lover and activist in animal rights campaigns. To find out more about Kenny, visit the Remembering Kenny Feldman Facebook page.

Help us raise $6,000 for the animals–and win a $500 prize!

As you read this page millions of chickens like Betty sit in windowless sheds, unable to spread their wings. Hidden away, they’re unable to share their stories and create a movement for change.

That’s where Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) comes in. We share animals’ stories on social media, in our e-newsletters, through year-round direct outreach done by our volunteers, and at Twin Cities Veg Fest.

By making a gift of any size you’re helping people learn the realities of farm animal life, and move towards a plant-based diet. And thanks to a special matching gift, your donation will go twice as far in reducing the suffering of animals like Betty.

On November 15 you also have the chance to help us win a $500 prize that will further our life-saving work! Every 10 minutes, the GiveMN team will choose one organization that received a gift to receive an additional $500.

Please take advantage of this special opportunity to help the animals and give today.

Twin Cities Veg Fest Community Tent

We are excited to introduce a brand new Twin Cities Veg Fest community tent! In the community tent a variety of activities provide the chance to:

  • get to know other festival attendees
  • have in-depth conversations with our speakers during round-table sessions
  • learn more about healthy plant-based eating
  • have fun

Read on to learn more!

Activities Planned  

Meet-up/Tweet-up

Come to the Community Tent at 12:00 to 12:30 and meet your fellow Meet-up and Twitter pals for a round of “Get to Know You BINGO”.

Ask A Dietitian Table

Do you have questions about how to approach a plant-based diet? We’ve got you covered. Twin Cities Veg Fest has lined up several dietitians who will be available throughout the festival to help answer questions and provide resources to help you along the way to healthy living.

Twin Cities Veg Fest Photo Booth

Capture your memories of Twin Cities Veg Fest at our Photo Booth outside the tent. We will be inviting you to post your pictures using our hashtag #tcvegfest18.

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) Information Table

Learn about many of the  events, programs, and initiatives of CAA, the organization that organizes the festival. You’ll find many volunteer opportunities to become involved with cultivating empathy for animals and moving to a plant-based diet. Also, sign up to learn about becoming a mentor or mentee with CAA’s new mentorship program.

Round Table Sessions

We’ve lined up round table sessions that where you will be able to go deeper into topics you are interested in. These discussions will be led by our speakers and will field your questions.

1:00 – 1:30 and 1:30 – 2:00

Plant-Based Nutrition for the Aspiring Vegan Lauren Plunkett RDN, LD, CDE, and Owner at LP Nutrition Consulting

Why you are the right person to help animals Christine Coughlin, Minnesota State Director for the Humane Society of the United States

2:15 – 2:45 and 2:45 – 3:15

The Right Way To Be Right Cam Awesome, Vegan Athlete and Inspirational Speaker

(Tentative) Veganism on a Budget Julie Knopp, Educator, Writer & Non-Profit Leader

3:30 – 4:00 and 4:00 to 4:30

What Animals Teach Us, and Why It Matters Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director at Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Religious (and Non-Religious) Approaches to Helping Animals Mark Berkson Ph.D., Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University

by Vic Massaglia, community tent coordinator and Compassionate Action for Animals board member

Wholesome Minnesota Update

CAA launched Wholesome Minnesota in January. This exciting new program empowers volunteers to make change for animals through the institutions they’re connected to. Whether it’s a school, hospital, faith community, restaurant, or worksite, almost all of us frequent a place that serves food, and by leveraging our involvement, we can generate more plant-based options in our community.

We held our first Wholesome Minnesota Advocacy Training in January in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States and Forward Food. Nearly 50 volunteers attended, and they went right to work making change at  institutions using what they learned.

First, Kacie Mathison spoke with the manager of her workplace insurance incentives programs. After a conversation about the benefits of Meatless Mondays, the manager agreed to implement employee incentive points for those who participate in Meatless Mondays. Way to go, Kacie!

Next, Twin Cities Friends Meeting (Quaker) agreed to provide vegan options after their worship services each Sunday after advocacy from an attendee of the first training.

After that Volunteer Henry Patterson connected CAA with a local catering company preparing more than 20,000 meals daily for charter schools, daycares, and home delivery. After meeting with Wholesome Minnesota leadership,the company agreed to trial vegan meals at a handful of local schools this school year.

In May and June, volunteer Theresa Zingery and program coordinator Julie Knopp made multiple contacts with a suburban school district. The district agreed to serve plant-based meals this coming April for Earth Day.

In July, program coordinator Julie Knopp and executive director Laura Matanah attended the Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles, gathering new resources to share.

There are two ways you can get involved in Wholesome Minnesota right now to keep this momentum going.

 

  1. Register  to attend our second Wholesome Minnesota Advocacy Training on Saturday, September 8th at 1:00 pm, co-hosted by the Humane Society of the United States. You’ll even get a free lunch from The Herbivorous Butcher! You can invite friends on Facebook, too.  
  2. Sign up for our volunteer newsletter take part in our growing initiative to get more plant-based options in Twin Cities restaurants. Each week in August, we’re inviting CAA supporters to share a simple, friendly message requesting vegan options at a local restaurant on social media. Just watch for the announcement in our weekly newsletter, and then copy-paste the text and post it to the target restaurant’s Facebook page. By showing local restaurants that a community of consumers is seeking more vegan options, we can inspire institutional change in Minnesota.

For more information or to get involved, email Wholesome Minnesota Program Coordinator Julie Knopp at julie.knopp@exploreveg.org.

 

A New Communications Coordinator!

I’m delighted to share that our hiring committee has selected a new Communications Coordinator: Emily Nyberg!

Emily has strong professional communications experience, including project coordination, writing, social media management, graphic design, and video production. She has also worked with volunteers to organize events.

Emily will begin work September 4. We look forward to telling you more about her in once she’s joined us in September. For now, we wanted to share our excitement about the ways she’ll be able to move our communications strategy forward.

Many thanks to our hiring committee, which included two board members and a volunteer, for their hard work in finding the right person for the job.

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Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pride Tour of Little Acorn Sanctuary!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!