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  


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


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.

Volunteer at Twin Cities Veg Fest

Twin Cities Veg Fest takes place on Sunday September 16 at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. Volunteer to join us!

Volunteering your time to a cause you are passionate about is the most effective way to make a big impact for the animals. Big or small, young or old, there are opportunities everywhere to make the festival a more welcoming and better place for all attendees.

When people have a great experience at the festival due to the hard work or smiling face of a volunteer, that might be the push they needed to explore a plant-based lifestyle which will create a more peaceful world for animals bit by bit.

Whether you’re a helping hand keeping the festival grounds clean, greeting attendees, or representing Compassionate Action for Animals at an outreach table, every role is important to create a welcoming and fun atmosphere at the festival.

In addition to the positive effects your volunteer work has on the community of vegans and skeptics around you, volunteering is a fun way to meet like-minded people! All volunteers for the event have the affirmative mindset to donate their time and services to make the festival a better place, and is a pool of positive connections ready to be made.

Each year Twin Cities Veg Fest relies on volunteers to keep the festival free for all and running smoothly, and we couldn’t do it without your hard work. I encourage you if you are able to join our team of dedicated volunteers and make a difference at this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest! For a list of available positions and shift times we are looking for this year, please see our form at We look forward to working with you!


by Emma Pearson, Volunteer Co-Coordinator, Twin Cities Veg Fest

The 2018 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award Goes to…

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 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, in honor of Compassionate Action for Animal’s 20th anniversary, we’re giving the award to Matt Mackall, Unny Nambudiripad, and Dave Rolsky. All three were founders of CAA and have been critical to the growth of the organization and the animal rights movement, both locally and nationally.

Matt and Unny at one of CAA’s Annual Banquets
Unny Nambudiripad won the Henry Spira award for Animal Advocacy in 2013.

Together Matt, Unny and Dave worked to bring many others to caring about and taking action for animals, just as Kenny Feldman inspired Unny to activism. This can be seen by the way that Compassionate Action for Animals programs, including Twin Cities Veg Fest, are thriving.  It can also be seen in the movement for animals that exists in Minnesota today demonstrated by the many organizations and activists who will be present at the festival.

David Rolsky at Poplar Spring Farm Sanctuary

CAA will present Matt, Unny, and Dave with the award at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2018 on September 16 at Harriet. The award presentation will take place in the Farmaste Speaker’s Tent  just before the presentation on animal protection from Catskill Farm Sanctuary director Kathy Stevens.

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 18 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.


We’re Bringing Music and Arts to the Festival!

You asked for more music and arts at Twin Cities Veg Fest, and this year we’re bringing it! You’ll be able to hear a range of musical styles and participate in free interactive arts activities throughout the day. In the evening, we’ll have a 21+ after-party with more live music and a DJ!

The Sunshapes performed at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2017.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience: Bryan Schumann will provide live ambient music as background to guided meditations led by Dawn Morningstar and Freeman Wicklund; YaLonda Lolar will sing inspirational music; The Peace Life, a guitar and banjo playing duo, will share original tunes mixed with favorite covers, and The Sunshapes will perform their unique blend of folk/Americana, pop, and classical.

Throughout the festival artist BrieAnna Lindquist will give attendees the opportunity to create screen prints of animals and veggies.

To cap off the day, DJ Wagz will welcome you to our ticketed 21+ after-party where we’ll feature singer-songwriter Mary Bue as well as cabaret diva Mistress Ginger, glamourpuss supreme, who will share popular tunes of classic pop-rock with her band. Tickets will go on sale shortly.

Funding for the equipment, electricity and staffing needed to support these artists is provided by generous donations from people like you. Each $1,000 we raise is being matched by a group of generous donors. Please help us reach our goal of $8,000 by August 25 by making a gift today.

A generous group of volunteers helped to recruit and select this year’s performers. Many thanks to Nathan Gaut, Bryan Schumann, YaLonda Lolar, Ayanna Muata, Mitch Thompson, and Laura Van Zandt for their thoughtful participation.

A full schedule of artists, times, and locations will appear on the Twin Cities Veg Fest website later this month.


Hops & Hearts Event Kicks off $8,000 Festival Fundraising Drive

On July 25, we kicked off our campaign to raise $8,000 for Twin Cities Veg Fest with a fabulous party at Bang Brewing in St. Paul.

Over 85 guests contributed the first $1,200 that we need to raise by August 25. Please join in by making a gift today! Every gift is being matched by a team of generous donors.

Guests enjoyed delicious food from Reverie Mobile Kitchen and heard about the difference that their gifts to support the festival make.

For many of our thousands of attendees, this is their first and only exposure to animal rights. It’s a chance for them to think, ‘Wow, look at all these people, being vegan isn’t that weird–it’s awesome!’ or ‘Wow, this food is delicious! I can’t believe vegans can eat such good stuff’ or ‘Wow, I didn’t know they did that to animals, that’s not okay.’ It’s experiences like these that ultimately end up saving animal lives,” shared Nathan Gaut, who serves as the chair of this year’s festival committee.

Enjoy the photo slideshow of the event below, and view our progress towards our fundraising goal here.




Community Potluck a Huge Success

The ARC/CAA Vegan potluck at Minnehaha Falls was a smashing success. Over 120 people attended, enjoying great food and conversation.

I love how our potlucks build community. During the event I met brand-new folks who’d never come to a vegan event before and had a wonderful time, saw folks talking together about a variety of animal advocacy work, and got to reconnect with one of my former second-grade students, who is now vegan!

Enjoy photos from the potluck below. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!



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