8 Reasons You’ll Love the 2018 Twin Cities Veg Fest

Twin Cities Veg Fest comes to Harriet Island Park on Saturday, September 16, and we hope you’ll be there to join in the fun.

We asked some of our planning committee members to tell us what most excites them about this year’s festival, and here’s what they had to say.

1. The Twin Cities’ community!

Maggie Simmons

“I’m looking forward to connecting with the Twin Cities’ community about eating plant-based and making compassionate choices! Not to mention all the delicious food!” —Maggie Simmons, Assistant to the Committee Chair

2. New food vendors!

Nathan Gaut

“I’m excited for all the new food vendors coming this year! We’re really gearing up to have our biggest Twin Cities Veg Fest by far! I love finding new local small businesses with awesome foods and drinks that I didn’t know were here in the Cities.” —Nathan Gaut, Twin Cities Veg Fest Committee Chair and CAA Board Member

3. The vegan vibe!

David Paul Muench Huebert

“I’m excited to feel the vegan vibe and to have my food choices, which are very important to me but often out-of-step with the world around me, be the norm for one giant party.” —David Paul Muench Huebert, Exhibitor Coordinator

4. The compassionate crowd!

Suzy Sorensen (left) at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2017

“I am really looking forward to being part of a big, giant, compassionate crowd! Last year it was wonderful to be physically moving and working among so many people who are making the world a more positive, peaceful place. To see the excitement on faces, hear the passionate comments, feel the positive vibe, and be part of the group is empowering and reminds me that I make a difference and relieve suffering in this world every day through my choice to be vegan.” —Suzy Sorensen, Speaker Coordinator

5. The 21+ after-party!

Laura Matanah

“I’m excited to have more scrumptious food choices, music, and opportunities to connect with others that will last beyond the festival. And I’m pumped for the 21+ after-party too!” —Laura Matanah, CAA Executive Director

6. The new location on Harriet Island!

Mitch Thompson

“What excites me most about Twin Cities Veg Fest is that it’s hosted by an organization that allows interested people like myself the opportunity to be involved and have input on making it happen. The new location on Harriet Island is also exciting. OK, but really the truth it’s the food that has me most excited.” —Mitch Thompson, Festival Logistics Coordinator

7. Innovation in plant-based food!

Michelle Peterson (and Stella)

“For this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest, I’m excited to see the innovations our local vendors have created for plant-based foods, which are skyrocketing in popularity. From imitation fried chicken to bee-free honey, it’s never been a better time to explore veg.” —Michelle Peterson, Media Outreach Coordinator











8. Accessibility!

As someone with a hidden disability, I’d like to invite people with disabilities to contact us about accommodations you may be wondering about. I’m excited about TCVF specialty food items (like last year’s cheese curds) AND stocking up on coupons because, as many of you know, those are hard to come by in the world of plant-based eating.

Michelle Shaw

Away in a Manger: Pigs on Minnesota Farms

This time of year, we often hear the story of the nativity, with the baby Jesus surrounded by a donkey, camel, and other animals. Unfortunately, farmed animals today are hardly given a life that reflects the Christian values of kindness and compassion. Yet there is a growing concern for the treatment of farmed animals, and The Star Tribune’s article, “More Shoppers Demand Ethical Treatment,” published on December 19, was right in mentioning that.

Sadly though, the practices described in the article as “humane” don’t give pigs the lives they deserve. To make matters worse, Hormel is portrayed as a company supporting improved conditions for animals. The reality is that they have yet to make meaningful commitments to animal welfare. Let’s take a closer look at the video posted online with the article.

“We’re looking for farm partners that raise the pigs with integrity, raise the pigs with care,“ says the Hormel spokesperson. I am sure they are delighted to partner with families like the one featured in the article. But the truth is that there are no laws or policies at either Hormel or in state or federal law to stop suppliers from engaging in horrific abuse, such ripping out piglets’ testicles without painkillers. This is a standard practice in the industry.

Mercy for Animals has asked Hormel to commit to implementing the following practices throughout it’s supply chain:

  • Eliminate abusive and extreme confinement systems, such as gestation and farrowing crates, and replace them with less cruel group housing systems
  • End agonizing mutilations, such as castration and tail docking without pain relief
  • Provide a safe, sanitary, and cognitively stimulating environment by keeping all animal areas dry and clean and providing environmental enrichments, such as straw and other natural materials
  • Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse and install video monitoring systems that live stream to the internet to deter egregious acts of violence against animals

Hormel has not yet committed to these practices. Other large suppliers, like Walmart and Nestlé, have committed to ending the use of gestation crates, as well as ending castration and tail-docking without painkillers.

Let’s also be honest about the conditions pigs face even on the best of farms. “Industry practice is to house pregnant sows individually to protect them from aggression they may face,” explains Mr. Mogler, the farmer featured in the article. In fact, mother pigs are typically forced to spend their pregnancies, averaging 114 days, in “individual housing” (otherwise known as a gestation crates) where they can’t even turn around. This practice is apparently changing on the Mogler’s farm, but it’s unclear how much time the pigs get to spend in group housing. In the video, we regularly see the pigs in farrowing crates (where they still can’t turn around) to nurse. After the piglets are removed from all contact with their mothers at around 28 days, the moms will be caged to be artificially inseminated, and so the cycle of pregnancy and loss will begin again.

In nature, mother pigs find a private spot to build a nest for their piglets. Other moms don’t bother them; they’re too busy caring for their own young. And, needless to say, the pigs aren’t killed at six months old so that somebody can eat them. Instead, moms and piglets stay together in social groups for a full year. The young pigs then move out on their own, and adult pigs live four to eight years.

Libby sleeps comfortably at Spring Farm Sanctuary in Long Lake, Minnesota.

Obviously though, all of Minnesota’s pigs won’t be running wild. The good news is that farm sanctuaries here in our state such as Farmaste Animal Sanctuary, Spring Farm Sanctuary, and SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary take in pigs. In these loving and protected conditions, pigs can live up to 20 years, developing close bonds with humans and other animals.

There is much that concerned readers can do to help see that farmed animals have the lives they deserve. A great first step is to stop eating pigs. There are many bacon and pork alternatives found in grocery stores. Plant-based meats can be bought from The Herbivorous Butcher or ordered in dishes at many local restaurants.

Compassionate Action for Animals and other local groups can support the transition toward plant-based eating. Together, let’s make this holiday season meaningful. Let’s take compassionate action for farmed animals, and start taking them off our plates.

A version of this commentary was submitted to the Star Tribune but not published. We are sharing it here on our blog instead. If you’re interested in writing letters to the editor in response to breaking news stories, please let us know.

Give to the Max for the Animals!

Make a gift to CAA through GiveMN and support the students who are speaking out for the animals.

What makes an animal advocate? How can CAA best support people in their process? This is one of the questions we asked ourselves in creating our new strategic plan.

Advocates grow our movement by increasing awareness of animal suffering and building a welcoming community. The community supports people in moving toward a plant-based diet and developing effective advocacy skills.

CAA is systematically building more advocates through training, information sessions, and community building. Few things demonstrate that as strongly as the growth of our University of Minnesota student group. Yash and Nathan are two of its leaders.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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