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Meet Our New Wholesome Minnesota Coordinator!

Bruce was introduced to Compassionate Action for Animals through attending, and eventually participating as a host in Twin Cities VegFest. His background includes roles in Occupational Safety and Health, and he currently runs a few small businesses. He is excited to apply his experience in public engagement to help expand the reach of the Wholesome Minnesota program and CAA. 

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Ashley Riddle is the 2020 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award winner

Ashley Riddle is Program Director for the Animal Rights Coalition, which is based in Minneapolis.

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 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 Ashley Riddle, Program Director for the Animal Rights Coalition.

Ashley has been active for animals since 2015. In her work with the Animal Rights Coalition, she has protested against circuses, fur, trophy hunting, pet stores, puppy mills, animal testing facilities, and the racing of exotic animals. 

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Cookie Cart fundraiser a big success!

Thanks to the generosity of our community, we’ll keep introducing teens to plant-based cooking and living.

It’s not often you set a fundraising goal, and exceed it three times over. We recently ended an approximately month-long drive to encourage people in our community to support our work with Cookie Cart. In the end, we raised over $3,000 — much more than the $1,000 goal we initially had set.

The unexpected funds will allow us to fund a full year of cookie production at Cookie Cart, purchase supplies for youth to participate in plant-based cooking classes, and partially fund Tamuno’s time to work with youth.

Who is Cookie Cart?

Cookie Cart is a local nonprofit organization that provides teens 15 to 18 years old with lasting and meaningful work, life and leadership skills through experience and training in urban nonprofit bakeries. Because of the 2020 pandemic challenges, many Cookie Cart kids have transitioned to online experiences and learning…and Compassionate Action for Animals was a big part of this new development.

The key to this astonishing success? Cookies!

Cookie Cart agreed to provide a dozen of their new vegan cookies to every individual who donated $25 or more to keep our work together going strong. We’re pretty sure that the draw of these vegan sugar sprinkle cookies, together with the opportunity to give community teens new compassion-based skills and experiences, was what led so many to pledge their support.

How to get your cookies if you donated

  • If you made a one-time donation of $25 or more during our Cookie Cart fundraiser, look for an email from us about when you can pick up your cookies at Reverie Cafe, 1517 E. 35th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407. Once cookies are baked, you’ll be able to pick them up  any time during Reverie’s normal business hours. (Demand was so high we ran out, and Cookie Cart is baking more!)
  • If you pledged a monthly donation of $25 or more, we will be delivering your cookies to you. We will contact you by email to let you know when they will arrive.

Volunteer Shout-Out: World Day for Farmed Animals vigil organizers

It takes a village to plan a vigil. Especially when it’s the first one of its kind in our region.

Ten volunteers and three staff members enlisted this year to plan and put on Minnesota’s first World Day for Farmed Animals vigil, happening at 5:30 pm, October 2, 2020, at Father Hennepin Bluff Park in Minneapolis. They include:

  • Mark Hiner
  • Sandy Hitchin
  • Laura Hofer
  • Tamuno Imbu
  • Marina Kirkeide
  • Liberty Kirkeide
  • Julie Knopp
  • Halie Langanki
  • Laura Matanah
  • Abby Medberry
  • Gail Manney
  • Brianna Newcomb
  • Ty Newcomb
  • Josh Truong
  • Maya Ulrich

A few of the organizers who volunteered their time and skills to make this vigil happen shared their reasons for heeding the call. Find out what motivated them to be a voice for animals, and why they think it’s important to bring awareness to the tragic plight of farmed animals worldwide.

Why did you want to support the WDFA vigil?

Mark Hiner with foster chicken

Mark Hiner: We were about to foster chickens, who are the most farmed land animals, yet frequently ignored by animal cruelty regulations. So I wanted to do what I could to give them a voice.

Julie Knopp: I believe animals deserve kindness. World Day for Farmed Animals provides an opportunity for people across the globe to stand up in defense of the billions of invisible animals who suffer and die for human consumption each year. Here in Minnesota amidst the pandemic, tens of thousands of animals have been needlessly slaughtered and dumped without being processed into food. It’s time to address our broken food system and call for change.

Josh Truong: I think it’s important to offer a place and time for grief and remembrance of the farmed animals killed every year, especially in this very difficult year we have had full of mass cullings of farmed animals and environmental disasters as a result of climate change. 

Julie Knopp with Waffle Cone

What part of the vigil are you most looking forward to?

Mark, Julie and Josh: We’re looking forward to the amazing lineup of speakers and the powerful, inspiring animal stories they will share with us.

What would you say to someone interested in attending or watching the vigil?

Mark: Give it a try. It feels good to connect to others, especially when we’re so isolated these days.

Josh Truong with Tofu

Julie: Whether you’re a seasoned animal advocate or completely new to farmed animal issues, I would love to see you at the vigil. This is a meaningful opportunity for Minnesotans to come together to show that we care about animals and to inspire action in our community.

Josh: We are looking to create a safe and welcoming environment, and we’d love to see you there!

A new Wholesome Minnesota Coordinator

Wholesome Minnesota now has its first dedicated staff member, Bruce Williams.

Thanks to the generosity of a private foundation, we have recently hired our first paid Wholesome Minnesota Coordinator: Bruce Williams!

Bruce Williams, Wholesome Minnesota Coordinator

Wholesome Minnesota is a community program that empowers individuals to advocate for plant-based food options in Minnesota institutions, such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship. This program of Compassionate Action for Animals was created in collaboration with Humane Society of the United States – Minnesota. 

Bruce has strong professional project management experience, and previously worked for Rolls Royce, Texas Instruments, and 3M. He founded Minnesota’s first black-owned comedy club, Baddies. These days he runs his own design and video production company, Human Luminous.

His work with Wholesome Minnesota will be part-time, and he will focus on helping school districts and school catering companies introduce plant-based options.

Bruce is just stepping into the role. We look forward to telling you more about him in the coming weeks. For now, we wanted to share our excitement about the ways he’ll move our work forward, helping at least three schools or districts introduce plant-based options in the coming year.

Interested in Wholesome Minnesota for your school?

Want to see more plant-based foods on your school’s cafeteria menu? If you’d like Bruce to connect with decision makers in a school or school district you’re a part of, email wholesome.minnesota@exploreveg.org.

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

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting