Unny Nambudiripad

Unny is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Compassionate Action for Animals. Please see his biography.

Their Lives, Our Voices Conference Scholarships

Compassionate Action for Animals is pleased to announce our Their Lives, Our Voices Scholarship Program!

CAA will provide scholarships to five individuals for the Their Lives, Our Voices animal advocacy conference on Sunday, October 27th at the University of Minnesota.

If you are interested in this scholarship opportunity, please write a short (300 words or less) essay on how attending TLOV will help you develop and advance your animal advocacy.

Please note that this scholarship is only open to students or low-income individuals. The application deadline is Friday, October 4th. To apply, please send your essay in an email to scholarships@tlov.org.

New Event Coordinator

Meet Erica Sherwood, our new Event Coordinator! Cyrus Wolff left this position, recognizing that did not have the time to do this work. He will continue to volunteer with us.

Erica is new to CAA's outreach and events, but has been a long-term secret admirer of the organization. She joins their work this year part time as an event coordinator and looks forward to connecting with people in the coming months. She enjoys time in the grass with a good book, herbal tea in giant mugs, practicing yoga and experiencing life in other parts of the world.

Erica has joined Compassionate Action for Animals part time to work on coordinating events throughout the 2013 school year.

Compassionate Times: Fall, 2013

Dear friends of animals,

Did you attend Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013? It was an amazing day for Compassionate Action for Animals. Months of hard work culminated in a fun, festive day filled with great food, speakers, and music.

As the Committee Chair for the festival planning committee, I’d been looking forward to that day for many months. Planning for the festival started almost almost one year before the day of the event! We had a great team of volunteers this year, and they worked tirelessly for many months in order to make the event a success. It’s amazing how many moving parts have to come together for an event like this. At our first meeting in November of 2012, we were already brainstorming speakers to invite, planning our media outreach, and starting to plan our sponsor recruitment.

The day of the event was both exhausting and exhilirating. Right before the event, I looked out to see if there was line. There was, and it seemed to be even longer than last year’s! It’s great that some people were enthusiastic enough to queue up to be first in the doors.

Just like last year, there was an initial rush of people when we first opened the doors. It was a real thrill to see that first surge of people come through the door. Of course, that first surge doesn’t tell you how many people will come throughout the day. I was nervous because you never know how things will work out before the event happens. Did people see our advertising? Did they have something better to do that day? Would the UMN football game put people off from coming?

Last year, we had a good line at the beginning and then a fairly steady stream of people for the first few hours, but there was never any big rush of people. This year was quite different. I remember watching the growing number of people coming through the doors in astonishment (and a bit of fear). This strong flow of attendees didn’t seem to abate until 1pm or so.

We’ve prepared 1,000 swag bags for both years of the festival. This is a good way for us to count the first batch of attendees. Last year, our bags lasted until at mid-afternoon, around 2:30pm or so. This year, we ran out of bags at 12:45pm! This was an exciting milestone for us, and when that happened we knew we were well on track to beat last year’s attendance number of 1,200.

I was too busy to thoroughly tour the festival myself, but I did get a chance to try much of the food. I’d been up since 6:30am or so, so I was quite hungry when the festival started. I ran over to Seward Cafe and grabbed a delicious muffin and piece of banana bread to share with the other folks at the festival table. I hope you had a chance to try some of their baked goods. If you didn’t try them at the festival then check out their cafe on Franklin Ave. They always have a great selection of vegan dishes and desserts.

Later I shared a delicious waffle from Kitty Corner Cafe with my wife. It was covered with chocolate ganache, fruit, and nuts, and was completely decadent. With dessert out of the way, we then went on to share a platter of food from Asase Yaa. I also helped myself to a number of delicious samples. One of my favorites was the vegan caramels from Comfort Candy. I’m a sucker for vegan sweets!

Talking to the exhibitors at the event confirmed what we saw in terms of attendance. Those exhibitors who’d been there last year told me that they’d given away and sold significantly more of their products than the year before. By the end of the day, many of them had sold out!

An attendee checks out Seward Cafe's baked goodsAn event like Twin Cities Veg Fest can help animals in so many ways. First and foremost, the delicious food breaks down the misconception that vegan food requires great sacrifice. Vegan food is just as tasty and satifsying as animal products. Our speakers and exhibitors educate attendees about animal issues, how to follow a healthy vegan diet, and give them resources for changing their lives. And of course, the event highlights the vibrant, welcoming, and fun animal-friendly community in the Twin Cities

Reading our survey feedback was one of the most satisfying parts of the whole event for me. Over one third of our attendees were omnivores, which was exactly what I wanted to hear. It’s people who are still eating animal products that we need to reach. Almost every single person surveyed (98%) said they’d come back next year. One of my favorite comments was someone who said that “We never realised that vegan food could be so delicious.” It sure is!

We’re already starting to plan next year’s event. Just recently, I took a look at a potential new venue for the 2014 festival. With around 2,000 people coming this year, it’s time to find a venue that can hold 2,500 or 3,000 people comfortably!

Thank you again for your support of Compassionate Action for Animals. It’s only with your your help that we can continue to put on powerful events like Twin Cities Veg Fest.


Dave Rolsky
Twin Cities Veg Fest Committee Chair
Dave Rolsky

In Memory of Kenny Feldman

CAA Executive Director Unny Nambudiripad tells the story of his friendship with Kenny Feldman. We're hosting the Twin Cities Veg Fest concert in Kenny's memory.

I'm pleased to have worked with Carole and Stan Feldman to present the Twin Cities Veg Fest concert in memory of Kenny Feldman. Kenny was a close friend of mine and was instrumental in my being where I am today. We lost him to suicide 14 years ago.

I met Kenny as soon as I started college. Kenny was an avid reader, intensely curious, a lover of music, and was an irreverent skeptic. Knowing him became an opportunity for me to learn and grow.

During our second year of college, we were living together and he started volunteering with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), an environmental and social justice organization. He spoke enthusiastically about what they were doing and the people he met. I decided I would get involved, too, and followed his lead – to my first MPIRG meeting. I got involved, and by the fall I started to see that organizing for social change was meaningful for me. Through MPIRG, I met an animal activist and became involved in animal advocacy. A year later, I co-founded Compassionate Action for Animals.

Kenny's life was difficult. He suffered from depression much of his life and took his life in 1999. I'm grateful I was able to know him and that I was influenced by him. Shortly before he passed away, I told him how much he meant to me and how I appreciated the key role he played in getting me on the path I am on.

I hope this concert is a fitting tribute to his life. He was a lover of animals. He was close to his companions and was a vegetarian. Kenny loved music. He listened to an expansive variety of genres.

I loved the way that Kenny danced. He was always listening to music and going to concerts, but he rarely danced. He was shy about it; he didn't think he danced well. He suffered from muscular dystrophy, which made his movements unique – and better. He was wild and he was original, and this made him a beautiful and inspiring dancer. And it was these same qualities that led him to be a voice for those less fortunate.

I've stayed in touch with his parents, and with their support we're doing the concert in Kenny's memory. They want to keep his memory alive, and to remember him for the things he loved – animals and music. Kenny's family misses him every day and is honored to support CAA, an organization that so closely aligns with his deeply held value of compassion.

If you, or a loved one, are struggling with depression, please go to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) website for more information on how you can help or get help.

Introducing Our New Staff, Grace and Cyrus!

Compassionate Action for Animals recently hired two new staff members to expand our outreach and plan more events.

Compassionate Action for Animals is growing! We recently hired two part-time staff people to work during the school year. Both are dedicated animal activists, and we're excited to have them.

Grace Van Susteren Grace Van Susteren, Outreach Coordinator

Grace is a student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her previous experience with CAA includes coordinating leafleting. She enjoys all things outdoors, traveling, and interesting fish.

She will be coordinating tabling, paid-per-view, and leafleting.

Cyrus Wolff Cyrus Wolff, Event Coordinator

Cyrus is a student at Augsburg College, double majoring in Music and English. A lifelong vegan, Cyrus is passionate about advocating for animals. When not working or studying, he enjoys camping, swimming, and playing guitar.

Cyrus will be planning several events, starting with the Veg Week 2013 Feed-In.

CAA Executive Director Receives Animal Activist Award

At the Animal Rights 2013 conference last weekend, Compassionate Action for Animals co-founder and Executive Director was awarded the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award.

Unny Nambudiripad has been involved in animal protection since 1997. In 1998, at age 21, he co-founded Compassionate Action for Animals, a Minnesota-based farmed animal advocacy organization. He currently serves as CAA's Executive Director. Here are a few of the Unny and CAA's accomplishments:

  • Unny and CAA have organized potlucks, food giveaways, dine-outs, and the 2012 Twin Cities Veg Fest. The 2012 Twin Cities Veg Fest was attended by more than 1,200 people and featured national speakers and exhibitors from leading vegan food producers.
  • From 2008 through 2010, Compassionate Action for Animals organized the national Their Lives, Our Voices conference, a three-day conference with speakers such as Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals, Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary, and Carol Adams. In October, CAA will organize the second Twin Cities Veg Fest, which will be followed by a one day Their Lives, Our Voices conference.
  • CAA has handed out more than 190,000 Vegan Outreach leaflets at colleges, concerts, and events.
  • Compassionate Action for Animals has organized Veg Week for the last ten years. During Veg Week, several hundred people pledge to be vegetarian or vegan. CAA provides pledgers with a care pack and organizes a week-long series of events including a tour of a chicken sanctuary, a prominent national speaker, a concert, a film screening, and a potluck. CAA works with local veg-friendly restaurants and provides a discount card to pledgers.
  • CAA is the creator and operator of VegGuide.org, a worldwide guide to veg-friendly restaurants and businesses with more than 16,000 entries.
  • Unny has conducted investigations on factory farms, exposing cruelty to chickens raised for laying eggs.

Unny has trained and supervised hundreds of volunteers, raised funds, and has overseen every aspect of growing Compassionate Action for Animals into a powerful animal advocacy organization. He is most proud of keeping the organization focused on conducting its work with humility and respect, for being a persistent voice for animals, and empowering a new generation of effective animal advocates.

Compassionate Times: Summer, 2013

Dear friends of animals,

Every day, we speak out against animal suffering and needless death. A few months ago, I visited a local slaughterhouse to see first-hand how animals are killed for food. I want to be able to advocate for farmed animals with direct knowledge about how they are killed.

Along with several volunteers, the slaughterhouse I visited was just 30 miles from Minneapolis. They host tours to anybody upon request. I held back tears at the beginning, but for the most part I didn’t express the anguish that I felt at a deep level. I have seen many hours of video footage of animals being killed, and nothing I saw was new to me. Being there helped remind me that the animals we advocate for are not just abstractions, but individuals with feelings and personalities.

Unny Receives the Hinry Spira Award a the Animal Rights 2013 ConferenceIn June, I received the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist award at the Animals Rights 2013 National Conference. This award was given to two activists that have shown the commitment and have contributed significantly to advocating for animals. Receiving the award was humbling and overwhelming. I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to advocate for animals for the last 16 years, including co-founding Compassionate Action for Animals 15 years ago. But my work has only been successful because of the contributions of thousands of volunteers, supporters, coalition partners, and donors like you!

Twin Cities Veg Fest LogoPlanning for our second Twin Cities Veg Fest is well underway! We’re holding it on October 26, 2013 in Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. This year we will include a concert during the Veg Fest and we are reviving Their Lives, Our Voices as a one-day conference the day after the festival! 

Thank you again for your consistent support!

Yours for the animals,

Unny Signature

Unny Nambudiripad

Teaching Compassion to Minnesota Students

Shannon Kimball, an educator with Bridges of Respect, has been offering humane education to classrooms across Minnesota for ages 6 and up. Bridges of Respect, a CAA project, has been teaching students about compassion, justice, and kindness since 1999.

In a recent article on the Examiner, Minnesota animal advocate Lisle Soukup profiled Compassionate Action for Animals' Bridges of Respect program. The profile focuses on Bridges humane educator Shannon Kimball.

Bridges of Respect has been offering humane education to classrooms across the state since 1999, teaching compassion, kindness, and justice to students 6th grade and up. This program uses a curriculum modeled after that of the International Institute for Humane Education, focusing on education as a set of tools and strategies to teach about human rights, animal protection, environmental stewardship, and culture issues.

Bridges of Respect offers topics that are a great fit for any class and they tailor each lesson to the specific age group they are teaching. Shannon Kimball states that their goal is to "offer character training and real lasting social change."

To learn more about Bridges of Respect, visit the program's website.

Recipes from AmyLeo’s Vegan Cooking Classes

Did you miss out on any of AmyLeo's amazing vegan cooking classes? No worries – we've got all of her delectable recipes here for you to try out at home!

Amazing vegan chef and caterer AmyLeo Barankovich has been at it again! She's whipping up delicious vegan recipes and sharing her knowledge of vegan cooking with vegan and veg-curious people across the Twin Cities and now we've got some of her stellar recipes to share with you all here!

Whether you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth or you want to impress your dinner guests, these recipes will get your vegan cooking endeavors started on the right foot!

Here are the recipes:


AmyLeo is a passionate vegan chef. She began cooking for a family of ten at the age of 13 and has since been delighting family, friends, and colleagues with creative, delicious, beautiful, wholesome food since. She recently founded Vegan Affairs: A Place for Taste and Grace, offering private and public vegan cooking classes, personal chef services, vegan coaching, and restaurant consulting. Currently she is offering classes at Kitchen Window, The Wedge, Seward Co-op, Whole Foods, Linden Hills Co-op, Eastside Co-op and Mississippi Market.

If you are interested in more vegan cooking classes or are interested in any of AmyLeo's other services, send her an email!

Vegan Pancake Recipe from Our Feed-In

Our second annual Vegan Pancake Brunch Feed-In took place at Van Cleve Park on Saturday, April 27, 2013.

The warm weather allowed guests to bask in sunlight at Van Cleve’s outdoor pavilion while they enjoyed a delicious brunch of vegan pancakes and vegan sausage. This year we provided an additional gluten-free pancake option. Reports on both recipes were overwhelmingly positive.

Our pancake recipe, courtesy of Adam Marquardt (our resident pancake chef at the event) is below:

Vegan Pancakes

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (for gluten-free version, substitute with brown rice flour)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • dash of cinnamon

Wet ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ener-G egg replacer (equivalent to 1 egg)
  • 1 cup nondairy milk (unsweetened almond)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Mix the wet together in small mixing bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until smooth (mixing as little as possible). The mixture should be just thin enough to pour easily. If it’s not, add a little more nondairy milk.

Heat a griddle to medium hot or heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. Flip the pancake after most of the bubbles it forms have popped and the edges are starting to dry (1-2 minutes). Cook for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with vegan buttery spread and pure maple syrup.

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Upcoming Events

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

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

18th Annual Vegan Virtual ThanksLiving

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!