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Join the Twin Cities Veg Fest Planning Committee!

Liz and Freeman at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013

Plans for Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015 are already underway. The committee that’s organizing the festival is looking for three additional volunteers for the roles of Exhibitor Logistics Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Media Outreach Coordinator. Are you interested?

You could be a part of the team that makes Twin Cities Veg Fest possible! Each year, this one-day event draws more than 2,300 people and shows them a variety of ways to live more compassionately. Help make this year’s festival bigger and better than ever.

The Exhibitor Logistics Coordinator will:

  • Make sure exhibitors provide any materials needed, including text and logos, food permits, payment. This will often require multiple interactions and reminders.
  • Create clear exhibitor guidelines and make sure that exhibitors are aware of them.
  • Coordinate shipping with exhibitors as needed.
  • Write clear exhibitor instructions, including where and when to unload and load, where to set up, and how many attendees to expect.
  • Plan the exhibitor hall layout to make sure that all exhibitors get what they need, including the right number of tables and access to electrical outlets.
  • Be the primary point person for exhibitors on the day of the event.

Some of delegate the tasks included in exhibitor logistics could be delegated to other volunteers, but you’d be responsible for overseeing this aspect of the festival.

You will be most busy in the two months before the festival, as well as on the day of the festival.

The Volunteer Coordinator will:

  • Determine how many volunteers are needed for every aspect of the festival, including pre-event, day-of, and post-event tasks.
  • Write detailed descriptions for each position.
  • Create a complete schedule for all volunteer shifts, noting where shift leaders are needed and determining how many volunteers are needed for each position.
  • Recruit and schedule volunteer leaders. This will require individual emails and phone calls.
  • Arrange for each volunteer leader to receive whatever training required. This training can be conducted over the phone or in person meeting. The coordinator or another committee member will reviews the position details with the volunteer leader.
  • Recruit volunteers for all positions. This will require mass emails, social media posts, and possibly individual emails and phone calls.
  • Schedule interested volunteers based on their availability, skills, and preferred positions.
  • On the day of the festival, check in with volunteers as they arrive, direct them to their volunteer leader, and give them a shirt (if appropriate). Other committee members can help with this as well.

The Volunteer Coordinator should be a friendly, well-organized person who is comfortable with reaching out to people one-on-one. You should be good at working with others on the committee to compile volunteer instructions. You will also need to have good communication skills to effectively train volunteer leaders and direct volunteers as they arrive.

Some of delegate the tasks included in volunteer coordination could be delegated to other volunteers, but you’d be responsible for overseeing this aspect of the festival.

Your workload ramps up in the last two to three months before the festival, as it’s not realistic to recruit volunteers more than four to six weeks out.

The Media Outreach Coordinator will:

  • Collect contact info for local media and relevant blogs.
  • Write and distribute press releases to all relevant media.
  • Get the event listed in local calendars, both online and in print.
  • Be the first contact person for the media. Send requests for interviews to other committee members as appropriate.

The Media Outreach Coordinator must have excellent writing skills and creative ideas for getting media attention. You must also be good at doing online research to find local media outlets.

You will be most busy in the few months preceding the festival, since it’s not effective to do media outreach too far in advance. However, research for this position should start at least six months before the festival.

If you’d like to be a part of the Twin Cities Veg Fest Planning Committee or have further questions about these roles, please contact Unny Nambudiripad at unny@exploreveg.org.

Cookbook Review: Vegan Pizza

Vegan PIzza Front Cover

Pizza: It’s the staple of every college kid’s diet and of every harried parent’s go-to meal plan. But when you make the decision to eat a plant-based diet, your delivery pizza options are greatly reduced. Julie Hasson looks to fill that void by bringing delicious vegan pizza straight to your kitchen with her cookbook, the aptly named Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes.

Vegan pizza may seem simple enough: homemade crust, tomato sauce, plus some toppings and maybe a little vegan cheese. But getting just the right combination of those ingredients can be the difference between an okay pizza and one that you’ll remember long after you’ve devoured the last bite. Julie’s book is what will get you there. Her easy-to-follow instructions and carefully-thought-out recipes give you all the tools you need to make crave-worthy vegan pizza right in your own kitchen.

The cookbook contains 50 unique recipes for vegan pizza, all of which look amazing. Muffuletta Pizza or Thai Peanut Pizza? What could be any better than that? The beginning of the book provides a list of common pizza staples to have in the pantry as well as five different crust recipes that will satisfy anyone you may be cooking for, including a gluten-free option. She also provides many tips and tricks for getting your vegan pizza to come out better than what you could get from delivery or a store.

The recipes are broken into eight sections, including several recipes dedicated to individual components: Dough and Crust, House-Made Meats, and Cheesy Sauces and Spreads. Once you have all of the pieces together, Julie dives into the good stuff – the pizzas! She starts off with the classics and gets more exotic as the book goes on, with global flavors and unique combos. And, of course, what would a book about pizza be without a few dessert pizza recipes?

My personal favorite recipe is the Valentine’s Pizza. It’s a straightforward recipe, like most in the book. However, Julie adds her own twist on things, which really takes this pizza to the next level. I love the suggestion of shaping your pizza into a heart, and the unique combination of sun-dried tomato, basil, arugula pesto, and red bell peppers gives it truly bold flavors. The bell pepper adds an interesting texture as well, which keeps things exciting as you make your way through the pie with your sweetheart.

While the photos are a bit sparse, I wouldn’t consider that a problem. After all, you can only shoot pizza from so many angles. Overall, the variety of combinations and user-friendly instructions make this cookbook one you’ll want to to have on hand at all times. With Julie’s help, you’ll be whipping up vegan pizza for your friends and family in no time, even if you’re a novice cook!

Meatless Monday Campaign Update

lambpiglet

This past September, a group of us who are CAA volunteers and also students at the University of Minnesota started a campaign to get more meatless options in the University’s dining halls on Mondays. As the campaign coordinator, I’m reporting on the progress we’ve made toward reaching our goal.

Bringing the campaign to the University of Minnesota would have many benefits. Aside from this ultimate goal, the process of campaigning is also a powerful means of outreach. We are engaging students, faculty, alumni, University departments, student groups, and community members in a conversation about the effects of animals agriculture and the benefits of a Meatless Monday program.

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Activist Training Plans for 2015

TLOV 2014 Attendees

Compassionate Action for Animals launched our conference, Their Lives, Our Voices (TLOV), in 2008. The conference ran through 2010, then went on hiatus until we hosted it in conjunction with Twin Cities Veg Fest in 2013 and 2014. We have decided to discontinue TLOV in 2015, but we have plans for other programs that will offer resources for activists.

There have always been two motivations for hosting TLOV. First, we wanted to bring together animal advocates from across the Midwest to form connections and exchange ideas. As a bonus, we had national figures in the animal advocacy movement participating. However, it was always the networking between activists in the region that has been most important feature of this event for us. We think that Twin Cities Veg Fest can fulfill that purpose just as well since it also attracts advocates from around the region. With this in mind, we will add space and time for networking at our next Twin Cities Veg Fest.

Our other goal for TLOV has been to provide practical training for animal advocates, especially for those who volunteer for CAA. This training has included sessions on leafleting, responding to frequently asked questions, fundraising, organizing events, public speaking, and more. We will continue to offer this sort of education to our volunteers through training sessions that will be scheduled throughout the year. Since these sessions will require less planning and resources to produce than TLOV, they can happen more often and will be free to attend. An added advantage is that the Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee can focus on improving the festival, rather than also planning for TLOV.

Our first training session is coming up on Saturday, February 21, from 10am to 5pm. We’ll cover a variety of topics, including a basic overview of CAA, humane education presentations, and other activities. We’ll also provide a free vegan lunch as part of the event. See the event listing for more details on how to sign up. We hope to see you there!

Highlights from Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014

Twin Cities Veg Fest was a memorable experience for all involved. Thousands of people came out to attend this festival of compassionate living. They enjoyed an array of delicious vegan food, powerful speaker presentations, informative cooking demos, and a variety of exhibitors. Good times were being had left and right, and all in the name of helping animals.

Check out our video of festival highlights and you can see all of this for yourself. Heck, you might even see yourself in there!

Thank You for Giving for Compassion!

what your donation achieves

Our Give for Compassion campaign was a huge success thanks to all of you!

We first set a goal of raising $7,500. Thanks to the generous contribution of an anonymous donor, that goal was matched 2-for-1, giving us a total of $22,500 to support our work. We made that goal with a few days to spare and then set an additional goal of $1,500, with another 2-for-1 match from another donor, giving us an additional $4,500. Thanks to the contributions of many supporters, we not only met both of these goals, but also surpassed them. Wow!

If you’re wondering what your donation will achieve, check out the image attached to this post. It offers a visual example of how these funds are allocated to support our outreach, education, and community building programs.

Again, thank you for your generous support. With your contribution, we are able to speak out on behalf of farmed animals and build a compassionate community in the Twin Cities and beyond.

There’s still time to give for compassion!

embrace2

Great news! Thanks to a generous outpouring of support, we’ve reached our first year-end goal of $7,500 along with an additional stretch goal of $1,500, all with time to spare. (Note that both of these goals were matched 2-for-1!)

Though we’ve reached our goal, the campaign isn’t over yet! If you’d still like to make a contribution, you have until midnight tonight. Give for Compassion today and help support our vital work speaking out for farmed animals.

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Give for compassion today and be a hero for the animals!

embrace2

There’s no time like the present to Give for Compassion! We reached our first year-end goal of $7,500 with a couple days to spare. Then, guess what happened! Another generous donor offered a $3,000 2-for-1 match if we can raise an additional $1,500. We have until Wednesday, December 31 at midnight to reach this new goal. That’s less than 48 hours! Give today and help support our vital work speaking out for farmed animals.

The range of our work can be seen in our year-in-review video slideshow. We hope you find these images inspiring and that they remind you of all the great times that we’ve had in the past year and all that’s possible in 2015 and beyond!

Bridges of Respect: Setting a Standard for Humane Education in Minnesota

Students at Como High School sample nondairy milk.

CAA’s humane education program, Bridges of Respect, has been giving presentations in Minnesota schools for more than 10 years. During our presentations, we offer students Tofurky sandwiches on whole grain bread, and they get a taste of how delicious wholesome plant-based food can be. But that’s only the beginning of what our humane education program is giving to the young people in the Twin Cities region.

Here’s an overview of our activities over the past year:

We gave 50 presentations in 2014. Most of these presentations focus on the ways animals are affected by our food choices, but we also incorporate environmental issues. We occasionally present on how animals are used in the entertainment business and in the science industry, and we make a connection between violence toward animals and the violence toward other human beings.

By the end of 2014, we reached about 1,500 students in Minnesota’s high schools and colleges. Students learn about veganism in their health classes and their environmental chemistry classes. We always bring the emotions and intelligence of animals into the conversation when discussing the food industry.

We have conversations about factory farming. We discuss animal agriculture as a whole and show how it has affected our lives. Some students stay after class to talk about it more with us, and some students incorporate what they’ve learned into classroom assignments. They scribble “chooseveg.org” and “vegguide.org” on their notebooks and type them into their smartphones.

We speak with students about the dangerous “ag-gag” laws. We explain how these laws threaten transparency by outlawing images taken of an “animal enterprise,” and how these laws would infringe on our right to free speech.

We are working each day, even when not in the classroom. We train others to give presentations. We prepare food samples, literature, and other resources for students. We also prepare for the presentations and provide the vital follow-up support to students and teachers.

A full foot of snow won’t stop us! The morning after a big snowstorm, several school districts cancelled classes. Until we got a message that our presentation had to be rescheduled, we were ready to trudge through whatever weather to get our message of compassion to students. We are committed!

CAA is currently trying to raise $7,500 by December 31 at midnight. All of these funds are matched 2-for-1. It’s a great time to support CAA’s humane education efforts in the Twin Cities. We have almost reached our fundraising goal, but we need your help to make it the rest of the way. Give for Compassion today!

Pay-Per-View at the U – Winter 2015!

Pay-Per-View At Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014

My name is Claire Erickson, and I’m the new Tabling Coordinator for CAA. I’m a U of M student who is looking forward to meeting new faces and advocating for animals.

In the first few months of 2015, we have the opportunity to host pay-per-view tabling events at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. We hope you will come out to support the cause.

Dates:

Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Location: Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The pay-per-view program is a great way to help animals. We’ll be paying people one dollar to watch a five-minute video about factory farming. We engage in positive conversations and educate the public. Come out to take action for animals by introducing people to compassionate eating!

For more information or if you would like to volunteer, email me at claire.erickson@exploreveg.org or check out the events on our Facebook page.

Get Involved

Upcoming Events

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vegan Potluck at the Chateau

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Leaflet with Vegan Outreach

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Vegan Food Showcase