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Twin Cities Veg Fest Food Guide

One of the most exciting parts of the festival is THE FOOD! Each year, the festival keeps growing and so do the flavors! And from food trucks, to bakeries, to sauce companies, and more, there are a lot of flavors to experience at the festival.

Before their big reveal on Sunday, take a peek at the list of the businesses bringing Instagram-worthy treats and meals for you to enjoy at Twin Cities Veg Fest between attending cooking demos, inspiring speakers, listening to the awesome music lineup, and visiting with the 100+ non-food exhibitors that include sanctuaries, other animal rights organizations, local and national businesses, and more!

We’ve included just a few of the posts we caught on social of food that will be at the festival—there will be SO MUCH MORE and we can’t wait to see your pics! Be sure to #tcvegfest — where will you visit first?

Reverie is bringing jackfruit bulgogi, watermelon poke, and other summer favorites along with some exciting news!!

The Herbivorous Butcher is bringing a trio of sliders and other veg classics—YUM!

The J. Mobile will be bringing Jamabalaya and Tinga Tamales (exclusive menu items) along with their Dirty Secret sliders—can you believe??

Read on to search for new and familiar names on the food list and check out the entire 2019 festival map here. See you Sunday!

A10-A11 Miss Garrett’s Vegan Soul
A12-A13 Foxy Falafel
A20-A21 The J. Mobile
A4 These Wingz?
A8 Fig + Farro
A9 Simplistic Project
B11-B13 Free Indeed Food
B14 Justveggiez
B16 Tiny Footprint Coffee
B22-B23 Reverie Mobile Kitchen
B4 Saint Pops
B6 Pizza Luce
B7 Soul Bowl
B8 Root to Rise Kitchen
C1-C2 Peace Coffee
C11 Vixed Baking Company
C12 Keiko’s Kitchen
C17 Vegetables Are Cool
C19-C20 Tori 44
C28-C29 K Town Street Foods
C30 PLNT BSD
C41 Atlas Provisions
C42 Sanitas Foods
C45-C46 VB & J’s
C49 Superior Small Batch
C7 Tibet Momo
C8 North Coast Organics
C9-C10 Crofter’s Organic
D1-D2 The Herbivorous Butcher Food Truck
D10 Superior Switchel
D12 RachCakes
D13 Koru Kombucha
D14 Kakookies
D15-D16 Borealis Bowls Food Truck
D17 Hope’s Vegan Kitchen
D18 Prairie Vegan Pies
D19 Rouge Smoked Foods
D20 Totally Baked Donuts
D21 Daisy’s Cafe II
D22 Follow Your Heart
D29 Vegan Mama’s Bakery
D31 Grlk
D33-D34 Sweet Gypsy Waffle
D35 Choosy Cookie Co.
D38-D39 Fresh Sugarcane Juice
D42 Mod Kitsch
D44 Innate Foods
D45-D46 Sssdude-Nutz
D47-D48 Fro Yo Soul
D5 Coconut Whisk Baking Co.
D6 Rawr Organics
D7 Jajja Wellness
D8-D9 KCM EggRolls
E11 Irie Vybz Jamaican Restaurant
E12 Wholly Veggie!
E13 Radical Eats
E14 K-Mama Sauce
E15 Maazah Chutney
E16 Beyond Better Cashew Sauce & Dip Mixes
E17 Sara’s Tipsy Pies
E18-E19 Evan’s Organic Eatery
E21 Jasmine Deli
E24 Green Garden Bakery
E25-E26 Rooted Green Wellness
E3 Trio Plant-Based
E5 Seed Cafe
E6 Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet
E7 EcuaFry
E8 Sünabloom
E9 Muddy Tiger – Indian Street Food
F1 – F3 So Good So You

Speaking of food, make sure to get your ticket for Veg Island Jam so you can stick around after the festival and try the awesome Jasmine Deli is creating to go with the sweet local lineup of up and coming Twin Cities based bands. Tickets are $20 before the festival and go to $25 at the door.

Special Features of the 2019 Festival!

We can’t wait to welcome you to this year’s festival! We’ve got a bunch of new things as well as returning favorites. This week, check out the festival zones made possible by our sponsors.

Metro Transit Zero Waste Area

Biking, walking, and arriving by car are all options to get to #tcvegfest 2019, and we’re most excited to announce that our Zero-Waste Sponsor, Metro Transit, will be offering free rides from Union Depot to the festival!

Be sure to claim your free ride to Twin Cities Veg Fest here!

Pizza Luce Water Area

Be sure to bring a water bottle to fill up at the Pizza Luce sponsored water area!

Spring Farm Sanctuary Cooking Demos

They say that food is the way to the heart and we couldn’t agree more! Check out one or all of the four FREE cooking demos (that come with delicious samples!!) sponsored by Spring Farm Sanctuary.

Reverie Volunteer Area

Volunteering? Stop by the Reverie-sponsored volunteer area before or after your shift to enjoy a free drink and to relax.

Did you know that volunteers get a free Twin Cities Veg Fest t-shirt AND a free ticket to Veg Island Jam? Sign up here to volunteer at the festival and claim your Veg Island Jam ticket!

The Stanford Inn and Resort VIP Area

The Stanford Inn and Resort is sponsoring our VIP Area for all speakers, cooking demo presenters, committee members, and sponsors. Be sure to visit their booth where you can plan a trip to CA or bring their luxurious meals home with an award-winning cookbook!

The Wildcat Sanctuary Family Area

Coming with your little ones? Be sure to visit The Wildcat Sanctuary Family Area at Twin Cities Veg Fest!

So Good So You Main Stage

We’ve got a full lineup of music and inspiring speakers at the Main Stage, sponsored by So Good So You. You won’t want to miss trying out their Digestive juice shot—they’ll be passing them out FREE to every attendee at the main entrance! Learn more about them here.

US Solar Ask a Dietitian Area

Got a nutrition question? Ask an expert at the US Solar sponsored Ask a Dietitian area, staffed by veg-friendly dietitians all day! And if you’ve got a question about solar power—like how you can get solar without a panel on your roof—be sure to stop by their nearby booth!

Want to get more tips about how to have a blast at the festival? Check out our First Time Attendees’ Guide to Twin Cities Veg Fest!

First Time Attendees’ Guide to Twin Cities Veg Fest

Twin Cities Veg Fest is now the biggest plant-based festival in the Midwest. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend this year on September 15 at Harriet Island Regional Park. Admission is free and every attendee will get a free juice shot from main stage sponsor So Good So You. If you’re considering attending the festival for the first time, here are a few tips to make your first Twin Cities Veg Fest experience the best it can be.

Tip #1 – Come hungry.

While there are plenty of things to do at the festival that aren’t eating, food is still the main event. Anyone who comes to the festival with a full belly will be facing some serious FOMO moments.

Tip #2 – Bring a water bottle and plenty of Tupperwares.

The festival aims to be a zero waste event, which means the festival’s planning committee has been hard at work to ensure that over 90% of what’s used is compostable or recyclable. The water area can help you stay hydrated with your own water bottle and bringing your own reusable containers can further reduce the resources needed to operate this event. Plus, this way, you can take home any of the food you’re eyeing that your stomach runs out of room for. If you do this right, you could be basking in the glow of Twin Cities Veg Fest for days to come!

Tip #3 – Take advantage of a free ride.

You can reduce your impact on the environment even further by walking, biking, or using public transit to get to the festival. Thanks to our partnership with Metro Transit, the festival is able to offer free transit for festival-goers. This is a great way to make your travel to and from the festival free and easy.

Tip #4 – Attend with friends.

The festival is most fun when shared. Plus, you’ll get to taste test even more delicious foods when you come with friends or family. Don’t know anyone who wants to come? Volunteering is a great way to meet new folks. You can also pick up a bingo card at the Twin Cities Veg Fest or CAA tables that can serve as a way to get to know others.

Tip #5 – Come early and/or stay late.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is wildly popular, growing dramatically each year. And there’s a good reason for that. So why not make a full day of it? If you’re one of the first people to arrive at the festival, you can avoid long lines and enjoy a free swag bag if you’re one of the first 250 attendees. If you stay late, you can take part in Veg Island Jam, featuring a great line-up of local bands, a cash bar, and unique food items for purchase. Tickets available here.

Tip #6 – Choose a speaker and cooking demo to attend.

This year’s line-up of speakers and cooking demos is fantastic. It’s a can’t miss opportunity to learn for free from local and national leaders in plant-based cooking and animal advocacy. The speakers offer plenty of inspiration and ideas for how to become a more effective advocate for a compassionate world. And whatever your experience level, the chefs offer helpful ideas and tips for becoming a more skilled and confident cook of plant-based foods. Stay until the end to enjoy the tasty free samples!

Tip #7 – Be an adventurous eater.

One of the best parts of the festival is trying new and unique foods. Keep an open mind and take advantage of unique items or foods you can’t normally find in a local brick and mortar location. Haven’t found a vegan cheese you like? Surprise yourself with the Cheese Curds from Radical Eats. Think mac and cheese doesn’t belong inside an “egg roll?” Think again and try Root to Rise’s amazing Mac & Cheese Vegrolls. Some of the other unique offerings include twinkies from Prairie Vegan Pies, the plant-based wings from Chicago’s These Wingz, and the Vegan Snickers Bar from Mod Kitsch. 

Tip #8 – Share your experience on social media.

One of the simplest and most effective forms of advocacy is sharing how delicious and fun plant-based eating can be. And you will have plenty of examples of that at the festival. For instance, check out the pineapple smoothie from Jasmine Deli, which is served in a real pineapple. Look out, Instagram!

You can inspire people to try out plant-based eating for themselves by showing your social media followers how exciting vegan foods can be! Use the hashtag #tcvegfest when you post about the festival and to find other’s posts.

Tip #9 – Don’t forget about the non-food elements of the festival.

The food is amazing, and usually steals the show. But there’s so much else to enjoy! Relax in the grass near the mainstage and soak in the live music. Learn about local animal sanctuaries. Sign up for solar. Stock up on gifts and self-care items like cruelty-free and vegan soaps, deodorants, lip balms, and more. There’s even face and body painting!

Tip #10 – Plan for the weather.

Twin Cities fall weather is often unpredictable. Check the forecast before you head out to see if you’ll be more comfortable in a summer outfit or warmer layers. Depending on what is predicted, you may also want to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, or an umbrella. 

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019 is sure to be our biggest and best festival yet. We’re so glad to have you join us for this fun-filled celebration of compassion! For more information, visit https://www.tcvegfest.com.

Top 10 Things to Know About So Good So You at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019

10. FREE SHOTS and coupons. Yes that’s right—we know you’re going to eat yourself silly with all the amazing veggie goodies at the festival, so we gotchu! Every single person at the festival gets a free Digestion shot and coupons for $1 off our products at partner grocery stores! Powered by organic apple cider vinegar, ginger, apple and carrot juices and 1 Billion probiotic CFUs, it’ll help your belly feel better, fast. Until the next round of vegan nachos. Cheers! 

9. For the Love of Body & Planet, the company’s tagline, captures our mission to inspire people to embrace eating more plants because it is awesome for our health, and the health of the environment. 

8. So Good So You products are now available in over 30 states and 3000 grocery store locations found here, and, we ship nationwide via Amazon Prime. Downtown skyway warriors can get their fill of delicious smoothies, salads and plant-protein bowls and snacks at our two Minneapolis skyway locations

7. We operate a Zero Waste facility. Through multiple programs at our retail cafes and manufacturing facility and offices, we currently divert over 94% of our company’s waste away from landfills and are constantly looking for ways to do better. 

6. Our products are made with 100% sustainable energy. That’s right, wind energy provided by Excel Energy. If you’re an Excel customer, you likely have the opportunity to opt in to use some or all sustainable wind source energy for your home, too! Check out how here

5. Sticking up for Mother Earth—we’re all about environmental activism. We are constantly talking about how we can do more to help—recently, our team volunteered to Do So Good on Earth Day—we picked up trash to clean up city parks and walked the Earth Day 5k! The team is planning our next event, So Soon! 

4. We ship nationwide in a Zero Waste shipping container. It’s pretty cool! The outer box is made of FSC certified, recycled corrugate. You recycle this. The insulation is made of a corn-based fiber. You cut the pouches containing the insulation and run the “foam” insulation under water. It dissolves, and is totally non-toxic, then you recycle the pouch it was in. Those big ice bricks keeping your juices nice and chilled? Also non-toxic! Just cut open the pouch and run the non-toxic gel coolant down the drain. As for our bottles—they’re made of recycled and recyclable plastic, and we are working on being able to launch an industry leading “better bottle” that will have a relatively insignificant environmental impact. Stay tuned! 

3. We were excited to learn that planting 1 trillion trees can reverse climate change and we’re constantly looking for ways to do more! 

2. You can help us plant trees! Follow us on Instagram and we’ll donate to plant a tree on your behalf. Use #SoGoodTCvegfest2019 to help spread the love!

  1. So Good So You is a local company. Founded in 2014 by entrepreneur husband and wife team Rita Katona and Eric Hall, all products are made right here in the Twin Cities. Learn more about our story here

Volunteer Shout-Out: 2019 Festival Planning Committee – Part 5

Dedication, creative vision, and passion. The Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee is short on none, and it shows—our festival has grown to be the largest Veg Fest in the Midwest, attracting over 9,000 attendees in 2018.

Some members are serving on the committee for the first time, while others have returned to help make this year’s festival the biggest and best yet and they can’t wait for you to experience it. This week, meet part of the team behind this year’s festival.

Jodi Miller Gruhn

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I work on social strategy and spreading the word about Twin Cities Veg Fest. My goal this year is to increase engagement on the festival social media channels by delivering interesting content and experimenting to see what drives engagement.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I’d been following CAA ongoings and work for years and had attended the festival in the past. I often felt the tug to get involved and I finally jumped in last year! 

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

What I love most about the festival is seeing in real time just how much plant-based has caught on. People are incredibly curious to learn more and try new foods—they are genuinely excited to be there! I also love that the festival embraces people wherever they are and for whatever the reason is that fuels their interest in the festival.

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I had been vegetarian for many years and had never really thought I’d go fully plant-based. Quite honestly what drew me to becoming 100% plant-based was social media. Social media brought me information that had always been accessible, but delivered it directly to me. I could no longer deny or ignore the truths that were presented to me each time I checked my feed. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

Life has been over taken by the purchase and slow renovation of a big mid-century modern house “with potential.” My vision for this home is to make it a hub for beautiful plant-based dinner parties and events with the goal of making plant-based more accessible to my amazing network of human beings.

Maggie Simmons

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the Instagram Coordinator!

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

Got involved with CAA in 2017 when I first moved to Minnesota and my first activity was handing out Twin Cities Veg Fest fliers with Sarah Matanah!

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of the festival is seeing everyone enjoying and loving all different kinds of vegan food. 

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I am drawn to the veg lifestyle out of the desire to cause the least amount of harm possible to animals and the planet. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

I am the Communications and Marketing Associate for KIPP Minnesota, a charter school region. I enjoy running, swimming, reading, cooking, and playing with my PUPPY!

Dyne Stephenson

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the Food Vendor Coordinator. I have been focusing on sending out recruitment e-mails to past and possible new vendors, answering questions, etc. We aimed to recruit more minority-owned food vendors this year.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I have been involved with CAA since 2013 after having Bridges of Respect speak to my high school students. After volunteering for a number of CAA activities, I volunteered as the Speaker Coordinator for the Twin Cities Veg Fest committee in 2017. The last two years I have been the Food Vendor Coordinator on the committee.

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of Twin Cities Veg Fest has always been the food choices. It was very satisfying last year to be a part of the food vendor recruitment and then to see all the vendors at Harriet Island. I’m looking forward to seeing it all again but in even greater numbers this year.

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I met my lovely wife-to-be, Roberta, in 1989 and she was vegetarian. A big influence but what pushed me over the edge was when we went to see Alex Pacheco, co-founder of PETA, speak in Colorado 28 years ago and he had a slide show. I went vegan that night. The biggest part for me has always been not participating in animal mistreatment, torture, and death, and trying to influence others to feel the same.  

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

I am a Social Studies and Personal Finance teacher at an alternative school in the Robbinsdale School District. I have two sons, Nations (24) and Henry (16). I enjoy tennis, disc golf, reading, walking, cycling, kayaking, playing guitar, and hanging with Roberta, Henry, and my three cat companions.

___________

Twin Cities Veg Fest is our biggest event of the year, and we need lots of enthusiastic volunteers to help make it a success. Sign up here to be a volunteer and help make this awesome vegan Minnesota get together happen!

Green is the New Black

Can’t wait for Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019? Looking for something to do this Thursday night? Look no further!!

Twin Cities Veg Fest and CAA are proud to be partnering with The New Market and Keiko’s Kitchen to present Green is the New Black: A Plant- Based Popup this Thursday, August 29.

The New Market is looking ahead at planning a number of pop-ups and we’re excited that their first one centers around the plant-based movement! Here’s what they have to say about the event:

The black plant-based movement is one of the most diverse, decolonial, complex and creative movements in the country, and we want to showcase the beauty in our local plant-based community of MSP through this one night only market and popup event.

While vegan often tells you what something “isn’t”, plant-based tells you what something “is” — in our case, plant-based is delicious, defined by showcasing plant ingredients at their best. We’ll have southern style boiled peanuts next to a one of a kind Somalian spice blend, down the aisle from a farmer selling produce at her farm’s peak seasonality. We’re not asking anyone to be 100% plant-based; instead, our market showcases excellent black-owned businesses who identify with what their food is — good for our bodies, good for our planet, and good for our communities. It just happens to be plant-based.

The New Market

Here’s a preview of what’s in store for you Thursday night.

At Green is the New Black, Keiko’s Kitchen will be taking over the Breaking Bread kitchen to serve an amazing alkaline, plant-based taco bar—available for one night only. You won’t want to miss their Walnut Taco “Meat,” Jackfruit Barbacoa, Spanish Quinoa, Refried Chickpeas, Sautéed Nopales, Fajita Mix, Pico De Gallo, and Habanero Salsa—YUM!

Other businesses will vend food and non-food products like plant-based beard oil and body creams, just outside the door on the patio and into the parking lot. This market is brought to you in a unique collaboration between The New Market, Twin Cities Veg Fest, and Great Streets Minneapolis. Come stretch your legs before the festival at this one-night-only event and catch all of these awesome local businesses in one place!

The New Market is pop-up market series with black owned businesses reimagining commerce and community. Nationally, African American buying power has reached 1.2 Trillion, and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black-owned businesses. While a dollar circulates for 17 days in the white community, it only circulates for 6 hours in the black community. By gathering black-owned businesses and black entrepreneurs with startup ideas, we re-ignite historical trends of sustainable economics, and vibrant communities, and re-orient our Minneapolis markets around circulating dollars within the black community.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is a project of Compassionate Action for Animals, a Twin Cities-based animal advocacy organization established in 1998. At Compassionate Action for Animals, we encourage people to cultivate empathy for animals and move toward a plant-based diet. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Keiko’s Kitchen is comfort foods made alkaline and 100% plant based.

Other Market Vendors: 
Life Juices
Trio Plant Based
Keiko’s Kitchen
Bunka Tea
Nature’s Syrup
baby bonito
Adorn By Kella
K’s Revolutionary Catering
Posh Twenty4 LLC
Mr. Audley Rolle’s Island Fusion Hot Sauce
Wilson’s Image Barbers & Stylists
Rob’s Boiled Peanuts
Green Garden Bakery
Kalahari Peanut Brittle
Jay Jay’s Jams and Such

Head on over to Breaking Bread Cafe on August 29th, from 5-8PM (1200 West Broadway Minneapolis MN 55411) to enjoy the plant-based popup restaurant and night market!

Vegan Eats at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

Who wants some strawberries and creme?? The Minnesota State Fair (August 22nd to Sept 2nd) is rolling around again. Although the glorification of animal agriculture presents a moral quandary (or quandairy if you will) for many vegans, supporting the vegan options if you do attend is a clear decision for your moral compass and, alluringly, your taste-buds.

Tried and true mainstays, French Meadow and Harry Singh’s Caribbean, coupled with stereotypical fair cuisine, like fried fruit on-a-stick and grilled peaches make for an attractive variety of vegan food for this year’s fair.

Here is the map with UMN CAA’s top vegan food picks for the 2019 fair. 

The Minnesota State Fair has plenty of options that secretly are already or can be made vegan if you know where to look! Please note: Brim’s ‘Sota Sandwich is made with bread containing honey and is not vegan.

Psst! For other State Fair selects, check out Bite Sized Beet’s tried and true guide to vegan-friendly fair eats (now updated through 2019), City Pages’ MN State Fair Foods, and make sure to check out the winner of this year’s MN State Fair Vegan Main Dish competition.

Getting to Twin Cities Veg Fest

Twin Cities Veg Fest is coming up on Sunday, September 15! Do you know how you’re going to get to Harriet Island Park in St. Paul?

Biking, walking, and arriving by car are all options, and we’re most excited to announce that our Zero-Waste Sponsor, Metro Transit, will be offering free rides from Union Depot to the festival!

Click here to claim your pass for a free ride to and from the festival!

You can combine transportation modes to get to the festival—hop on a light rail to Union Station and then take the shuttle from Union Station to Harriet Island Park and enjoy the festival!

Riding with Metro Transit is an awesome way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as the festival’s AND if you drive, it means you can spend more time at the festival rather than looking around for a place to park! We hope you’ll consider riding with our Zero-Waste Sponsor to this year’s festival.

Volunteer Shout-Out: 2019 Festival Planning Committee – Part 4

Dedication, creative vision, and passion. The Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee is short on none, and it shows—our festival has grown to be the largest Veg Fest in the Midwest, attracting over 9,000 attendees in 2018.

Some members are serving on the committee for the first time, while others have returned to help make this year’s festival the biggest and best yet and they can’t wait for you to experience it. This week, meet part of the team behind this year’s festival.

Michelle Shaw

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I’m the Welcome and Accessibility Coordinator, and before I state anything else, it’s important to identify that we are occupying the original homeland of the Dakhota and Anishinaabe people. Recognizing my role in that as a white woman and being inclusive of all of the incredible communities we have is important to me. Plus, it’s part of the volunteering that I do when I’m not helping to organize Twin Cities Veg Fest. Looking at diversity intentionally from every angle as a planning committee is something that we are working on. Whether that be reaching out to potential vendors and sponsors that are BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color), or musicians. Or perhaps we need to be making sure people have the resources to participate in Twin Cities Veg Fest in the first place by partnering with NEON and Appetite for Change. Or it’s possible we may need to look at it in a different way by bringing part of the festival TO a community rather than expect them to come to us. 

Like in the case of North Minneapolis, we can’t expect people to travel all the way to Harriet Island for food that might be completely out of their comfort zone. Working two jobs and putting food on the table might take precedence over getting there too. So what do you do? The first step is to create relationships with nonprofits and community members in that part of the community, and work with them to create an event that will be right there in North Minneapolis. We hope you’ll join us for that event on the evening of August 29 for Green is the New Black: A Plant-based Pop-up Market at Breaking Bread Cafe with some Twin Cities Veg Fest vendors and a few new ones. I’m really excited about it, and we want you all to be there!

It’s also my job to make sure we are making the festival as accessible as possible. That means different things for different people. For some, it’s about making sure people who have a hidden disability (like myself) have a place to sit at different parts of the festival because they need to take a break. For others it might be needing a sensory space to get away from the noise or it might mean needing to have all of the vendors facing the sidewalk so that they can easily access them all. Plus, if someone needs to bring their service or therapy animal, we have a space for them to rest and get water. Disability parking is another accommodation. The other piece is we need to make sure everyone knows we have all of these accommodations, so check out our website to find out what they are. 

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I first started volunteering back in 2017 when I helped out with the cooking demos and sharing samples with people. Laura and I were talking about ideas I had for accessibility for 2018, and suddenly, a new role for Twin Cities Veg Fest was born. However, I first started going to the festival back when it was a really small event in the basement at the University of Minnesota. For a few years anyway, there’d be samples of Peanut Butter Company’s White Chocolate Wonderful and all their other yummy concoctions. Even better, they’d have coupons! I have no idea what year that was, but if Unny can determine what year we were able to move around freely without much of a crowd, I’m guessing it was one of the first. 

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

I’m really excited about Green is the New Black: A Plant-based Pop-up Market on August 29. Cheese curds at Radical Eats and chicken wings at These Wingz? from Chicago are two of my festival favorites! Also, this will be the first year that we have American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for our cooking demos and speakers, and I’m really happy that we can partner with Fairview to offer ASL. 

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I had a couple friends in college who were vegetarian, but it was really my senior year in college that did it. In 1992, I traveled to Moscow, Russia, with a group of people taking supplies for orphanages and hospitals. The Russians could hardly afford any food at all and were so skinny, yet we were being fed like royalty with horsemeat and borscht. I was absolutely repulsed and ate very little on that trip but a couple cheeseburgers at McDonald’s. When I got back to the United States, that experience made it easy for me to stop eating every kind of animal. At that time, I still didn’t understand how the dairy and egg industries were contributing to murder. I thought it was merely confinement and limiting freedom (which was still enough to make me stop eating them). But as time went on, I learned that the males were quickly killed after birth (since they couldn’t be used for producing eggs or milk). Or they were kept alive for a few months and inhumanely raised as broiler chickens or calves for veal before being slaughtered. For me, it was all about the animals and eliminating their suffering. I had to stop using animal products in every part of my life and that included feeding my dogs a veg diet too (which they love love love!). It’s startling how much of an impact eating animals has on the planet, though, and it’s only in the last year that I started learning what those facts really are. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

Oh boy! My dogs would say I spend too much time on the computer. Buddie always stands on me and gives me kisses when it’s time to take a doggy break, so he and Speckles are definitely the highlights of my day. I’ve been on disability for a long time, so I’m starting to figure out what I can physically do again, if it’s not teaching in the classroom anymore. Volunteering to stop Line 3 in northern Minnesota is important to me, in addition to teaching people about the connection between the foods we choose to eat and how that impacts climate change. In other words, please eat plant rich foods and check out Drawdown for environmental reasons to add to reasons of compassion for animals! I also spend some time engaging with environmental justice issues like collaborating with local Indigenous people to create a land acknowledgment statement for cities and nonprofits to use at the beginning of their meetings. The most recent issue that has come up is the Rights of Nature for the Mississippi River. If we could give the Mississippi the same rights we have as people or the same rights a corporation has, that would be incredible. As a teacher, I was always teaching my students the skills for changing the world, and without that path in life, it’s taken me a long while to figure out what my purpose is. I’m pretty sure I’m getting there now. 

Laura Matanah

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

My role is to support the chair and assistant chair with both the big picture of the festival—helping it expand and become more impactful each year,  making sure that the committee as a whole is tracking the nitty-gritty details, and ensuring that the festival supports CAA’s mission to help people embrace their empathy for animals and move towards a plant-based diet.  This year I’m especially focused on improving our sponsorship packages and relationships, as well as our support of volunteers.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I was hired just before the 2016 festival, so got to see that festival day-of behind the scenes. 2017, the year we moved outside, was my first year helping to organize the entire thing.

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of the festival is the sheer joy of having an entire festival focused on a compassionate lifestyle, and how happy everyone there is. This year there’s going to be a lot that’s new:

  • Music will become central to the festival experience, and the after-party is going to have some truly awesome and more well known bands
  • Speakers will get more attention as they’ll be on the main stage, alternating with music
  • Cooking demos will have an exciting new set up with bleachers looking down on the action
  • Sponsors and volunteers will get access to an indoor rest and relaxation area, and there’s a great new set of sponsorship benefits, including lunch delivered to your booth
  • Greyhounds available for adoption will join us, and there will be many new food options like wood fired pizza and waffles

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

The fabulous community at Compassionate Action for Animals, CAA, opened my heart to animal suffering, and empowered me to start speaking out to end it.

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

Biking, board games, books, and hanging out with family and friends.

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Twin Cities Veg Fest is our biggest event of the year, and we need lots of enthusiastic volunteers to help make it a success. Sign up here to be a volunteer and help make this awesome vegan Minnesota get together happen!

The 2019 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award Goes To…

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 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 Shannon Kimball and the Bridges of Respect program. This volunteer-run program has provided free humane education presentations in the Twin Cities for twenty years.

Students pose with program leader Shannon Kimball (top right) after a presentation.
Shannon speaks about the Bridges program with help from volunteers at the Compassionate Action for Animals annual banquet.

The program has reached over 38,000 students since its inception. After a presentation about the program at the Compassionate Action for Animals banquet, one guest came up to program leader Shannon Kimball and said, “You presented to my class at Century College—and what I learned helped me commit to a vegan lifestyle!”

Students after a Bridges of Respect presentation with plant-based food samples

Originally started by Freeman Wicklund, the program was taken over by Shannon Kimball several years later, and is now a program of Compassionate Action for Animals. Compassionate Action for Animals will present Shannon with the award at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019 on September 15 at Harriet Island Park. The award presentation will take place on the So Good So You Main Stage just after a performance from singer-songwriter Mary Bue. 


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 19 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.

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Upcoming Events

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Vegan Recipe Club at East Lake Library

Friday, September 20, 2019 - Sunday, October 20, 2019

Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Twin Cities Veg Fest Data Entry Party!