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The 2016 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award Goes to…

Scott Dibble

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 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 Minnesota State Senator Scott Dibble.

Scott is a leading voice for animals in Minnesota’s legislature. His courage to speak out for animals profoundly benefits our community. Scott attends animal advocacy events regularly and often speaks at them, articulating the need to care about animals and protect them. As Scott has been moving toward a plant-based diet in his own life, he speaks from firsthand experience with compassion and conviction and motivates community members to make kind choices everyday.

Some of his legislative victories include:

  • Being a chief author of the Beagle Freedom Bill
  • Passing bills focused on protections for service animals
  • Requiring labeling of cocoa bean mulch because it can be fatal to pets

He also stands up to factory farming at the Minnesota Legislature. Through his effective leadership, a harmful bill that would have made it almost impossible for citizens to file nuisance lawsuits against factory farms was defeated in 2015.

Through the sheer force of his genuine goodness, his devotion to democracy, and his savvy nature, he has shepherded the animal protection movement in Minnesota toward effective political engagement. We are very thankful to Scott for all he does for the animals and for our community and happy to acknowledge his efforts with the 2016 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award.

Kenny Feldman was an animal lover

Kenny Feldman was an animal lover

This award honors the memory of animal lover Kenny Feldman. He thought animals were to be cared for and should be allowed to a live a life with freedom. Kenny was a close friend of CAA’s executive director, Unny Nambudiripad, and he inspired Unny to become an activist. Sadly, we lost Kenny to suicide 17 years ago. From that tragic loss, we are moved to establish this annual award to acknowledge the contributions of individuals who strive to create a more compassionate world.

The Feldman family thanks CAA and especially Unny Nambudiripad 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.

Compassionate Times: What’s New at Twin Cities Veg Fest!

Mexican TV star Marco Antonio Regil speaks at Twin Cities Veg Fest on Sunday, October 30!

Our fifth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest is coming up in just a few weeks, and we hope you’re planning on joining us for this fun-filled celebration of compassion.

This year, you’ve got two days for you to choose from: Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30. Each day from 11am to 4pm, we fill Coffman Memorial Union with a variety of exhibitors and food vendors and a different line-up of speaker presentations and cooking demos, all showing how fun and fulfilling it is to embrace a compassionate lifestyle. You might just want to come both days to catch it all!

Even if you’ve been to the festival in previous years, you’ll find a lot that you haven’t experienced there before. Here are just some of this year’s festival presenters that are altogether new or packaged in exciting new ways this time around:

  • Our local vegan superstar, The Herbivorous Butcher, returns, but this year, in addition to sharing their meat-free meats, they’ll wow us with a cooking demo. Don’t you want to know how Kale and Aubry Walch make their vegan food so good? That’ll be on Sunday at 1:30–not to be missed!
  • Another returning champion is our local vegan showgirl, Mistress Ginger. This year, instead of a cooking demo, she’ll be serving up a speaker presentation, sprinkled with song and dance. Catch “Compassion with a Fan Kick” on Saturday at 12:30.
  • We’ve also got vegan celebrities from out of town. Check out Mexican TV personality Marco Antonio Regil on Sunday at 11:30 and vegan chef Tess Challis on Sunday at 1:15. Marco educates and inspires, sharing about the many benefits a plant-based diet, while Tess shows you how to make that plant-based diet a reality with a cooking demo that includes Thai Red Curry Noodles.

And speaking of food, you can look forward to lots of fantastic vegan food all weekend long. That’s one of the wonderful things about Twin Cities Veg Fest: you don’t have to bother to read labels for animals ingredients because you can rest assured that it’s all vegan. Heavenly!

Of the long list of exhibitors and food vendors, here are some of the those that are new to the festival this year:

The festival is free to attend, and you’ll certainly have plenty to enjoy there without even dipping into your wallet. At the same time, we encourage you to support all the vegan vendors who are spreading a message of compassion through their businesses. In addition to the many food options, there will books, clothing, artwork, and other items available for purchase. Here are a few of the compassionate vendors that you can look forward to finding (and supporting!) at this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest:

What we’ve listed here is just the tip of the iceberg. For a complete listing of all that will be available at this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest, visit the festival website. There, you can read more about all the festival offerings and get the schedule for speaker presentations and cooking demos.

Join us on October 29 and 30 and please invite your friends and family. This celebration of compassion is for everyone!

Meet Our Newest Board Member – Jennifer Swick

Jennifer Swick

CAA is happy to welcome Jennifer Swick to our Board of Directors. Let’s get to know her!

Jennifer first became aware of the issues with animal agriculture about fifteen years ago at the Living Green Expo. A group there was doing pay-per-view outreach, showing people how animals suffer on factory farms. Jennifer describes it as one of those life-changing moments, when you’re introduced to a whole new reality that you didn’t know existed. “Oh, this is the world I’m living in!”

That intense awakening planted a seed of awareness that continued to grow in the years that followed. Then about four years ago, Jennifer became friends with a bona fide vegan. She had never before known a vegan personally, but in knowing one got to see how easy and doable it is to eat only plant-based foods. Pretty soon, she was taking action for animals: cutting animal products out of her diet and getting involved with CAA as a volunteer.

Her first activities with CAA were leafleting and pay-per-view outreach. Pay-per-view has a special place in her heart since since it’s what originally opened her eyes to this cause. She also keeps the Roseville library stocked with vegetarian starter kits. Apparently, they go like hotcakes there!

Her favorite volunteer activity has been helping out with Bridges of Respect, CAA’s humane education program. She started by assisting with presentations and now leads them. The program is a good match for her background in education, since she served for ten years as the education director at a large church in Minnetonka.

For the past seven years, Jennifer has worked at People Serving People, helping families experiencing homelessness. You might wonder, how has working with these families influenced Jennifer’s approach to vegan advocacy?

Jennifer says that when someone in a crisis mode, lacking basic necessities such as food and shelter, it’s not the right time to contemplate making big life changes. Instead, she advises that if we want to engage with economically disadvantaged populations, the focus should be on making fresh fruits and veggies available. For instance, it’s a really positive development that farmer’s markets now accept EBT cards.

This is a very important perspective to consider if we want to engage diverse communities through our work, and we’re especially grateful to have someone with specialized experience in this area joining the board.

And what excites Jennifer most about being on the board? The people. She’s found the leadership at CAA to be very inspiring, and being a part of the team is good way to continue to learn from others. Also, she likes thinking about the big picture, and being on the board gives an opportunity to help shape the future of the organization. Plus, it’s an especially exciting time to get involved with the executive director transition happening in December.

Along with all of the amazing work Jennifer does for animals and for people, she loves tennis, ultimate frisbee, biking, and reading. She’s a big fan of Trader Joe’s Three Layer Hummus and will happily order the mock sesame chicken from Evergreen Chinese Restaurant.

Jennifer says she grateful to be a part of CAA and that this community is really a gift. Well, we feel the same about having her on board, sharing her many gifts with all of us and for the animals.


Vegan Dining by the University

Amazing vegan food at Afro deli on the West Bank!

Do you live on or near the campus of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cites? Are you wondering where you can find vegan food in the area that tastes good and won’t break the bank? Whether you’re looking for full meals or quick snacks, look no further!

This list was compiled by some of our very own student volunteers who live on or near campus. Their recommendations come from their firsthand experience dining at these vegan-friendly spots.

When your hunger kicks in, give one of these places a whirl, and be sure to thank the restaurant managers for having awesome vegan options!

Stadium Village

  • Blaze Pizza
    • 1000 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Delicious pizza! You can get a personal pizza for only eight dollars with all the toppings you want, and they have Daiya nondairy cheese. The pizza cooks super fast—delivering instant gratification!
  • Bruegger’s Bagels
    • 720 Washington Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • There are many vegan bagels here, such as the olive oil rosemary, which is delicious. They have hummus as a topping and also sell it in tubs—perfect if you’re getting a dozen bagels to go. They also sometimes have a vegan soup option.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
    • 800 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Great cheap burritos! The Sofritas option is spicy tofu filling, but the guacamole does not come free, unlike the regular veggie bean burrito. You can also add roasted veggies.
  • French Meadow Bakery & Café
    • 123 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, lower level
    • There are a few vegan options, including some baked goods.
  • Jimmy John’s
    • 219 SE Oak St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Try the Vegetarian Unwich without cheese and mayo. The avocado spread is great.
  • Kitty Corner Cafe
    • 806 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Vegan waffles. Need we say more?
  • Mesa Pizza Stadium Village
    • 921 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • They have a veggie pizza you can get without cheese. They have by-the-slice pizza prepared. Sometimes they don’t have the cheeseless veggie pizza as one of those options, but you could always ask.
  • Noodles & Company
    • 820 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • A few of their vegan menu items include the Indonesian Peanut Saute, the Japanese Pan Noodles, and the Pasta Fresca without cheese. There’s lots to choose from here!
  • Yogurt Lab
    • 309 SE Oak St, Minneapolis, MN 55455
    • There are some dairy-free sorbets with many vegan toppings available.


  • Bordertown Coffee
    • 315 16th Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Delicious vegan baked goods and good coffee with nondairy milk! Most options are available in the morning before the usual coffee rush that happens before and between classes. In other words, get there early if you want the most selection!
  • Burrito Loco
    • 418 13th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • They have a bunch of vegan options, excellent salsas, and their beans aren’t made with lard, as they are in many other local Mexican restaurants.
  • Camdi Restaurant
    • 1325 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Check out the vegetarian menu and make sure to ask if there is fish sauce in what you order.
  • Himalayan Dinkytown
    • 1415 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • They offer amazing veggie dishes over rice or in wraps, and the sauces are divine. You can also choose to add fresh uncooked veggies, and they also offer salads like their pickle salad and tabouli. Favorites includes chana masala, falafel sandwiches, and pyazi, which are veggies fried in dough.
  • Insomnia Cookies
    • 402 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • There is a vegan chocolate chip cookie option. Be sure to specify that you want the vegan one!
  • Jimmy John’s
    • 404 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Try the Vegetarian Unwich without cheese and mayo. The avocado spread is great!
  • Mesa Pizza Dinkytown
    • 1323 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • They have a veggie pizza you can get without cheese. They have by-the-slice pizza prepared. Sometimes they don’t have the cheeseless veggie pizza as one of those options, but you could always ask.
  • One Two Three Sushi
    • 318 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Lots of veggie options!
  • Qdoba Mexican Eats
    • 324 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • Burritos, tacos, and naked burritos! It’s like Chipotle but without the Sofritas.
  • Sssdude-Nuts
    • 317 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • They’ve got one vegan donut option, just in case you need a donut!
  • Wally’s Falafel & Hummus
    • 423 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
    • They have amazing falafel, and for the falafel sandwiches, you have the option to add pickles! Try the deluxe falafel sandwich that has french fries in it. Also, the baba ghanoush, hummus and pita, and tabouli are all very good.

West Bank

  • Afro Deli
    • 1931 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • Lots of good stuff! Try the falafel and falafel sandwiches but make sure to order without yogurt sauce and other dairy ingredients. Also, the sambusas, french fries, sweet potato fries, Somali tea, vegetarian platter, and veggie keke are fantastic.
  • Hard Times Cafe
    • 1821 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • Everything is vegetarian, and the vegan items are clearly marked and the staff is knowledgeable. The vegan biscuits and gravy are very popular. Also, their vegan baked goods are out of this world. Sometimes, they’ve got vegan donuts and decadent cupcakes, and often they’ve got huge muffins (like a meal in itself) for just $2.50.
  • Red Sea Ethiopian Restaurant
    • 320 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • Get the vegetarian platter or one of the components of the vegetarian platter.
  • Republic
    • 221 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • You’re in good hands with mock duck and quinoa on the menu!
  • Triple Rock Social Club
    • 629 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • Comfort food central with a very vegan-friendly menu. They have amazing tater tots, vegan Chicago dog, and po’boy. It’s a great place for brunch, with options including vegan pancakes, french toast, and tofu scramble. Appetizers are discounted during happy hour!
  • The Wienery
    • 414 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • Vegan hot dogs! (The hours are weird, so plan ahead for that.)

St. Paul

  • Gopher Spot (St. Paul Student Center)
    • University of Minnesota, 2017 Buford Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
    • A good spot to get snacks between classes! They offer Alternative Baking Company cookies, Holy Land hummus and pita, and Amy’s nondairy burritos. They currently have a vegan hotdog on very specific days, but that may change—as the staff for details!
  • Mim’s Cafe
    • 1435 Cleveland Ave N, St Paul, MN 55108
    • Vegan options include falafel, hummus and pita, baba ghanoush, and fries. You can also get a veggie burrito, but just make sure to ask for no cheese or sour cream.

Thanks to all of our student volunteers who contributed to this article with their recommendations!

And of course one place to find lots of vegan food on campus will be Twin Cities Veg Fest on October 29 and 30, 2016 at Coffman Memorial Union. The event is free to attend, and there will be lots of free vegan food samples as well as larger meals available for purchase. Join us there!

Vegan State Fair 2016

Vegan State Fair 2016

The Minnesota State Fair is a local tradition for many. This annual festival is known for its decadent foods, usually deep-fried and served on a stick. Most of these foods are known not to be vegan, for example: cheese curds, deep-fried Twinkies, and corn dogs.

For those of us who choose to only eat plant-based foods, what can we do? Do we avoid the fair altogether? No way! If the fair is something you enjoy, you can still enjoy it, finding plenty of awesome vegan offerings to satisfy your hunger along the way. And yes, some of these vegan offerings are even served deep-fried and on a stick.

A couple years ago, we published a guide to vegan food at the fair. You can check that out, as much of it still applies, but this year we put out a call to all of our volunteers going to the fair and asked them to let us know what they could find. We got a number of beautiful photos and fun descriptions that we’ll share with you here. Take a look at the photo collage, read the descriptions, and bring this list with you when you go to the fair in the next few days.

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Help Us Reach Our Stretch Goal by August 31!

Veg Fest flyer

Our fundraiser for Twin Cities Veg Fest has made fantastic strides in the last few days, and we’ve just surpassed our original goal of $4,500! Including contributions made by check through the mail, our grand total is now at $5,553. Wow! Huge thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity.

In case you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time to give! Please help us reach our stretch goal of $6,000 by August 31. While $6,000 might sound like a lot of money for the festival, it’s just a fraction of what it costs to put on an event like this, especially now that we are expanding it to two days.

With your support, this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest can reach more people and show them how a compassionate life can be fun, uplifting, and most certainly delicious. Please give today!

Now Accepting Applications for a New Executive Director


As you may have heard, after five years of dedicated service, Unny Nambudiripad is moving on from his post as executive director at Compassionate Action for Animals. We wish him well on his continuing journey and look forward to appointing a highly qualified individual who can carry on this important position, overseeing all facets of our organization and providing inspiring and effective leadership.

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Give Today and Help Make Twin Cities Veg Fest Great!

The Exhibitor Hall at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015

Have you heard? The fifth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest will be held at Coffman Memorial Union on Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30, 2016. That’s not just one, but two days of compassionate fun!

We’ve just launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help us raise money for the festival, and your support could help us reach our goal. Can you make a contribution of $25, $50, or $100? We welcome donations of any amount to help us reach our goal by August 31. Give today and help make Twin Cities Veg Fest great!

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Feeling Hope after YEA Camp

Unny and Emmett at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

This July, I served as a camp counselor at Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp, a camp for teenagers who want to change the world. The camp empowers teens on a variety of social justice issues, and the particular camp where I served was focused on animals. The experience was incredibly challenging and rewarding.

The camp ran from July 17 to 24 and was located at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Like any camp, we slept in cabins with several others, ate together, played games, and hiked in the woods. The special aspects of this camp were meeting and engaging with the farm animal residents and training youth on how to be activists.

Some of the topics of the talks that I led were how to conduct grassroots outreach, why people choose to become vegan, and nonviolent communication. It was satisfying to lead workshops on these topics because I have extensive experience in these areas and strong opinions about them. Other topics included challenging racism, sharing meaningful items from each camper, opposing sexism, and working with campers to determine their activist plan for the year.

The greatest reward was cultivating strong connections with individual campers. Shortly after the camp, I exchanged emails with one of the campers. She said:

I am so happy that I met you at YEA Camp! You inspired me to do great things with my life! … You always made me laugh and I loved when you danced! You always brought the good out of me and I had so much fun with you. You inspired me to ignore what other people thought and do what you like to do. At the beginning of camp I always wanted to join you jumping, but I was embarrassed about what the others would think of me. But, I started jumping with you on the last full day of camp! It was so fun! I didn’t care what the others were thinking, or that people were taking videos of us, I just wanted to have fun! YEA camp inspired me so much that I realized how much more confident I was at the end then I was at the beginning. I talked so much more louder and I didn’t care what others thought.

She later asked for my assistance in her activism, and I connected her with additional resources. I had so much fun at camp and at the same time developed deeply moving connections with young activists.

I was excited to meet the camp director, Nora Kramer, for the first time. We knew many animal activists in common across the country, but we hadn’t yet met face-to-face. She’s a powerful force for the animals and for social justice and was devoted to the development of the campers. She was attuned throughout the camp to the needs of both the campers and the staff. I felt inspired by Nora to have a broader view of empowering new activists and helping them develop their confidence, knowledge, ability, and enthusiasm.

Several of the campers as well as the younger staff inspired me. They are curious, driven, and kind. I’m glad I invested my time and energy in helping to cultivate an experience in which they can learn about how to be an activist, challenge themselves to be more courageous and gentle, and meet and connect with new and experienced activists. I feel hope for the animal protection movement.

Big News from Unny

Photo by Beth Redwood

Dear supporters, volunteers, friends, and donors,

I’ve enjoyed working with Compassionate Action for Animals over the past eighteen years, first as founder and then as executive director for the last five. After careful thought, I realize the time has come for me to move on, and I’ll be stepping down from my staff position in January of 2017.

Having been deeply involved with CAA since its inception, I realize I need a break, including some time to relax. While I don’t have any specific plans, I intend to stay in Minneapolis, continuing on my path of becoming the most effective advocate for animals that I can be. I’d like to consider new strategies and turn my focus to influencing institutions, such as food service providers and the government. I’m also interested in having my work more closely align with advocating against racism, sexism, and other ways that our society exploits humans.

My life’s work is to promote compassion, and CAA has been an incredibly fulfilling vehicle for that work. I’m proud to say that CAA is currently in a strong financial position with thriving programs, high morale, and unprecedented volunteer support. I wholeheartedly believe in the work we do and encourage your continued participation. Please donate, volunteer, come to our events, and continue to speak out for animals. I believe that CAA has been and will continue to be a powerful and effective voice for the animals.

My wish is that my leaving will be an opportunity for you and the organization to become even more powerful forces for the animals. The role of executive director for CAA is an important one, and this transition will allow for other voices in the movement to have more leadership. In that, there’s a great potential for expanding diversity and strengthening the organization.

The board of directors is currently assembling a hiring committee and will be announcing the position opening soon. If you or someone you know might be interested in applying, please stay tuned for the job posting.

I look forward to working with you over the next few months as we continue our important work, and at the top of the agenda is Twin Cities Veg Fest. (The festival’s fundraising campaign is currently underway!) After my departure in January, I can be reached at, 612-293-6876, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as unnypn. And of course you can find me biking on the streets of South Minneapolis (listen for my singing).

It’s been a pleasure working with you. I’m so grateful for all the progress we’ve made for the animals, and I’m also grateful for all the wonderful relationships I’ve developed with you. I look forward to all of that continuing into the future.

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad

Get Involved

Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Veg Fest Postering – On Campus (Round 3)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Twin Cities Veg Fest Volunteer Orientation

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Twin Cities Veg Fest Volunteer Phone Call

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Leaflet with Vegan Outreach