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The 2017 Annual Banquet in Pictures!

Thanks to all who joined us last Saturday for the 2017 Annual Banquet! On this gorgeous spring evening at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul, we gathered with the compassionate community to celebrate CAA’s nineteen years of advocating for animals in the Twin Cities region.

With a sold-out crowd of nearly a hundred in attendance, we enjoyed a reception, silent auction, and gourmet vegan dinner. Throughout the evening, more than $9,000 was raised to support CAA programs that help to make the world a kinder place for animals. That’s the most money ever raised at a CAA banquet! We can’t thank you enough for your partnership.

The meal included meat-free meats and cheese-free cheeses generously provided by our event sponsor, The Herbivorous Butcher. Many CAA volunteers contributed to preparing and serving the delicious food, which had a Jewish and Middle Eastern theme. We are very grateful to them and also to the many volunteers who helped to plan and execute this big event. (We could not have done it without you!)

Mistress Ginger, emcee for the evening, added humor and heart to the festivities, while special presenters included Kara Breci of SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary as well as CAA volunteer Dyne Stephenson and Executive Director Laura Matanah. Their powerful stories reminded us of why we do what we do and inspired us to continue to embrace our compassion as we move forward and expand our reach.

We are very grateful to all of you who support CAA through your volunteerism, event participation, and donations. If you were unable to attend the banquet and would like to make a one-time donation, or sign up to be a recurring donor, please visit our donate page and give today.

We hope you enjoy this photo slideshow featuring moments from the banquet. Please visit our events page to see what we’ve got coming up in the near future and how you can be involved.

J. Selby’s Brings Vegan Food to St. Paul!

We know that convenience and accessibility are two of the major factors that play into whether people feel empowered to move toward a plant-based diet, and so nothing makes us happier than to see more vegan-friendly restaurants opening up. Then when you have an all-vegan spot opening up in an area where few other veg options exist, we’re just ecstatic.

We’ve been jumping for joy ever since Matt Clayton announced his plans to open J. Selby’s in St. Paul, near the corner of Victoria Street and Selby Avenue. And now, after months of preparation, they’re opening their doors on Monday, April 17, just in time for VegWeek.

How did J. Selby’s come to be?

Matt was a general surgeon for seventeen years in River Falls, Wisconsin. Thinking of transitioning to healthcare administration, he went to St. Thomas University for MBA in 2011. During his time away from practicing medicine, he took Dr. T Colin Campbell‘s six-week course in plant-based nutrition and got turned on to the health benefits of a vegan diet. Through that work, he also found the teachings of Dr. Melanie Joy and became aware of ethical issues associated with meat-eating.

Around this time, he transitioned to being vegan himself, and he found eating out a challenge. “The vegan food felt like an afterthought on the menu. I was down in Phoenix and went to a place called ‘The Green Vegetarian.’ I was blown away.” Their menu features fast-casual vegan comfort foods, and Matt was determined to bring something like that to the Twin Cities. He had always loved to cook, and he could now use that skill for this new vegan venture.

Last year, he happened to pass by a vacant building on the corner of Victoria and Selby, and he had one of those “aha” moments: “That’s the place!”

Fast forward many months. Matt had teamed up with chef Rick Berdahl for menu development, the building was undergoing extensive renovations, and the social media buzz around this restaurant was gaining unprecedented momentum. Vegans were like, “Bring it! We’re ready.”

And the menu looks amazing! Diners will be thrilled with plant-based versions of buffalo wings, quesadillas, burgers, Philly subs, and more. There’s a spectrum of treats, everything from decadent comfort foods to nourishing whole foods. They also serve beer, wine, kombucha on tap, and a variety of dairy-free, egg-free desserts.

A few more things you might just love about this restaurant:

  • A kid’s menu, including vegan Chickn’ Nuggets and more. (Bring the fam!)
  • A pay-what-you-can menu option that includes brown rice, beans, pico de gallo, and a vegetable of the day. (Be still our hearts!)
  • Vegan brunch! (Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 2pm)

Our May Dine Out at J. Selby’s has already sold out, but, lucky for all of us, this restaurant will be open starting Monday the 17th, and you can go any time you like, resting assured you’ll be surrounded with other folks enjoying some amazing plant-based food.

What’s Virtual Reality Outreach?

CAA has a new outreach method. Using virtual reality technology, we’re giving people a more powerful experience of their own compassion.

Previously, our essential outreach techniques included leafleting, pay-per-view, and vegan food giveaways. Leafleting and pay-per-view have been effective ways of reaching lots of people and teaching them about the inherent cruelty involved in animal agriculture. The food giveaways give them a taste of the delicious plant-based food options that can replace the animal foods in their diets.

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Twin Cities VegWeek 2017: Take the VegPledge!

VegWeek begins April 17! We hope you’ll step up for the animals and take the VegPledge. Here’s how:

  • If you’re omnivore, pledge to try eating vegetarian or vegan for the week of April 17.
  • If you’re vegetarian, pledge to try eating vegan for the week of April 17.
  • If you’re vegan, pledge to spread the word in one or more of these ways:
    • Invite friends to take the VegPledge using the Facebook event page.
    • Share information about the benefits of eating plant-based on your social media platforms.
    • Bring a couple friends to one of our VegWeek activities (listed below!).

Click here to take the pledge!

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Appreciation for CAA Donors!

Last Sunday, CAA hosted a Donor Appreciation Party to say thanks to the many individuals who support the work we do for farmed animals. Their contributions make it possible for us to offer CAA’s many programs, events, and activities throughout the year.

More than fifty donors were able to join us for this afternoon soirée at the Kellogg Building, home of donor and host Andrew Tasi, in St. Paul. (Thanks Andrew!) In a room overlooking the city, guests were treated to an array of scrumptious vegan hors d’oeuvres, as well as wine and other beverages.

Special thanks to the volunteers who helped prepare and serve food and drink. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Executive Director Laura Matanah said a few words of thanks and invited attendees to join us for our upcoming Town Hall Meetings and our Annual Banquet. She reminded us that our work at CAA is ultimately about improving the lives of farmed animals and that one of the ways we can take action on their behalf is through our financial support.

If you’re inspired by the work we do at CAA, please visit our donate page and make a one-time donation or sign up to be a monthly contributor. Every dollar you give helps to make the world a kinder, more compassionate world for all beings. Thank you for your support!

The party offered an opportunity for great conversation with old and new friends alike.

 

CAA’s New Magazine – Now Published!

The 2017 issue of Twin Cities Veg Living has been published! This is the third edition of our annual 12-page magazine that’s used for outreach purposes–to encourage people to embrace their empathy and move toward a plant-based diet.

Print copies of the magazine are available at CAA Community Space and will be distributed for free at CAA events throughout the year. You can also view the magazine online.

This year’s edition has a variety of engaging articles and images. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • An introductory letter from our new executive director, Laura Matanah
  • A guide to eating a plant-based diet on a tight budget
  • An article about the animals at SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary
  • A recipe from The Herbivorous Butcher
  • An article about Paula and Nathan Huerkamp, CAA volunteers
  • A guide to the best vegan baked goods in the Twin Cities
  • An article about two local vegan restaurants, J. Selby’s and Reverie Cafe + Bar

As Communications Coordinator for CAA, I served as editor for the magazine and had the privilege to work with a number of individuals who contributed to the process in a variety of ways.

We are very thankful to all of these volunteers for generously sharing their time and their talents in the creation of the magazine:

  • Caleb Blodgett
  • Nathan Heurkamp
  • Paula Heurkamp
  • Lola Levin
  • Juliana Lillehei
  • Yash Patel
  • Linda Pope
  • Brooke Reynolds
  • Dave Rolsky
  • Shelby Schouweiler
  • Isabelle Welp

Also, many thanks to these businesses and organizations for supplying content:

At these vegan-friendly establishments, we had a number of contacts who were especially helpful. Here’s a shout-out of gratitude to each of them: Amanda Bergeron-Manzone, Kara Jean Breci, Matt Clayton, Casey Muir-Taylor, Brooke Reynolds, Jeffrey Therkelsen, Laura VanZandt, and Kirstin Weigmann.

Also, we’d like to thank our graphic designer, Stephen Magner, for his work designing the layout not only for the magazine but also for our recently published 2016 Annual Report.

We hope that this magazine provides enjoyment and inspiration for whomever finds it, ultimately making the world a kinder, more compassionate place through our everyday choices.

Correction: Please note that on page four of the printed magazine, J. Selby’s address is misprinted. It is located in St. Paul, not Minneapolis. We encourage our Twin Cities community to support J. Selby’s. Please stay tuned to their website and Facebook page to get updates on when they will open.

The 2016 Annual Report

What did Compassionate Action for Animals accomplish in 2016? Check out our 2016 Annual Report and read all about it.

The annual report gives you the scoop on all of our 2016 programs, events, activities, and their impact. Through a combination of outreach, education, and community building we honor our mission to encourage people to embrace their empathy and move toward a plant-based diet. The annual report also includes a financial statement, showing our income and expenses for the year, as well as acknowledgement to all of our top donors.

Thanks to all of you who support our work through your donations, volunteerism, and event participation. We truly could not do so much without our community of dedicated animal advocates.

We hope you will stay involved and increase your participation in 2017 and beyond. Our movement is making tremendous progress, but there’s much further to go. The animals need us to raise our voices and do what we can so that their stories are heard. Together, let’s continue to grow our movement and live our compassion.

Meet Our New Board Member – Chris Homsey

Our board of directors has recently added a new member, and what a boon for CAA! Chris Homsey is a dedicated animal advocate who has volunteered for CAA since 2013. Over the past few years, she’s taken on a number of leadership roles with the organization, and with each position she’s demonstrated professionalism, intelligence, and kindness. Let’s get to know her better here.

Chris is no stranger to animal agriculture. She grew up on a crop farm in southern Minnesota, and the nearby neighbors had dairy cows and raised pigs for meat. Knowing the pigs would become food, Chris says she stayed detached, distancing herself from them as individuals. Then, later in life, after moving away to the Twin Cities, she caught a bit of a slaughterhouse exposé on TV. Seeing the grisly reality of factory farming, she decided in that moment never to eat meat again. Being a food scientist who had worked in product development, she was familiar with the idea of vegetarianism, though veganism still seemed extreme to her.

She maintained a vegetarian diet for many years, and her transition to veganism began after visiting Farm Sanctuary in New York and meeting the rescued animals in person. Then, after attending a conference about factory farming in 2011 (and being impressed with the all-vegan menu served during the conference weekend), she made the final switch, cutting cheese and ice cream from her diet—those things that were the hardest for her to give up.

In 2013, Chris dove head first into volunteering for CAA; her first volunteer position was cooking demo coordinator for Twin Cities Veg Fest. What a job! But as a food scientist, she was familiar with project management and working with food, so it wasn’t such a stretch for her skill set.

And now after a few years of being a committed volunteer and donor, she’s joining the board of directors. Why? “I like the idea of having input in CAA and its direction. It’s a great organization and I like the philosophy of gently encouraging people to move toward a veg lifestyle.”

Chris values the way CAA creates a sense of community, especially with recidivism being such an issue. She says, “I didn’t have a lot of vegans in my life, so just to feel supported and not alone was so important.”

Chris is also hopeful for our movement, just looking at how mainstream plant-based milks are becoming. And cheese substitutes are getting better and better, though she says there’s still room for improvement. “Food science will get us there!” Coming from a food scientist, that sounds especially promising.

Interested in becoming a member of our board of directors? For more information, contact Laura Matanah at laura@exploreveg.org.

 

 

 

 

Date and Location for the 2017 Twin Cities Veg Fest – ANNOUNCED!

Save the date!

Twin Cities Veg Fest

Saturday, September 9, 2017

11am – 5pm

Como Park, St. Paul

Yes, Twin Cities Veg Fest will now be an outdoor festival!

Since 2012, we’ve hosted the festival at Coffman Memorial Union, and it’s been a wonderful space for us to reach the community. Every year, we have more and more people show up for this celebration, from about 1,200 people the first year to more than 4,000 last year. We want to keep it growing so that we can reach even more of the general public. To do that, we simply need more space. Bigger indoor venues, such as the Minneapolis Convention Center, are cost-prohibitive and don’t allow for us to bring in our own food. Deal-breakers!

Hosting the festival outside at Como Park is not only affordable but also allows us to share lots of amazing vegan food–a prerequisite for this compassionate celebration. Sure, we’re taking our chances with the weather, but the possibility of reaching more people makes that a risk worth taking. Following in the footsteps of other outdoor festivals, such as the Twin Cities Pride Festival, we’re sure that we can make this a successful, crowd-pleasing community event with the potential to grow beyond our wildest dreams.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the festival later this year, but we just wanted to make sure you get it on your calendar now.

The 8th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off in Pictures!

Our 8th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off was a huge success! According to our survey, ninety-four percent of people left wanting to try more plant-based food. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out in various ways, the cook-off contestants with their delicious chili recipes, and everyone who attended to enjoy the food, the competition, and the community. Get a glimpse of the fun in the slideshow below!

Also, we’re pleased to share the recipes for the two winning chili dishes:

Our next big event is the 2017 Annual Banquet. We hope you’ll join us for that. Get your tickets soon!