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April 7, 2023

Guest blog by Mary Britton Clouse, Chicken Run Rescue

My favorite part of introducing people to our residents is witnessing them hold a bird in their arms for the first time. If I can capture the moment with my camera, it’s added to a collection I call “The Epiphany”.

He survived for weeks in subzero temps, raging winds and record deep snow; subsisting only on what he found in a birdfeeder.

Dakota’s story begins with a neighbor who found him in their woods and had a change of heart that transformed him from an unwanted “pest” to a vulnerable victim who needed help. An epiphany. Everyone with a heart experiences it when they meet their first chicken, one on one.

Dakota was abandoned in a desolate rural area just beyond a wooded rise, 1,100 feet from the front door of our sanctuary. He survived for weeks in subzero temps, raging winds and record deep snow; subsisting only on what he found in a birdfeeder. Just before the historic storm in mid-February, we got an email:


“We live on Dakota Ave. We came home yesterday from vacation & found a rooster by our front door. Looks like he has been hanging out for a few days because there is a bunch of poop by our front door, lol. Are you missing a rooster? It’s mostly black, has a white mark across the top of its beak.”

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Wholesome Minnesota focus on high school “Green Teams” is having an impact!

April 3, 2023

Wholesome Minnesota Director, Jodi Miller Gruhn, presents to the Apple Valley Environmental School Environmental Club

Jodi Miller Gruhn, our Wholesome Minnesota Director, recently met with students at the Apple Valley Environmental School. Her presentation focused on the impact of diet on the environment. Her main point was that a plant-based diet is better for the planet.

The student Environmental Club is excited to work on getting more plant-based options. They plan to meet with the nutrition director to get that moving. Staff shared: “all involved were enamored with your presentation and are so ready to take some action!”

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Fun, food and friendship highlight 25th Annual Banquet!

March 28, 2023

Over 80 people came together for the animals at Cultivating Compassion: CAA’s 25th Annual Banquet. Donors, matched by the Stray Dog Institute and an anonymous donor raised over $5,000 to move our work for animals forward. On top of it, the annual auction, which had its culmination at the banquet, reached 135% of its goal bringing $4,999! This support is critical as we work to bring plant-based food to schools and get 3,000 people to sign our petition for a factory farming moratorium in Minnesota.

The event was a wonderful opportunity to get spruced up and meet new like-minded friends! Highlights include the fantastic multi-course meal by Root to Rise Kitchen. Participants also enjoyed cakewalk (see a recipe from it below) and ring-toss games. Whether or not they won, participants had fun and raised extra money for the animals.

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Join Call for Dietary Guidelines for Americans to Accurately Reflect the Benefits of Eating Plants

The U.S. Government Dietary Guidelines for Americans are about to be revised. Join us in asking that they reflect current knowledge on nutrition, free of influence from the meat and dairy industries, by signing this petition.

Key requests of the petition are for the government to:

  • Focus on science and end the exaggerated promotion of meat and dairy products
  • Use clear language in describing the relationship between foods and risk
  • Replace the MyPlate icon’s “protein group” with a “legumes” group and remove the “dairy” icon all together.

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Ethiopian food | April 2023 | Vegan Recipe Club

March 20, 2023

The April meeting of the Vegan Recipe Club will be on Tuesday, April 18 from 6:30-730pm. The cookbook selection is: Teff Love (2015) by Kittee Berns

If you are curious about vegan cooking, this club is for you! Each month participants make three recipes from popular cookbooks then share their reflections with the group. Novice to expert cooks are welcome, as are interested non-cooks. Registration not required.

Are you a fan of Ethiopian cuisine but aren’t quite sure how to capture that particular taste? If so, this month’s recipe club is for you. Teff Love recipes we have chosen will help you demystify the cuisine so that you can savor authentic Ethiopian food without leaving home.

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Get to know Darren Schweiger, Volunteer Coordinator for the Annual Banquet Committee.

Darren and his fiancée PaFoua Hang attended last year’s CAA Veg Fest fundraising event. They heard Laura Matanah speak about the organization and its mission. Because of her passion, they explored more of what CAA offers. 

Laura connected them to other CAA-sponsored events. They enjoyed the tour to Farmaste Animal Sanctuary. Interacting with rescued animals and meeting other people with similar interests was exciting. After that trip, they decided to get more involved.

In 2022 they volunteered at Twin Cities Veg Fest and, more recently, at the 2023 Chili Cookoff. Darren’s role with the Annual Banquet committee includes volunteer registration and contacting potential corporate sponsors.

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Meet two recent rescues at Farmaste Animal Sanctuary: Stewie and Dewey

After a cross-country rescue, Stewie and Dewey have a new home at Farmaste Animal Sanctuary.  Farmaste heard about these two mini donkeys from Farm Sanctuary’s adoption program. Their main caretaker had started to have health problems, and wasn’t able to care for them any longer.  

Farmaste picked them up in New York in November, 2022 for the long drive back. They have since settled into their new home with the big cows for neighbors.

These two sweet (and cute!) boys have very different personalities. Stewie is shy and has taken on the role of Dewey’s protector.  Dewey is calm and loves to be petted. As the protector, Stewie loves to stand guard and zoom around the paths in his pasture. Dewey gravitates to the people, hoping he can snag some treats!  The two are best buddies.

They are both fortunate to have escaped their past life. Dewey was rescued from a kill pen. Stewie had been raised by an overcrowded breeder. They are now living their best lives at Farmaste’s wonderful sanctuary.

Vegan Pressure Cooking | March 2023 | Vegan Recipe Club

March 2, 2023

On March 21 the Vegan Recipe Club will meet on zoom from 6:30pm—7:30pm. The recipes this month come from the cookbook Vegan Pressure Cooking, 2018 by J. L .Fields

If you are curious about vegan cooking, this club is for you! Each month participants make three recipes from popular cookbooks then share their reflections with the group. Novice to expert cooks are welcome, as are interested non-cooks. Registration not required. Links for the recipes and the zoom meeting are below.

Pressure cookers offer lots of conveniences but can be tricky—you’ll get more comfortable with them after this club meeting!

In the recipe club this month we will discuss these recipes:

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Annual CAA Auction up and running! Bid now! Support animals and snag cool stuff

March 1, 2023
Some of the fantastic and tasty Items from this year’s Auction

There is something for everyone in CAA’s Auction this year! You can bid to take home one of the over 50 donated items. You get something you really want and CAA gets funds to help spare more animals from lives of suffering.

Log into the auction website to see photos, read descriptions and place your bids. Once you bid you will get notices if someone outbids you. Looking at the great choices, it seems we may get some fun bidding wars going on! So bid early and often.

Here is just a taste of the tantalizing items on offer:

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Over 200 high school students explore the “power of the plate” with Wholesome Minnesota

by Jodi Miller Gruhn, Wholesome Minnesota Director, February 22, 2023

Armstrong High School Students cooking vegan food at their FACS class with Jodi Gruhn

My visit to Armstrong High school was one of my favorite days working for Wholesome Minnesota. The FACS (Family and Consumer Science) teachers had promoted my “vegan” visit and the students in the seven classes I visited were incredibly curious. Some because they are interested in plant-based eating, others because they thought it was unbelievable that someone would choose a plant-based lifestyle. These two curiosities made for interesting conversations and a real dialogue between myself and the students.

I shared a short presentation about  the power of our plates in terms of health, the environment, animals and inclusivity. The most powerful moment of the day occurred when a Muslim student approached me upset that they couldn’t make or eat the sausage I’d brought because of their religion. After I explained the sausage was entirely made from plants, and that I would never bring food that one cultural group couldn’t eat, a larger conversation including the entire class occurred. We talked about the power of inclusivity and what it feels like to be excluded due to dietary reasons. The student who’d raised the issue left the class beaming.

We made pancakes with oat and chickpea flour focused on the importance of fiber and easy ways to up the protein in almost any recipe. I shared substitutes for eggs like aquafaba, applesauce, and flax and chia seeds. 

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