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Get to know Kelso Anderson, Vegan Chili Cook-Off Volunteer

Kelso Anderson was introduced to CAA in the summer of 2022 at a video outreach event. He wasn’t planning to alter his “health-motivated” vegetarian diet. Still, his view of animals changed significantly after seeing the video. That summer, he read Dominion by Matthew Scully. Shortly after, he attended his first Veg Fest and joined the University of Minnesota’s CAA student group. He went vegan to mark the occasion of his 21st birthday.

Kelso reveled in the community support he found at CAA and the Veg Fest. Spending time with like-minded people accelerated his dietary changes and made transitioning to a plant-based diet feel effortless. Because of the support he received, he was inspired to start volunteering and help others discover that living in alignment with their principles is achievable. 

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2023 Vegan Chili Cook-off a tasty success

After a pandemic break we came back with a bang for the 12th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off! 170 people joined us to sample and rate great vegan chili. The constant refrain from taste-testers was, “I’m so glad I came, all of the chilis were great and so different!”

Much thanks to our talented, professional contestants: The Howe Daily Kitchen, Vegan Byy Nature, The Herbivorous Butcher/J. Selby’s and H.E.A.L. Minneapolis. Each of the contestants showed their passion and skills through their delicious chilis.

After the ratings were tabulated, first time competitor The Howe Daily Kitchen won first place and the coveted Chicken Statue! The animals were the true winners though as many people were exposed to how tasty vegan food can be! 

Participants went home with a new appreciation for vegan food and our vibrant community. Comments included: “I liked the chili and everyone was super-friendly,”  “It was fun to learn about new restaurants,”  and “This was my first CAA event and I liked seeing different ways to eat vegan.”

Monique Lives Like There’s No Tomorrow

A guest blog by Chicken Run Rescue

Monique healed and ready for a new life. 

Monique was our 1209th rescue who arrived last August. Like most, her story started with an email: 

“Hi…a hen wandered into our garage last night.  Neighbors said they’ve seen it wandering around for a few days so I don’t think it will find its way home.  Has infected eye and maybe something wrong with it’s beak. What should I do with it? We can’t keep it.” Neighbors had been chasing her out of their yards and into the street. As always for stray reports, I asked for pictures of the bird and of where they were at the moment. I wept when I saw the extent of her eye infection to think of her wandering about with no food or protection and knew her options were non-existent if we didn’t step in. The event of bird flu had just resurfaced and was now considered to be endemic- here to stay- so we had to be be on high biosecurity alert to keep our residents safe. It would take some time and networking to find her a safe place to be fostered and vet care arranged.

Monique as found- we wept when we saw the extent of her eye infection to think of her wandering about with no food or protection.

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Newsletter Survey helps shape future issues

February 6, 2022

39 readers of our weekly CAA newsletter responded to our recent survey. We appreciate each of you who took the time to respond. We want to share the results and how we’re using them to shape newsletter content.

In general, readers were very positive. They especially appreciated the brief, positive, and welcoming content. Details are reported below. You will see that readers said that the newsletter helped increase their knowledge in targeted areas. We plan to adjust our content to improve on these metrics.

We also asked for readers’ general likes and suggestions. Readers are primarily interested in information on upcoming events. They also like profiles on individuals and of the sanctuary animals that motivate us. In addition, they like information on how to take action for animals. They appreciate gaining knowledge in key areas.

Some representative quotes:

  • I am reminded through the emails that there is a community of people advocating and spreading awareness
  • I like that it manages to update you on all the events and current actions but is still brief
  • I like hearing about vegan news and events that are local to me and different ways veganism are/can be incorporated in the community!

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Various Plant-based recipes | February 2023 | Vegan Recipe Club

On February 21 the Vegan Recipe Club will meet on zoom from 6:30pm—7:30pm. The recipes this month come from the Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook. 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.

About the cookbook this month the publisher says: 

“In The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook, Victoria and JL, along with over a hundred certified vegan lifestyle coaches, join you in the kitchen as you discover more than 100 of their favorite plant-sourced recipes. Whether you’re new to the diet or a seasoned plant-based eater, vegan or just veg-curious, their tips, tricks, shortcuts, and strategies will transform your cooking, your eating, and your life. Inside, you’ll find wholesome, delectable, and accessible recipes.

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Interview with the CAA Duluth Chapter founder

This past year saw the addition of a chapter in the Duluth area! Prior to the pandemic, there was a large vegan recipe group that met in the Duluth area. They had a plant-based food and cooking discussion. Sheri Olson, was interested in reviving something similar but with a more specific focus of partnering with CAA. She had recently moved from the Twin Cities where she had been a CAA volunteer. She reached out to CAA Executive Director Laura Matanah and got support for starting a new chapter. 

Read below for Sheri’s responses to some questions we sent her. Learn more about this exciting new chapter which is helping to serve the needs of the veg curious in the North Shore area:

Interview with Sheri Olson, CAA Duluth Chapter

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History and Vision of the St. Cloud CAA Chapter

A guest blog by Michael Willemsen, CAA Chapter coordinator

The St. Cloud area has had a long history of environmental and animal rights advocacy. I met Zach Ewald many years ago at St. Cloud State University through a student group called Advocates for Animals and the Environment. We received guidance and materials from non-profit groups such as Compassionate Action for Animals and Vegan Outreach. Shannon Kimball came up to St. Cloud and gave some unforgettable presentations to both SCSU and SCTCC students through the Bridges of Respect program. We happily volunteered to help! Fast forward to 2014 when Zach started Food Not Bombs in St. Cloud and we formed the unofficial Central Minnesota Vegan Association (CMVA). We hosted film showings, did leafleting outreach, and participated in some tabling events. My personal favorite was when our group had a free food giveaway at St. Cloud Pride in the Park.

Michael Willemsen, St. Cloud CAA Chapter coordinator

In the Spring of 2021, I approached Zach with an idea of getting more involved for animal rights in our local community. The CMVA group had long since disbanded. We communicated online and reached out to Laura Matanah (CAA’s Executive Director). She was supportive of our idea to start a local chapter and provided us with logistical support. After meeting with Zach and others for some vegan grilling at a local park, our St. Cloud Chapter was officially recognized in June of 2021.

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Meet Cornelius and Dennis—Herbivorous Acres residents


a guest blog by Herbivorous Acres, January 2023

National Bird Day is January 5th, and to celebrate this, we wanted to highlight some of our feathered friends. Roosters are highly exploited in the animal agriculture industry and we are proud to provide sanctuary to three roosters on the farm. Herbivorous Acres has two roosters under our “wing”, and the property owners of our sanctuary also have a rooster named Tony that we help care for. Dennis (Brahma Cross breed) is around 6 years old and is a handsome gentleman. Dennis rules the roost and has three ladies that he cares for. He dotes on his ladies constantly and is the best boyfriend to Nooch, Tempeh, and Seitan (our three hens).


Cornelius is a stunning and quirky 5 year old Welsummer rooster and lives with our duck family. Cornelius needs to be housed separately from other chickens due to some aggression issues. It keeps other chickens safe, although he still has some strong opinions about people from time to time. He doesn’t do very well when he has hens around and is much more calibrated with his duck friends. He has some “funky feet” that make him extra special. This deformity has been with him since birth and it causes some health issues from time to time. 

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Keto | Vegan Recipe Club | January 2023

The Vegan Recipe Club for January will meet on January 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm on zoom. The cookbook selection for January is The Essential Vegan Keto Cookbook. 

The Essential Vegan Keto Cookbook offers readers delicious, inventive recipes that focus on proteins and fats while minimizing carbohydrates. 

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.

You may download the recipes using the link below or pick them up at East Lake Library, 2727 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406. Printed recipe packets are available at the library’s Safe Pick-Up Station. Simply check in with the greeter and ask for the Vegan Recipe Club packet. If you would like contactless pick-up, please call the library during open hours and request curbside service.

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

The Essential Vegan Keto Cookbook — 2018 — by the Editors of Rodale Books

  • Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup – p39
  • Veggie Sushi with Yum-Yum Sauce – p56 & Yum-Yum Sauce – p58
  • Carne Asada Marinated Mushroom Tacos with Avocado Salsa – p70 & Avocado Salsa – p71


  • Jackfruit Pulled Pork and Rice Bowl – p78
  • Buffalo-Roasted Radishes -p126

Other recipes of interest from the cookbook but not included in this packet: Everything Bagels and Tofu Scramble over Grilled Eggplant and Avocado.

Download January Recipes here.

Facilitated by Henry Patterson of Compassionate Action for Animals.

View additional information and previous recipes here.

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Upcoming Events

Friday, March 1, 2024 - Friday, March 8, 2024

Celebrate National Pig Day: Act for MN Pigs

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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Thursday, March 7, 2024

Twin Cities West Suburbs Vegan Potluck