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Twin Cities Veg Fest 2018 Recap

















This year marked some big additions for Twin Cities Veg Fest. We were in a new event space (thank you Harriet Island Regional Park!) and hosted 100+ vendors, new activities, more cooking demonstrations, roundtable discussions, more transportation options, and a 21+ After-Party. We even added music which included performances by the RedBone Singers, YaLonda Lolar Johnson, The Peace Life, The Sun Singers, Mistress Ginger and her band, Mary Bue, and DJ WAGZ. 


















Festival food favorites included jackfruit nachos from Reverie, cheeze curds from Radical Eats and Herbivorous Butcher, pineapple smoothies from Jasmine Deli, and so many more delicious options from over 25 food vendors. These Wingz? even came all the way from Chicago, IL to sling their BBQ and buffalo seitan-based wings. These vendors showed that plant-based options can be fun, delicious, hand-held, and extremely satisfying.

This year’s festival was pulled together by a 24-person planning committee, supported by 160+ volunteers, and enjoyed by over 9,000 attendees. Wow!

To put that in perspective, 2017’s festival hosted 15 food vendors, 70 exhibitors total, had 150 volunteers, a 10-person planning committee, and entertained over 7,000 attendees. 

Whether you attended, presented, or volunteered at the event, thank you for making Sunday possible. Your participation in Twin Cities Veg Fest contributed to the momentum of the plant-based movement sweeping the country. Together, we moved the ball forward for the animals!

To see more photos from Sunday, check out our Instagram feed and stay tuned for more video and photos released from the festival. Have some of your own to share? Post on social media and #tcvegfest!

Swag Bags Are Back!

Thanks to generous donor contributions, we’ll be handing out official Twin Cities Veg Fest swag bags to the first 225 attendees! To get yours, make sure to arrive early and get in line Sunday morning at 151 W Water Street (the official festival entrance).

Don’t want to wait until then to find out what’s in the bags? We’ve got you covered. This year’s swag bags will contain:

  • Upton’s curry dinner
  • Yelp tote bag
  • Orgain protein powder
  • Reverie coupon for a free dessert or side and veggie tattoo
  • Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling drink cozy
  • Nogurt pin and information
  • Bryan Schumann free music download
  • Sssdude-Nutz coaster
  • Farmaste Animal Sanctuary, Caravan Vet, The Stanford Inn and Resort, and Compassionate Action for Animals information

Dreaming of more Twin Cities Veg Fest swag? Official festival t-shirts will be available for purchase during the festival. Want yours for free? Sign up to volunteer Sunday at to make a difference at the festival AND get a festival shirt!

Meet Our New Communications Coordinator!

A couple of weeks ago, Compassionate Action for Animals announced that a new Communications Coordinator had been selected. Emily Nyberg began working with CAA yesterday, September 4th.

Emily pictured holding Lenny the dog
Emily and Lenny the dog

Emily initially connected with CAA at several of the events we run and attend around Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Twin Cities Veg Fest and Twin Cities Pride. What struck her about the conversations she had with volunteers at events was the approach CAA uses to help individuals reconsider the impact their consumption habits have on farmed animals, our communities, and the environment.

Emily comes with non-profit and for-profit marketing experience, having interned for a number of non-profits, including Minnesota Opera, Vintage Band Festival, and Sing for Joy, a radio station based in Northfield, MN. While at St. Olaf College, she worked on their Music Entertainment Committee (MEC), a student-run organization that produced music events for the student body. Emily held several positions during her four years on the committee, from Marketing Communications Officer to Committee Coordinator. During her time on the committee, she most enjoyed connecting with other student-led groups to produce unique events for students to experience.

She has spent the past two years on the marketing team at Parsons Electric, an electrical and technologies contractor, where she focused on video and graphics content creation for social media campaigns and sales. One of the video series she produced in 2017 was recognized by the Construction Marketing Association after a successful email outreach campaign, receiving their 2017 CMA STAR award for Video. While at Parsons, she also wrote, designed, and distributed a new internal newsletter that informed employees about what was going on companywide.

“Each organization I’ve worked with has encouraged me to expand professionally and gain new perspectives to approach the way I work to support their mission,” said Emily of her previous work experiences. “I look forward to moving back into non-profit work, being a full-time animal advocate with CAA, and getting more involved with the Twin Cities vegan community.”

Emily (pictured right) standing with Hayden (on left) outside the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
Emily (right) with Hayden at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, August 2018

Emily was drawn to apply for the Communications Coordinator position by CAA’s continued work towards educating the Twin Cities community about the farming industrial complex and making resources supporting a compassionate, plant-based diet accessible and sustainable for all. She believes it’s important to continue to talk about the animals and “why vegan?” even after committing to a vegan lifestyle in order to continue to strengthen and grow the community.

She is excited to support our community outreach events and potlucks and connect with more CAA volunteers. A large project she plans to start this year is the development of a communications plan for CAA that matches our mission and increases volunteer conversion.

When Emily is not working in support of the animals, you’re likely to find her in the kitchen veganizing different dishes with her boyfriend Hayden, singing, studying herbalism, exploring Minnesota with friends and family, or behind the counter at Healing Elements, a yoga and wellness studio in St. Paul.

We are excited to welcome Emily to the team. She will be at the 2018 Twin Cities Veg Fest and 21+ Veg Fest After Party on September 16. You can meet her there and join our celebration of the growing Twin Cities veg community!

Twin Cities Veg Fest Community Tent

We are excited to introduce a brand new Twin Cities Veg Fest community tent! In the community tent a variety of activities provide the chance to:

  • get to know other festival attendees
  • have in-depth conversations with our speakers during round-table sessions
  • learn more about healthy plant-based eating
  • have fun

Read on to learn more!

Activities Planned  


Come to the Community Tent at 12:00 to 12:30 and meet your fellow Meet-up and Twitter pals for a round of “Get to Know You BINGO”.

Ask A Dietitian Table

Do you have questions about how to approach a plant-based diet? We’ve got you covered. Twin Cities Veg Fest has lined up several dietitians who will be available throughout the festival to help answer questions and provide resources to help you along the way to healthy living.

Twin Cities Veg Fest Photo Booth

Capture your memories of Twin Cities Veg Fest at our Photo Booth outside the tent. We will be inviting you to post your pictures using our hashtag #tcvegfest18.

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) Information Table

Learn about many of the  events, programs, and initiatives of CAA, the organization that organizes the festival. You’ll find many volunteer opportunities to become involved with cultivating empathy for animals and moving to a plant-based diet. Also, sign up to learn about becoming a mentor or mentee with CAA’s new mentorship program.

Round Table Sessions

We’ve lined up round table sessions that where you will be able to go deeper into topics you are interested in. These discussions will be led by our speakers and will field your questions.

1:00 – 1:30 and 1:30 – 2:00

Plant-Based Nutrition for the Aspiring Vegan Lauren Plunkett RDN, LD, CDE, and Owner at LP Nutrition Consulting

Why you are the right person to help animals Christine Coughlin, Minnesota State Director for the Humane Society of the United States

2:15 – 2:45 and 2:45 – 3:15

The Right Way To Be Right Cam Awesome, Vegan Athlete and Inspirational Speaker

(Tentative) Veganism on a Budget Julie Knopp, Educator, Writer & Non-Profit Leader

3:30 – 4:00 and 4:00 to 4:30

What Animals Teach Us, and Why It Matters Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director at Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Religious (and Non-Religious) Approaches to Helping Animals Mark Berkson Ph.D., Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University

by Vic Massaglia, community tent coordinator and Compassionate Action for Animals board member

Wholesome Minnesota Update

CAA launched Wholesome Minnesota in January. This exciting new program empowers volunteers to make change for animals through the institutions they’re connected to. Whether it’s a school, hospital, faith community, restaurant, or worksite, almost all of us frequent a place that serves food, and by leveraging our involvement, we can generate more plant-based options in our community.

We held our first Wholesome Minnesota Advocacy Training in January in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States and Forward Food. Nearly 50 volunteers attended, and they went right to work making change at  institutions using what they learned.

First, Kacie Mathison spoke with the manager of her workplace insurance incentives programs. After a conversation about the benefits of Meatless Mondays, the manager agreed to implement employee incentive points for those who participate in Meatless Mondays. Way to go, Kacie!

Next, Twin Cities Friends Meeting (Quaker) agreed to provide vegan options after their worship services each Sunday after advocacy from an attendee of the first training.

After that Volunteer Henry Patterson connected CAA with a local catering company preparing more than 20,000 meals daily for charter schools, daycares, and home delivery. After meeting with Wholesome Minnesota leadership,the company agreed to trial vegan meals at a handful of local schools this school year.

In May and June, volunteer Theresa Zingery and program coordinator Julie Knopp made multiple contacts with a suburban school district. The district agreed to serve plant-based meals this coming April for Earth Day.

In July, program coordinator Julie Knopp and executive director Laura Matanah attended the Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles, gathering new resources to share.

There are two ways you can get involved in Wholesome Minnesota right now to keep this momentum going.


  1. Register  to attend our second Wholesome Minnesota Advocacy Training on Saturday, September 8th at 1:00 pm, co-hosted by the Humane Society of the United States. You’ll even get a free lunch from The Herbivorous Butcher! You can invite friends on Facebook, too.  
  2. Sign up for our volunteer newsletter take part in our growing initiative to get more plant-based options in Twin Cities restaurants. Each week in August, we’re inviting CAA supporters to share a simple, friendly message requesting vegan options at a local restaurant on social media. Just watch for the announcement in our weekly newsletter, and then copy-paste the text and post it to the target restaurant’s Facebook page. By showing local restaurants that a community of consumers is seeking more vegan options, we can inspire institutional change in Minnesota.

For more information or to get involved, email Wholesome Minnesota Program Coordinator Julie Knopp at


A New Communications Coordinator!

I’m delighted to share that our hiring committee has selected a new Communications Coordinator: Emily Nyberg!

Emily has strong professional communications experience, including project coordination, writing, social media management, graphic design, and video production. She has also worked with volunteers to organize events.

Emily will begin work September 4. We look forward to telling you more about her in once she’s joined us in September. For now, we wanted to share our excitement about the ways she’ll be able to move our communications strategy forward.

Many thanks to our hiring committee, which included two board members and a volunteer, for their hard work in finding the right person for the job.

The 2018 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award Goes to…

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 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, in honor of Compassionate Action for Animal’s 20th anniversary, we’re giving the award to Matt Mackall, Unny Nambudiripad, and Dave Rolsky. All three were founders of CAA and have been critical to the growth of the organization and the animal rights movement, both locally and nationally.

Matt and Unny at one of CAA’s Annual Banquets
Unny Nambudiripad won the Henry Spira award for Animal Advocacy in 2013.

Together Matt, Unny and Dave worked to bring many others to caring about and taking action for animals, just as Kenny Feldman inspired Unny to activism. This can be seen by the way that Compassionate Action for Animals programs, including Twin Cities Veg Fest, are thriving.  It can also be seen in the movement for animals that exists in Minnesota today demonstrated by the many organizations and activists who will be present at the festival.

David Rolsky at Poplar Spring Farm Sanctuary

CAA will present Matt, Unny, and Dave with the award at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2018 on September 16 at Harriet. The award presentation will take place in the Farmaste Speaker’s Tent  just before the presentation on animal protection from Catskill Farm Sanctuary director Kathy Stevens.

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 18 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.


We’re Bringing Music and Arts to the Festival!

You asked for more music and arts at Twin Cities Veg Fest, and this year we’re bringing it! You’ll be able to hear a range of musical styles and participate in free interactive arts activities throughout the day. In the evening, we’ll have a 21+ after-party with more live music and a DJ!

The Sunshapes performed at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2017.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience: Bryan Schumann will provide live ambient music as background to guided meditations led by Dawn Morningstar and Freeman Wicklund; YaLonda Lolar will sing inspirational music; The Peace Life, a guitar and banjo playing duo, will share original tunes mixed with favorite covers, and The Sunshapes will perform their unique blend of folk/Americana, pop, and classical.

Throughout the festival artist BrieAnna Lindquist will give attendees the opportunity to create screen prints of animals and veggies.

To cap off the day, DJ Wagz will welcome you to our ticketed 21+ after-party where we’ll feature singer-songwriter Mary Bue as well as cabaret diva Mistress Ginger, glamourpuss supreme, who will share popular tunes of classic pop-rock with her band. Tickets will go on sale shortly.

Funding for the equipment, electricity and staffing needed to support these artists is provided by generous donations from people like you. Each $1,000 we raise is being matched by a group of generous donors. Please help us reach our goal of $8,000 by August 25 by making a gift today.

A generous group of volunteers helped to recruit and select this year’s performers. Many thanks to Nathan Gaut, Bryan Schumann, YaLonda Lolar, Ayanna Muata, Mitch Thompson, and Laura Van Zandt for their thoughtful participation.

A full schedule of artists, times, and locations will appear on the Twin Cities Veg Fest website later this month.


Hops & Hearts Event Kicks off $8,000 Festival Fundraising Drive

On July 25, we kicked off our campaign to raise $8,000 for Twin Cities Veg Fest with a fabulous party at Bang Brewing in St. Paul.

Over 85 guests contributed the first $1,200 that we need to raise by August 25. Please join in by making a gift today! Every gift is being matched by a team of generous donors.

Guests enjoyed delicious food from Reverie Mobile Kitchen and heard about the difference that their gifts to support the festival make.

For many of our thousands of attendees, this is their first and only exposure to animal rights. It’s a chance for them to think, ‘Wow, look at all these people, being vegan isn’t that weird–it’s awesome!’ or ‘Wow, this food is delicious! I can’t believe vegans can eat such good stuff’ or ‘Wow, I didn’t know they did that to animals, that’s not okay.’ It’s experiences like these that ultimately end up saving animal lives,” shared Nathan Gaut, who serves as the chair of this year’s festival committee.

Enjoy the photo slideshow of the event below, and view our progress towards our fundraising goal here.

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

CAA UMN Zoom Meeting

Saturday, April 18, 2020 - Friday, April 24, 2020

Twin Cities VegWeek 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom