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Meet our newest Board Member—Julie Reiter

Julie with Luna on (left) and Kaia. Luna’s a rescue from Standing Rock and Kaia’s a rescue from Alabama.

We are pleased to welcome Julie Reiter to the CAA Board of Directors. Julie (she/her) has been involved in education and nonprofit work for over 15 years. She currently serves as the director of a program focused on nonprofits and volunteerism for students at the University of St. Thomas.

For her own activism, she was drawn to CAA because of its positive and inclusive approach to supporting folks on their journey toward plant-based eating. She started volunteering with CAA through the Vegan Chef Challenge, and joined the board in 2022.

We asked her some questions so that we can get to know her better. Below are her replies.

What about CAA appeals to you?

I’m excited to be involved in a grassroots nonprofit working in positive ways to reduce harmful factory farming practices. The Twin Cities Veg Fest is such a good example of that – it’s a fun celebration of delicious food where everyone is welcome, where the ultimate benefactors are the animals. (The focus on food is definitely a plus, since I really love to eat!)

I really appreciate that CAA supports people wherever they are in their plant-based journey, and doesn’t take an “all or nothing” approach to veganism. I think that approach is so productive and uplifting. I also especially appreciate the anti-racist stance the organization has taken.

What are your hopes for CAA and for the animal protection movement?

CAA has so many great programs that all support its ultimate goal of increasing empathy towards animals and moving people towards a plant-based lifestyle. I hope that the organization can continue to grow so it can reach more people through these programs, and create new innovative ways to meet its mission. I’m excited that it seems more and more people are being inspired to give up animal products. As it becomes more accessible and acceptable to be vegan, CAA is in a great position to help folks make the change.

Speaking of compassionate living, what are your favorite vegan foods?

It’s so amazing to me how many delicious vegan food options there are! I love the challenge of finding healthy plant-based food while traveling. At home, nothing is better than a big buddha bowl thrown together with some veggies, quinoa, air-fried tofu, roasted potatoes and a creamy vegan sauce.

How do you spend your time when you’re not advocating for animals?

I’ve got a really active family with two teenagers and two rescue pups, and they keep me busy!

Previous Vegan Recipe Club recipes now available!

Since 2019 CAA has been hosting a monthly Vegan Recipe Club. The club meets online and discusses a few recipes that had been selected for the month. These recipes are available for download before the class. You can make them ahead of time, or not, and then join in the discussion about them.

We have collected these recipes over the years. They can be found here. Each month’s recipes are listed by subject/type of food. There are a wide variety of meals to choose from. All selected to be great tasting and support the health of participants. Best of all, they also help the animals and the environment!

Check them out! And come to one of the ongoing monthly Vegan Recipe Club meetings. The club meets monthly on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm. Meetings are held via zoom.

Find Previous Recipes: exploreveg.org/VRCarchives

Great food and friends at CAA’s 2022 4th of July Picnic!

Over 70 people joined us for our annual 4th of July Vegan Picnic! Despite the rainy weather people gathered to share their culinary creations and try new dishes!

We had a table chock full of entrees, another with salads, one with gluten free options and perhaps most importantly a desert table! The food kept coming as people joined us throughout the day.

Many were at their first vegan meal! Others were long time vegans who loved to show off their creations. All reported having so much food they couldn’t fit it all—on their plate or in their stomach! The creativity was amazing! We even had “hard-boiled deviled eggs”—no hens involved!

It was a great chance to renew old friendships and make new friends. All people who share a common desire to explore a more compassionate way of eating.

In keeping with our other goal of environmental stewardship, the event used compostable plates and utensils. And many brought their own to be even more “green.”

If you attended the event we’d love your feedback here.

Get to meet Fox and Zeus—Herbivorous Acres residents and best buddies

Herbivorous Acres (HA) is a nonprofit farm sanctuary protecting animals from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. They provide a safe place for animals to live out their lives with well-deserved peace and dignity. They are currently located on property in Scandia.

They currently have two pigs, a rooster, and 4 goats and 5 ducks with more rescues to come down the road. Fox and Zeus are the pigs. We want you to have this chance to get to know them and their special friendship.

Fox is 5 years old and was rescued back in 2017 after jumping off a slaughter truck when he was only 8 weeks old and weighed 10 lbs.

He came to HA after a kind woman and her husband in St. Paul took him in after he was found all alone on the side of a highway in Iowa. They gave him a wonderful start and contacted HA to continue his care.

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CAA makes a big impact at the Pride festival 2022!

The Twin Cities Pride Festival is one of the biggest events in the Twin Cities. It is estimated that over 400,000 attend each year. This makes it a perfect opportunity to outreach to a large number of people.  We took great advantage of that!

Thanks to a team of volunteers and staff we were able to welcome more than 1,000 people to hear our message. 

Individuals who chose to spin the wheel were quizzed on the plant-based (or not!) content of their favorite snacks. Everyone found it eye-opening. They were also given a leaflet about extending compassion to farmed animals, and a flier and personal invitation to Twin Cities Veg Fest. 

Over 300 more were exposed to the horrors of factory farming in our video outreach. 

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Low calorie, nutritious meals | July 2022 | Vegan Recipe Club

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.

The cookbook selection for July is Appetite for Reduction – 2011 – by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

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A fond farewell to Emily Nyberg—CAA’s Design Director

We are sad to be saying goodbye to CAA’s Design Director, Emily Nyberg (she/they), at the end of June 2022. Emily has brought her considerable talents to benefit CAA since September 2018. Her outstanding contributions have moved the organization forward and helped in its growth. In addition, she will be remembered for her insights, skills, positivity and team spirit. She will be greatly missed.

She started as our full time Communication Coordinator. In that role she directed the full range of our communication efforts—from Social Media to newsletters and magazines.

Emily connected with CAA’s mission at the Twin Cities Veg Fest and other events around Minneapolis before becoming communications coordinator. She has a background in music non-profit work and marketing. She brought to the CAA team her experience in graphic design, video production, music event planning and organization, social media management, website management, and more.

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Meet Kristen Klemann—Twin Cities Veg Fest Volunteer

Kristen (she/her) has joined us a first time volunteer this year. She plunged right in with taking on the role of handling the Twitter social media for the Twin Cities Veg Fest.

As with so many of our Festival volunteers, Kristen got attracted to this role because of a past positive experience at the Twin Cities Veg Fest! She first came to the festival in 2018 and had so much fun she wanted to volunteer to make sure that this continues to be a great event.

She also appreciates the mission of the festival and wants to do what she can to support it. While she hasn’t been very active with Twitter before she is excited to be learning this new skill and to be putting it to use for a great cause she believes in!

Kristen loves animals, and in particular her dog. Her boyfriend is a “great vegan chef” and she really enjoys his meals and learning about great new vegan food.

She also loves meeting people who share her interests and values—especially in helping the community.

Her hobbies are spending time with her dog and “the awesome human folks in my life.” She also loves reading, knitting and spending time outside in nature.

Meet Stefanie Amundsen—New CAA Design Director

Stef loves to lounge around with Ted the cat

Stefanie Amundsen (Stef) (she/her) has recently been hired as our new Design Director. Stef is no stranger to CAA! She has been part of the UMN CAA student group group for a few years, and has helped out with graphics for some of our projects.

Stef just graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a Bachelor’s in Art with minors in Racial Justice in Urban Schooling and Sustainability. This summer, in addition to starting with us, she will begin a graduate program to work toward a Master’s in Education and a K-12 Arts Teaching License.

She loves being able to use her design/art skills and talents as an activist and as a way to work toward a future that’s more just, equitable, and compassionate for all — especially those whose voices aren’t often amplified, including the animals. For the past few years, she has spent a great amount of time in activism on climate justice and women’s sexual and reproductive health.

She is very motivated to the work of helping build people’s compassion for farmed animals. Stef cites the impact of several films on animal advocacy for sparking her move to veganism.

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Volunteer and Donor Appreciation Party 2022

On June 11, 2022 we gathered for our annual Volunteer and Donor Appreciation Party. Yunuén and Sanchez Brown were once again our gracious and generous hosts! Their lovely yard and party room were a perfect setting. As is traditional, Sanchez grilled up his famous (and super yummy! )vegan chorizo tacos.

Over 30 volunteers and donors enjoyed the food and drink, got caught up with old friends and met new ones. There were also brief speakers who highlighted their reasons for volunteering and donating to Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA).

In addition to their generosity in hosting this event annually, Yunuén and Sanchez are Circle of Care members and major donors. We got to hear why they support CAA and the reason they love to host this event each year. Yunuén shared her path to veganism and how encountering CAA gave her a sense of community and support. They want to give back for what this community has meant to them and to help support its effective work on behalf of the animals.

CAA co-founder Dave Rolsky also spoke to these same themes and how they drive his continued support. Executive Director, Laura Matanah, thanked our hosts, the speakers and all who attended while giving highlights of some upcoming opportunities.

Volunteers and donors are essential to the work of CAA. This is one opportunity to help them see how much their support means to the organization and how it helps move forward our work on behalf of the animals.

If you participated in this event we would appreciate your feedback here.

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