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Meet the 2022 Banquet Planning Committee

Ever wondered how we pull together the Banquet? Behind the scenes a talented team is working hard on Veg Out!: CAA’s Annual Banquet 2022.  Both experienced and brand new volunteers are busy making it an inspiring and fun event. 

Their work includes:  photographing the venue, developing the slideshow, coordinating  volunteers, and soliciting donations to  upload them to our Auction app. It’s amazing how much goes into planning such a major event. Staff couldn’t manage it without this talented and dedicated group of volunteers.

Find out more about them below:

Brita Maia Bengtson

Brita Maia Bengtson

Brita has volunteered to develop the quiz for our Auction contest. Quizzes have been integral to several of our recent events so we decided to add them to the Annual Banquet as well. Brita stepped up to help come up with a clever, challenging  animal-based theme and research the answer for us. She worked with our Slide developer to get the questions included and developed a spreadsheet to capture and score the answers. 

To get to know her better, Brita answered some questions:

 What inspired you to get involved with planning the CAA Banquet? 

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Help CAA Promote Meat Industry Transparency

Did you know that you can help farmed animals with a tweet? 

Milking cows by automatic industrial milking rotary system in modern diary farm.

We have an opportunity to make a long-term impact on issues related to animal protection and the environmental damage caused by industrial agriculture. You can help by tweeting our message.

CAA is working with 30 groups, led by Mercy for Animals, to change the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI).  Help reach Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack with our nominations for new members. We need your voice.

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Meet our new Communications Coordinator–Theresa Zingery

Volunteer joins staff

Theresa (she/her) has been a long time volunteer and now joins us as staff! She is the new Communications Coordinator.

As a board member she worked on strategic planning, fundraising and communications.  She also loved greeting at in-person events (when those were possible!). Most recently, she helped organize the Annual Banquet and coordinated the auction.

She recently retired from her role as Community Education Manager for Anoka-Hennepin schools. Rather than a life of leisure, she wanted to focus on her favorite part of past jobs – communications. Working with us allows her to do that. All while still working to make an impact on behalf of farmed animals.

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Meet our newest Board Member – Alyssa Foggia-Hamm

Our board of directors has recently added a new member. Alyssa (she/her) has been an animal advocate with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for about three years and now she’s adding CAA to that list. As a professional writer and marketer, Alyssa brings a creative lens to our work.

Alyssa is a Minnesota native, born and raised. She works for herself at Fabacts, LLC as a freelance writer and creative marketing specialist. She’s also a part-time indoor cycling instructor at the family-owned boutique spin studio, Surge Cycling.

Alyssa’s plant-based journey started almost immediately after she watched the documentary What the Health in 2017. That film inspired her to cut red meat cold turkey. As she educated herself on the dairy and fishing industries, it didn’t take much time to cut all animals products from her diet.

Since her transition to the vegan life, she’s taken an interest in agriculture, food politics, animal welfare and public health. As a fitness junkie and long-time health enthusiast, Alyssa is passionate about getting people to not only live a plant-based lifestyle, but one that’s intentional, compassionate, balanced and good for overall health. Alyssa’s approach to advocacy in her personal life is a little unconventional, often using sarcasm and humor to connect with an audience and get her message across.

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Meet our new Program Assistant—Abbey Feola!

We are pleased to welcome a new Program Assistant—Abbey Feola! Below we share a brief bio of her along with questions she answered so that we could get to know her a little better. She hopes to meet you soon at a CAA event so that she can get to know you too!

Abbey Feola, Program Assistant

Abbey (she/her) joined CAA as Program Assistant after volunteering at several CAA events and loving the open, welcoming atmosphere she found there. As Program Assistant, she supports participants taking the Explore Veg challenge and assists with a variety of other CAA programming. In her previous years at Macalester College and Habitat for Humanity, she created outreach programs and worked with volunteers around topics relating to sustainability and housing. She currently spends her time outside of CAA working in the financial industry, volunteering at pet rescues, getting involved in new sports, spending time with her friends and family, and taking care of her pets.

She answered some of our questions below so that we could get to know her better:

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Helping students connect the dots

By Jodi Gruhn, Wholesome Minnesota Director

One of my favorite parts of my role as the Wholesome Minnesota Director is connecting with students. It has been a great pleasure to visit local high schools to help students connect the dots between human and planetary health and our food system. The majority of the students I have met have had no idea that animal agriculture had a role in climate change and hadn’t thought about how it contributes to the health crisis that plagues us. One student said, “How come no one tells us this stuff.” The good news? These students are now armed with information and some are activated to make change.

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Upcoming Events

Monday, July 4, 2022

Vegan 4th of July Potluck

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2022