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Twin Cities Veg Fest

I hope you can join us for our first-ever Twin Cities Veg Fest on July 14.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is a one day celebration of compassionate living. We'll have delicious plant-based food, information about everything you want to know about vegan eating, and thought-provoking speakers. I hope you can join us on July 14, 2012, from 10am to 5pm at Coffman Memorial Union, Minneapolis, MN.

Please get ready by:

  • Marking your calendar. Once again, it's on July 14!
  • Liking us on Facebook and following our Twitter feed
  • Referring us to sponsors or exhibitors. It's a great way to get a brand in front of an interested audience of over 1,000 attendees.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Farm Sanctuary to Partner with VegGuide.org

Farm Sanctuary will be joining forces with us to promote and expand VegGuide.org, our worldwide guide to restaurants and shopping.

Farm Sanctuary is a national organization that protects farm animals from cruelty and promotes veganism. They provide shelter for abused animals, work to reform factory farming, and empower people to embrace a vegan lifestyle. We have hosted their founder, Gene Baur, at Veg Week and at our Their Lives, Our Voices conference and we're pleased to partner with them on VegGuide.org! They are joining our other two partners, Mercy for Animals and Vegan Outreach.

We are looking forward to the continued growth of VegGuide.org. With more than 14,000 entries, VegGuide.org is a popular and growing place to find veg-friendly restaurants. VegGuide.org lets users create entries, write reviews, and rate restaurants and businesses. Additionally, it's free of advertising, focuses on helping people find useful resources to move towards veganism, and all of its content is available free of charge under a Creative Commons license.

We're excited to have Farm Sanctuary's help in making VegGuide.org a success!

Factory Farming Can End With Your Support

When we contemplate the future, we see a world where factory farms no longer exist; animals are treated with kindness, compassion, and respect, rather than as tools or machines.

But we can't reach this future without your help.

At Compassionate Action for Animals, your donations support our efforts to reach out to the public and educate them about the horrors of modern factory farming. Your support lets us continue our leaflet distribution, video showings, and food giveaways, as well as our many other outreach, education, and community-building activities.

Please consider signing up for a recurring donation. If just a small fraction of the people on this list signed up to give a mere $10 per month, we could give out free vegan samples to tens of thousands of people! If you can't give on a recurring basis, please consider a one time gift of $50 or $25 today.

Iowa Passes Ag-Gag Bill

Last week, the state of Iowa passed a bill aimed at restricting undercover investigations that bring to light the realities of factory farming

Iowa is the first in the country to pass an 'ag-gag' bill. This bill penalizes workers who work on farms under false pretenses. This bill will make it more difficult for animal protection organizations to let the public know about how animals are raised for food.

Undercover investigations have been crucial in bringing to light the horrific conditions that pigs, cows, chickens, and other farm animals are subjected to. For more details about why the legislation is a bad idea, please read the Star Tribune opinions piece by Compassionate Action for Animals volunteer Jeff Johnson.

Please watch Mercy for Animals' new video that shows what the industry is attempting to hide. Please also consider choosing plant-based foods.

Book Review: Eating Animals

Reviewed by Shannon Kimball

After hearing the buzz about Jonathan Foer's new book Eating Animals, I knew I had to check it out. It was a great read and I can see why so many people are talking about it. The stories about his own personal struggles with vegetarianism help us to get to know the author right away. We find that he's just a regular guy who saw something wrong in the world.

Foer doesn't take an absolutist stance. He leaves you guessing which side of the fence he's on, even while Eating Animals masterfully dismantles many common arguments against vegetarianism.

I was also struck by the comparison between his perspective and Michael Pollan's perspective in Omnivore's Dilemma. As a humane educator I am often confronted during presentations by teachers and students who have read Pollan's book. They hope I will ultimately endorse his message of "humanely" killing and eating animals. It is nice to have a book I can recommend to them that offers a different opinion.

The subjects Foer touches on are weighty but he balances the weight with humor. He examines with admirable clarity the true value of PeTA, the bird flu scare, and the disagreement between the welfarist and abolitionist to animal advocacy.

Eating Animals is well-written, surprisingly entertaining, and altogether well thought out treatment of our modern relationship with animals. Foer provides a thoughtful voice on the side of animal protection, and I hope that many people outside the animal protection movement will read his work.

3rd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off This Saturday

Please join us on Saturday, February 25 from 7:30 to 10 pm!

Join special host Robin Garwood at the Seward Cafe for an event that is guaranteed to spice up a chilly Minnesota night. Attendees will sample a variety of delicious vegan chili recipes prepared by local cooks at this FREE event. Beverages will be provided for washing down some spicy chili. Over 125 people attended last year's cook-off, and we expect a similar crowd again this year!

Map of Event Location

Vegan Chili Recipe

Warm up a winter evening with root vegetable chili!

Our February 25 3rd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off is upon us. What better way to prepare for the event than by making and enjoying your own chili? Be sure to check out the rest of our recipes as well.

Ingredients

Isa says, "this recipe calls for 2 pounds of root veggies, so use whichever are available to you. Some of my faves are rutabaga or turnip (they taste similar, so I wouldn't suggest both,) celeriac, golden beats, or parsnip".

  • 2 pounds root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced medium
  • 1 red pepper, diced medium
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup green lentils, washed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
  • Cilantro and lime for garnish (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat a 4 quart soup pot over medium high heat.
  • Saute onions and bell pepper in oil until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and cinnamon.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and the cocoa powder; cook for about 1 more minute, while stirring, to dissolve the cocoa.
  • Add lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and root veggies.
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil, keeping a close eye. Once it's boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, until lentils are tender and root veggies is soft.
  • Mix in agave.
  • Add water as necessary to thin out the chili.
  • Taste for salt and seasoning.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes or so for maximum flavor.
  • Serve garnished with cilantrom, scallions and lime if you like. You can also dollop on a little vegan yogurt or soy cream.

Thanks to Isa for sharing this recipe and the accompanying photo with Compassionate Action for Animals.

The importance of consumer advocacy

Since the founding of CAA, we have encouraged consumers to make better dietary choices. I was talking to a sympathizer with our cause, and she asked how consumer education reduces animal suffering and death. I explained that we educate consumers about factory farming and vegetarianism. I told her that if everybody became vegan, there would be no animal agriculture. She told me that would never happen.

I don't concern myself much about whether or not the world will ever become vegan — it's not a question that I think sheds light on how best to advocate for animals today — but was still a bit startled by her question. Looking back on the conversation, I realized I left many gaps in explaining the thinking behind our work and strategy.

There are many ways to create change: we can lobby for better laws for animals at the local state, or national level, we can try to influence the behavior of businesses or corporations, we can conduct social, psychological, political, or philosophical research into the causes and ways to prevent animal cruelty, we can file lawsuits to prevent animal exploitation, we can start animal-friendly businesses, or we can start a pro-animal publication.

All of these methods can be effective, and we work with allies that do a number of these things. I have personally been involved in using many of these methods, and I am likely to use these methods in the future. But here are the primary reasons we have focused on changing consumer behavior:

1. The change we get when we consume fewer animal products, become vegetarian, or become vegan is immediate. Because of the change in our consumption habits, fewer animals are confined in factory farms, and fewer are killed. In my other organizing work outside of animal advocacy, I've worked with activists to pass legislation. Sometimes we were successful in getting the changes we wanted, and sometimes we weren't. When we weren't, the process of advocating for change usually resulted in being better trained, having more resources, and more likely to pass the legislation the next time. But we didn't effect any substantive social change as a direct result of our work — which often consumed hundreds of hours and a lot energy. When we change our eating habits, we are empowered by the immediate impact of our choices.

2. Relatedly, the process of changing our consumption patterns is not about a theoretical vegetarian world, it's about living our values today. We derive a satisfaction that we've become closer to the kind of people we want to be on a day-to-day basis. Our changing eating habits entail changed patterns in grocery shopping, eating at restaurants, and cooking for our families. We change how we celebrate holidays and birthdays, how we mark religious occasions, weddings and funerals. All of these changes emphasize our new values and beliefs today, regardless of any changes that may or may not happen in the future.

3. Changing our consumption habits is accessible. It takes no special knowledge, skills, or resources to change our eating habits. In contrast, making change by influencing a corporation requires understanding how the corporation works and makes decision, who has the power in the corporation to make the changes we want, and an ability to persuade the decision-makers. In contrast, we can simply choose to patronize different restaurants and buy different food at the grocery store to change our eating habits and help animals.

4. Finally, focusing on consumer change empowers us to understand that the world operates as it does — and allows for current cruelties to continue — because we let it. It's not the powerful institutions of agribusiness, corporations, or governments that perpetuate animal cruelty, it's us: we decide, every time we eat, the fate of the animals. It can be overwhelming to realize their fate rests with us, but we must also acknowledge our power.

Focusing our efforts on consumer education is an accessible and effective way to further social change. I've been fortunate to hear numerous stories of people eating fewer animals as a result of our work. Our strategy will help our movement grow and create the success we are looking for.

Vegan For Life

If you want to learn the basics of vegan nutrition, Vegan For Life is the comprehensive, up-to-date, and reliable book that you're looking for!

Written by Jack Norris and Ginny Messina, both registered dieticians, Vegan for Life is an easy-to-read guide to meeting your nutrition needs and building a meal plan. Vegan for Life has nutrition recommendations for pregnancy and breast-feeding, kids, and athletes.

Norris and Messina debunk persistent myths about veganism by carefully looking at what the science says. They're not afraid to review all of the research — whether or not a study portrays veganism in a positive light — to come up with recommendations that are trustworthy. You don't need to have a science background to read the book, as it is written for a general audience.

Whether you're a long-time vegan, just getting started, or simply interested in vegan nutrition, Vegan for Life is highly recommended. Get and read your copy today!

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, December 29, 2018

December Holiday Potluck: Hotdish

Thursday, January 10, 2019

January Dine-Out: Trio Plant-based

Saturday, February 9, 2019

February Dine-Out: Seed Cafe