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Announcing our new Executive Director

The Compassionate Action for Animals' Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Unny Nambudiripad will be CAA's new Executive Director! Unny will work for CAA full time and begin in this role as of Monday, August 22. Danielle Smith, our current Director of Volunteer Programs, will be leaving as of Friday, August 5.

Danielle says of her departure, "I have absolutely loved my time with CAA and will cherish the connections and memories I have made. I owe CAA so much. Not only has the organization supported me in professional ways, I have also grown stronger as an animal activist."

She continues, "I hope to stay connected to the organization and look forward to the possibility of serving on the board of directors in the near future. I am also happy to know that Unny, who will be taking over volunteer coordination, is someone you are all familiar with. I believe that many great things are in store for CAA in the years to come."

Unny says, "I'm excited at the opportunity to take CAA to the next level. I've had a lot of fun working with dynamic leaders, hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers, and businesses, donors, and partner organizations to raise awareness about the plight of animals. Sometimes it is challenging to find the motivation and energy to be an effective advocate, but I'm confident that with your help we can make big changes for the animals we are here to protect."

Unny is a co-founder of Compassionate Action for Animals and has over 15 years of nonprofit experience. He has conducted investigations on factory farms, passed out leaflets, has written for local publications on animal issues, and planned social events. Additionally, Unny has led our fundraising efforts for the last five years, managed volunteers, served on the board of directors of several organizations, and coordinated strategic planning and budgeting. Because of his combination of experience and commitment to CAA's mission, we are excited to promote him into this position.

Please welcome Unny in his new role by:

The Board would like to thank Danielle for her work over this past year. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors. We are excited to have Unny joining us full time and we look forward to what CAA will accomplish in the future.

State Fair Vegan Cooking Competition

In the land of cheese curds, brats and Tater Tot hotdish, there is a new sheriff in town. The Minnesota State Fair is including in its annual cooking competition a Vegan Main Dish category. So put down those deep fried Twinkies on a stick and run over and get a glimpse at history in the making. Or better yet, enter a dish to win!

Florence Brammer helped campaign for the category to be added to the competition this year. For the several hundred thousand fair-goers, Brammer is hoping that this will raise awareness to the concept of vegan entrées and to the plight of factory farm raised animals. She is personally offering a prize to the winner- a copy of "The Vegan Table" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

The deadline for online registration is 4:30pm, August 9th. Registration is free! Go to state fair website to register. No late entries will be accepted, so skip, prance, or sashay your way down to the (virtual) registration booth.

When entering keep in mind that salads are not accepted since the goal is to provide a complete protein, just as non-vegan dishes do. The dishes will be judged based on four categories: Appearance, Ease of Preparation, Taste and Texture, with Taste being the most heavily weighted category and Ease of Preparation second.

Recipes should include 12 ingredients or fewer. This does not include cooking oil, garnish, salt, pepper and water.

Entries must be delivered to the fairgrounds on Sunday, August 21, in a disposable container.

To enter you must be 14 years or older, and a Minnesota resident. Professional chefs are not allowed. For complete rules download this PDF, then look for category #1111.

Please take this awesome opportunity to bring delicious vegan food to state fair-goers, as well as showing the fair administrators that there is a strong vegan community that will stand behind this new category!

Getting Veg Options

Simple steps for requesting veg options at conferences and workshops

While finding veg food at events that aren't animal or diet conscious can take extra effort, we've found that a little bit of planning can make everything go smoothly. Unny Nambudiripad was attending a conference this spring, and wasn't sure what the food options would be. Two weeks before the conference, he sent this email to the coordinator of the conference:


I'm looking forward to the conference. I'm a vegan (I don't eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or other animal products) and I was wondering if you can accommodate my diet. If not, that's fine, I can bring my own lunch. Please let me know if you have questions. I had also indicated my dietary predilection on my registration.


Notice that the email keeps a very positive voice and doesn't demand that they provide vegan food, and he even offers to bring his own food if needed. Bringing your own food where there is no veg option can show others that while you are not demanding or hard to deal with you still stand up for your own beliefs as to what you eat.

The conference coordinator sent Unny's request to the caterer, who replied in an extremely positive way by giving several options for a vegan meal including salad, soups and a sandwich, even a vegan dessert. The caterer went so far as to ask Unny what he would like on his sandwich. He replied and gave many options for vegan sandwich fillings and also made clear that he was a flexible, non-picky, vegan eater and made sure to thank her for the accommodations.

CAA Cooking Classes

CAA volunteer Bita writes about why our cooking classes are so great!

My name is Bita and I am a volunteer with CAA. I have been vegan for nearly 8 years now, but wasn't involved with the vegan movement/animal rights community until I moved to Minneapolis and found CAA. (Thank you to the U of M's list of student organizations!) I went vegan after watching some videos like Meet Your Meat and reading about the issues of animal cruelty, by way of a class project. Being involved with CAA solidifies all the reasons I went vegan in the first place and I really enjoy reaching out to the community to promote vegetarianism/veganism and animal rights and spending time with others who feel the same way.

Spring Leafleting Week Results!

CAA's first spring leafleting week ended last Friday. In just four days, leafleting two hours a day, we handed out over 2300 leaflets! As promised, the individual who handed out the most leaflets would receive a year's worth of Newman O's. The winner for last week is Dylan Mulenburg. Dylan handed out an astonishing 1900 leaflets.

Think you can trump that? Well, there are plenty of CAA leafleting opportunities ahead, such as Music for Mother Earth

Seventh Annual Banquet a Success

Enjoying our Annual Banquet

On April 7, Compassionate Action for Animals celebrated another year of advocating for animals at our 7th Annual Banquet. The fundraiser raised support for our outreach, education, and community building on behalf of farmed animals.

Over sixty five guests attended this year's event, which included a silent auction and reception, a gourmet four-course vegan meal, and a presentation about CAA's work.

The fantastic all-vegan, four-course meal prepared once again by Ciree Linsenman included Granny Tomatillo & White Balsamic Napoleon Skewers Sculpture, a choice of Hot Pink Beet Borscht with Fresh Dill or Tomato Saffron Burgundy Bisque for soup, and a choice of Sweet and Sour Meetballs with Garlic Almond Green Beans or Southern Greens and Leeks Quiche with Cranberry Lemon Sauce for the entree.

Following the meal, Shannon Kimball talked about CAA's Bridges of Respect program, as well as CAA's food giveaways and other outreach work. Sofia Huerter spoke about her passion for volunteering with the organization.

We'd like to thank those businesses and individuals who donated to the event:

And last, but certainly not least, dozens of dedicated volunteers helped the event to progress smoothly by preparing food, setting up, serving guests, taking pictures, and cleaning. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this year's banquet a huge success!

If you weren't able to attend but would still like to support CAA, you can donate online.

Volunteer at CAA’s Seventh Annual Banquet

In order to make this banquet a success, we need your help! Please see below for available volunteer positions.

This is our largest fundraising event of the year, and we need plenty of volunteers. Below are the listed volunteer positions we need filled. Please read through and determine which position(s) you would like to and are able to help with.


3:00 – 5:00 5 people

Setup volunteers will assist the Auction Coordinator to set up the silent auction area, set the banquet tables, and help decorate the banquet space.

Registration Table

5:00 – 7:0 1 person

We need one volunteer to assist the Registration Leader with checking in volunteers and direct them to appropriate stations as well as registering attendees. Must dress semi-formally.

Food Preparation & Receiption Food/Drink Staff

5:00 – 7:00 5 people

These volunteers will work with Food Prep Leader to prepare food trays for the reception and make sure that food and beverages are ready and available for Reception Servers during the course of the reception. They will also do some food prep for the banquet itself. Some of these volunteers will need to dress semi-formally.

Banquet Servers

5:00 – 9:30 18 people

The servers will serve food and drink to guests. Must wear a white or black shirt with a collar and black pants or skirt.

Kitchen Clean-Up

7:30 – 11:00 6 people

These volunteers will work with the Kitchen Clean-up Leader to clean dishes from the reception and main banquet and make sure that clean dishes are organized packed for return to the CAA office.

Room Clean-Up

9:30 – 11:00 4 people

These volunteers will work with the Room Clean-up Leader to ensure that banquet tables and rooms are clean and decorations and supplies are organized and packed in cars for return to CAA office. May assist with kitchen clean-up as well.

Please Volunteer!

Food will be provided for volunteers, and there may also be leftovers, so all volunteers staying until 9 pm can bring a container for food if you would like to take some home. Please respond indicating what position(s) you can help out with. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Nina Shimmin at or 763-807-4811.

Please invite your parents, co-workers, or friends to the banquet. We are looking for more donors and attendees. Please direct them to the main banquet page.

Thanks in advance for your help and we look forward to hearing back from you and seeing you at the banquet.

Mercy For Animals’ Meat Video

Narrated by Oscar-nominee James Cromwell, this powerful 12-minute film takes you on an eye-opening exploration behind the closed doors of the nation's largest industrial poultry, pig, dairy and fish farms, hatcheries, and slaughter plants – revealing the often-unseen journey that animals make from Farm to Fridge.

Using arresting images covertly recorded on hidden camera, this provocative film puts into focus the harsh reality faced by farmed animals – creatures granted no federal protection from abuse during their lives on factory farms.

Challenging society's views and treatment of "food animals," Farm to Fridge elevates our moral and ethical discussion about where our food comes from, how it is produced, and who is left to pay the ultimate price for cheap meat, dairy and eggs.

This film is guaranteed to change the way you look at the power, and consequences, of your food choices.

You can watch this life-changing film for free online at MeatVideo. After viewing Farm to Fridge, we encourage you to share it with your friends on Facebook, order a free copy to screen in your community, and request a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

We hope you find MFA's new film informative, motivational, and moving. Together we can protect farmed animals from abuse, and inspire others to explore cruelty-free food choices.

*Please note that this film contains graphic and violent images*

Take Oprah’s Vegan Challenge!

Vegetarian Starter Kits

The vegan communitywas all abuzz last week when Oprah Winfrey and over 300 of herstaffers went vegan for a week. Oprah's vegan episode hit aired onTuesday, February 1st. Oprah welcomed guests MichaelPollan (author) and Kathy Freston (vegan author) to answer questionscentered around the food industry and growing movement to go vegan.At one point, viewers were led on a tour through a Cargill-run cattlefactory farm. Viewers witnessed just about everything, except for theexecution; at which point correspondent Lisa Ling was brought totears.

There was a widevariety of responses from the staffers who took the challenge. Somelost weight and felt great; others experienced "junk foodwithdrawal," and felt irritable. While personal experiencesdiffered from one to another, everyone seemed to be in agreement withone thing: the importance of having a closer relationship with theirfood. Oprah even commented that this lifestyle choice was not onewhich she would ever fully adopt, stating, "You have to decidewhat's right for you and for your family. Half the battle is justbeing aware of where your food comes from and how it makes you feel.As Kathy says, just leaning into better eating can make a majordifference in all areas of your life."

CAA encourages youto take your own week-long vegan challenge. For recipe ideas, check outour recipe page and other sites such as VegWeb.If you plan on going out for a bite during your challenge week, checkout VegGuide for localveg-friendly restaurants in your area. Attend CAA events for supportand encouragement, including our Valentine's Cooking Class (Thrs. 10th), Valentine's Potluck (Sat. 12th), or our Vegan After Dark at Hard Times (Sat. 19th).

After completingyour challenge, we would love to hear your story. Select stories willbe featured in our newsletter at the beginning of March. Celebrate your challenge with CAA at our 2nd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off on February 26th!

TLOV 2011 Announcement

We wanted to let people know that CAA is not organizing Their Lives, Our Voices conference in 2011.

We first hosted TLOV in 2008. It was a great event, and we were thrilled at the response from the community. Over the past three years, we've attracted activists from around the country, and hosted great speakers such as Gene Baur, Nathan Runkle, Zoe Weil, and Carol Adams. We've gotten lots of great feedback from attendees, and we hope that TLOV has inspired people to go back to their communities and advocate on behalf of animals.

However, this year, we've seen a shift in interest and priorities from the volunteers responsible for organizing our programs. Our volunteers have expressed less interest in organizing TLOV, instead choosing to focus on other programs.

We're not ruling out the possibility of hosting TLOV again in the future. If you'd like to help make TLOV happen in 2012, please consider volunteering. Of course, we have many other volunteer opportunities as well. There are many ways you can help animals. If you can't make time to volunteer, please consider making a donation.

If you're interested in attending an animal rights conference in 2011, we encourage you to check out Taking Action for Animals or AR 2011.

Thanks again to all of the TLOV attendees, speakers, and sponsors from the past three years.

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Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 14, 2023

UMN Student Group Vegan Food Giveaway

Monday, April 17, 2023 - Monday, April 24, 2023

Cooking Class: Vegetable Irish Stew with Tamuno Imbu

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Vegan Recipe Club (Zoom)