Compassionate Times: What’s New at Twin Cities Veg Fest!

Our fifth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest is coming up in just a few weeks, and we hope you’re planning on joining us for this fun-filled celebration of compassion.

This year, you’ve got two days for you to choose from: Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30. Each day from 11am to 4pm, we fill Coffman Memorial Union with a variety of exhibitors and food vendors and a different line-up of speaker presentations and cooking demos, all showing how fun and fulfilling it is to embrace a compassionate lifestyle. You might just want to come both days to catch it all!

Even if you’ve been to the festival in previous years, you’ll find a lot that you haven’t experienced there before. Here are just some of this year’s festival presenters that are altogether new or packaged in exciting new ways this time around:

  • Our local vegan superstar, The Herbivorous Butcher, returns, but this year, in addition to sharing their meat-free meats, they’ll wow us with a cooking demo. Don’t you want to know how Kale and Aubry Walch make their vegan food so good? That’ll be on Sunday at 1:30–not to be missed!
  • Another returning champion is our local vegan showgirl, Mistress Ginger. This year, instead of a cooking demo, she’ll be serving up a speaker presentation, sprinkled with song and dance. Catch “Compassion with a Fan Kick” on Saturday at 12:30.
  • We’ve also got vegan celebrities from out of town. Check out Mexican TV personality Marco Antonio Regil on Sunday at 11:30 and vegan chef Tess Challis on Sunday at 1:15. Marco educates and inspires, sharing about the many benefits a plant-based diet, while Tess shows you how to make that plant-based diet a reality with a cooking demo that includes Thai Red Curry Noodles.

And speaking of food, you can look forward to lots of fantastic vegan food all weekend long. That’s one of the wonderful things about Twin Cities Veg Fest: you don’t have to bother to read labels for animals ingredients because you can rest assured that it’s all vegan. Heavenly!

Of the long list of exhibitors and food vendors, here are some of the those that are new to the festival this year:

The festival is free to attend, and you’ll certainly have plenty to enjoy there without even dipping into your wallet. At the same time, we encourage you to support all the vegan vendors who are spreading a message of compassion through their businesses. In addition to the many food options, there will books, clothing, artwork, and other items available for purchase. Here are a few of the compassionate vendors that you can look forward to finding (and supporting!) at this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest:

What we’ve listed here is just the tip of the iceberg. For a complete listing of all that will be available at this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest, visit the festival website. There, you can read more about all the festival offerings and get the schedule for speaker presentations and cooking demos.

Join us on October 29 and 30 and please invite your friends and family. This celebration of compassion is for everyone!

Compassionate Times: Twin Cities Veg Living, Issue 2

We’ve just published the second issue of Twin Cities Veg Living, and we’re very excited to share it with the world.

This annual 12-page magazine is a way for us to share who we are and what we do. You’ll find that our campaigns, programs, values, and mission are represented in its contents. Along with that, the magazine is a useful resource for those moving toward a plant-based diet. It features information that’s especially relevant to those who live in the Twin Cities area, and it shows how veg-friendly our community is becoming.

If you haven’t seen the magazine yet, you can find it at our tabling events throughout the year or read it online.

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Compassionate Times: December 2015

Twin Cities Veg Fest: Past, Present, and Future

Compassionate Action for Animals recently hosted the fourth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest, and we’ve already begun planning for the next one. The festival continues to grow from year to year, and the momentum just keeps building.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is by far the biggest event that we produce, not only in terms of the thousands who attend, but also in terms of how much of our resources are devoted to making it a success. Here’s why we think it deserves all of that and more: In one day, Twin Cities Veg Fest reaches thousands of people with a message of compassion for farmed animals. Those who attend get to enjoy lots of eye-opening activities, including delicious vegan food, inspiring speaker presentations, and informative cooking demos.

A few vegan donuts from Glam Doll Donuts!
A few vegan donuts from Glam Doll Donuts!

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Compassionate Times, August 2015

Opening Hearts, Changing Minds

written by Linda Pope, CAA Volunteer at Twin Cities Pride 2015

My 13 year old son and I were among the many CAA volunteers and staff working the pay-per-view table this June at the Twin Cities Pride Festival. We offered attendees one dollar to watch a short segment of the documentary, Farm to Fridge.

It was a very successful event in that 540 attendees watched the video. One reason we were able to reach so many people was because volunteers had multiple tablets set up for viewing, and they were continuously in use.

In between viewings, we had many heartfelt conversations with viewers and other attendees who were curious or wanted to learn more about the disconnect between what happens on factory farms and industry’s heavily funded efforts to manipulate the public’s understanding of factory farming. Others were eager to share that they were vegetarian or vegan too. Some people simply thanked us for what we were doing.

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Compassionate Times: April, 2015

Twin Cities Veg Living

The CAA Magazine

Have you heard? CAA has created a glossy, full-color 12-page magazine called Twin Cities Veg Living. It includes an overview of our key programs along with both inspirational and practical information to support those making the shift to more compassionate eating. The content is specific to the Twin Cities and shows that our local community is quite veg-friendly.

If you haven’t seen the magazine yet, you can find it at our tabling events throughout the year or read it online.

We had many contributors who wrote articles, took photographs, and edited the various drafts. We also had the graphic design expertise of Nick Coughlin to give this magazine its fresh, fun look. We offer huge thanks to all of these contributors who were more than willing to offer their time and talent free of charge. Their enthusiasm shows; it’s a vibrant, colorful collection of articles that very much reflects how our movement is thriving.

Here are some highlights:

To see the complete list of contents and contributors, check out our recent blog post about the magazine.

In addition to sharing the magazine at local events throughout the year, we’ll bring it with us to Washington D.C. for the Animal Rights National Conference in July. Giving the magazine to other attendees of the conference, we’ll be able to share our local successes with the global community and get our name out there.

If you can’t wait until the next CAA event to grab a copy of the magazine, feel free to stop by the CAA Community Space at 2100 1st Avenue S in Minneapolis. Email me at to arrange a time to pick one up. Be sure to grab an extra copy to share with a friend.

By the way, our Annual Banquet is just around the corner. Join us on Saturday, May 16 and help us celebrate 17 years of CAA. Tickets for the gourmet dinner have already sold out, but there’s still room at reception starting at 7:30pm. This reception is only $10 and includes dessert, drinks, a short presentation, and a silent auction. Reserve your spot today and join us for the party!

Best wishes,

Justin Leaf

Communications & Events Coordinator

Compassionate Times: August, 2014

keynote speakers

Animal Rights National Conference 2014 Wrap-Up

Since 1981, the Animal Rights National Conference has been offering a place for animal rights activists and others interested in the welfare of animals to network and learn more about the movement. The 2014 conference took place in mid-July in Los Angeles and had a number of high-profile speakers and insightful workshops.

Compassionate Action for Animals was fortunate to have several volunteers and staff members attend the conference this year, and we wanted to catch up with them to learn more about their experiences. This year, we had some veterans and some first-timers attend the conference, and we’ll take an inside look at the experiences of both.

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Compassionate Times: April, 2014

Student Holding Soy Milk

Bridges of Respect (Bridges) is Compassionate Action for Animals’ humane education program. Bridges serves the Twin Cities and surrounding area by providing presentations on animal protection issues for classrooms and community organizations free of charge. We spoke with the Program Coordinator, Mr. Shannon Kimball, about some details of the program:

1. Tell us about how Bridges of Respect and CAA work together.

Bridges of Respect is an outreac and education program that reaches hundreds of people with a large amount of information. At the same time, we have other activities, such as leafleting, that reach thousands more with a smaller amount of information. Both are vital. I wish the general public sought out information on animal protection and veganism more often, but for the most part, we have to make a platform for our advocacy. In other words, we often create the opportunity to share our message and we do it well through a variety of community building events, food giveaways, the TC Veg Fest, and a lot more. In the schools, the administration seeks us out on a professional level, putting CAA in a position of authority. In a well-established institution of learning, the Bridges program has the undivided attention of the audience, who are in an environment where they expect to learn.

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Compassionate Times: Spring, 2014

Grace Van Susteren

Welcome to Compassionate Times, Spring 2014! We have an interview with Compassionate Action for Animals Outreach Coordinator, Grace Van Susteren.

Please consider purchasing tickets to our 10th Annual Banquet on April 3!

CAA strives to educate as many people as we can by exposing factory farming and encouraging individuals to change their diets, which in turns reduces animal suffering and death. As we embark on a new year, we wanted to take some time to reflect on some of our outreach efforts from 2013. Whom better to do that with than CAA’s Outreach Coordinator, Grace Van Susteren? We asked her a few questions about her favorite outreach initiatives from last year, and what’s in store for 2014. Continue reading

Compassionate Times: Fall, 2013

Dear friends of animals,

Did you attend Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013? It was an amazing day for Compassionate Action for Animals. Months of hard work culminated in a fun, festive day filled with great food, speakers, and music.

As the Committee Chair for the festival planning committee, I’d been looking forward to that day for many months. Planning for the festival started almost almost one year before the day of the event! We had a great team of volunteers this year, and they worked tirelessly for many months in order to make the event a success. It’s amazing how many moving parts have to come together for an event like this. At our first meeting in November of 2012, we were already brainstorming speakers to invite, planning our media outreach, and starting to plan our sponsor recruitment.

The day of the event was both exhausting and exhilirating. Right before the event, I looked out to see if there was line. There was, and it seemed to be even longer than last year’s! It’s great that some people were enthusiastic enough to queue up to be first in the doors.

Just like last year, there was an initial rush of people when we first opened the doors. It was a real thrill to see that first surge of people come through the door. Of course, that first surge doesn’t tell you how many people will come throughout the day. I was nervous because you never know how things will work out before the event happens. Did people see our advertising? Did they have something better to do that day? Would the UMN football game put people off from coming?

Last year, we had a good line at the beginning and then a fairly steady stream of people for the first few hours, but there was never any big rush of people. This year was quite different. I remember watching the growing number of people coming through the doors in astonishment (and a bit of fear). This strong flow of attendees didn’t seem to abate until 1pm or so.

We’ve prepared 1,000 swag bags for both years of the festival. This is a good way for us to count the first batch of attendees. Last year, our bags lasted until at mid-afternoon, around 2:30pm or so. This year, we ran out of bags at 12:45pm! This was an exciting milestone for us, and when that happened we knew we were well on track to beat last year’s attendance number of 1,200.

I was too busy to thoroughly tour the festival myself, but I did get a chance to try much of the food. I’d been up since 6:30am or so, so I was quite hungry when the festival started. I ran over to Seward Cafe and grabbed a delicious muffin and piece of banana bread to share with the other folks at the festival table. I hope you had a chance to try some of their baked goods. If you didn’t try them at the festival then check out their cafe on Franklin Ave. They always have a great selection of vegan dishes and desserts.

Later I shared a delicious waffle from Kitty Corner Cafe with my wife. It was covered with chocolate ganache, fruit, and nuts, and was completely decadent. With dessert out of the way, we then went on to share a platter of food from Asase Yaa. I also helped myself to a number of delicious samples. One of my favorites was the vegan caramels from Comfort Candy. I’m a sucker for vegan sweets!

Talking to the exhibitors at the event confirmed what we saw in terms of attendance. Those exhibitors who’d been there last year told me that they’d given away and sold significantly more of their products than the year before. By the end of the day, many of them had sold out!

An attendee checks out Seward Cafe's baked goodsAn event like Twin Cities Veg Fest can help animals in so many ways. First and foremost, the delicious food breaks down the misconception that vegan food requires great sacrifice. Vegan food is just as tasty and satifsying as animal products. Our speakers and exhibitors educate attendees about animal issues, how to follow a healthy vegan diet, and give them resources for changing their lives. And of course, the event highlights the vibrant, welcoming, and fun animal-friendly community in the Twin Cities

Reading our survey feedback was one of the most satisfying parts of the whole event for me. Over one third of our attendees were omnivores, which was exactly what I wanted to hear. It’s people who are still eating animal products that we need to reach. Almost every single person surveyed (98%) said they’d come back next year. One of my favorite comments was someone who said that “We never realised that vegan food could be so delicious.” It sure is!

We’re already starting to plan next year’s event. Just recently, I took a look at a potential new venue for the 2014 festival. With around 2,000 people coming this year, it’s time to find a venue that can hold 2,500 or 3,000 people comfortably!

Thank you again for your support of Compassionate Action for Animals. It’s only with your your help that we can continue to put on powerful events like Twin Cities Veg Fest.


Dave Rolsky
Twin Cities Veg Fest Committee Chair
Dave Rolsky

Compassionate Times: Summer, 2013

Dear friends of animals,

Every day, we speak out against animal suffering and needless death. A few months ago, I visited a local slaughterhouse to see first-hand how animals are killed for food. I want to be able to advocate for farmed animals with direct knowledge about how they are killed.

Along with several volunteers, the slaughterhouse I visited was just 30 miles from Minneapolis. They host tours to anybody upon request. I held back tears at the beginning, but for the most part I didn’t express the anguish that I felt at a deep level. I have seen many hours of video footage of animals being killed, and nothing I saw was new to me. Being there helped remind me that the animals we advocate for are not just abstractions, but individuals with feelings and personalities.

Unny Receives the Hinry Spira Award a the Animal Rights 2013 ConferenceIn June, I received the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist award at the Animals Rights 2013 National Conference. This award was given to two activists that have shown the commitment and have contributed significantly to advocating for animals. Receiving the award was humbling and overwhelming. I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to advocate for animals for the last 16 years, including co-founding Compassionate Action for Animals 15 years ago. But my work has only been successful because of the contributions of thousands of volunteers, supporters, coalition partners, and donors like you!

Twin Cities Veg Fest LogoPlanning for our second Twin Cities Veg Fest is well underway! We’re holding it on October 26, 2013 in Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. This year we will include a concert during the Veg Fest and we are reviving Their Lives, Our Voices as a one-day conference the day after the festival! 

Thank you again for your consistent support!

Yours for the animals,

Unny Signature

Unny Nambudiripad

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Friday, March 30, 2018

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