Twin Cities Veg Fest is the Midwest’s largest vegan festival! It’s an annual event with something for everyone including vegan food vendors, cooking demos, speakers, music, art, informational booths, and vegan product vendors.
In 2012 Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) organized the first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest, which welcomed over 1,200 attendees. The event was a huge success thanks to the many committee members, volunteers, and attendees who took part. The event is organized by a volunteer committee supported by CAA’s executive director.
The festival moved outside in 2017 to accommodate growing crowds and now takes place at Harriet Island Regional Park each September. We expect over 10,000 attendees in 2019.
In addition to fabulous food and products, many organizations such as farm sanctuaries, animal advocacy groups, and dieticians take part. These exhibitors educate the public about taking action for animals and how to follow a healthy vegan diet.
Tabling is a way of reaching out to the public on animal issues and vegetarianism. It’s also one of the best ways to attract new volunteers and supporters.
In order to educate the community about animal issues and give them a chance to learn more about what they can do to help, CAA volunteers staff tables at Twin Cities colleges and universities, civic events, volunteer fairs, and other venues. The impact tabling can have is powerful, and has been enough to convince many people to go vegetarian or vegan.
At pay-per-view events, we offer people one dollar to watch a five-minute excerpt of the documentary What Cody Saw (embedded below). If you haven’t seen this video, please take the time to watch it and then share it with your friends.
This form of outreach is a powerful way to reach people who aren’t yet familiar with the ways animals are treated on factory farms. After seeing this video, many people reconsider how they think about farmed animals and then begin to make more compassionate food choices.
We offer pay-per-view at throughout the school year at the University of Minnesota and at other community events, including the Twin Cities Pride Festival, the May Day Festival, and Twin Cities Veg Fest.
We get a variety of reactions from those who see the video. Here are a few examples:
A university student who was carrying his lunch with him when he saw the video said that seeing the video made him want to throw away his lunch.
A university student who watched the video was so moved by what she saw that she returned later with a friend so that her friend could watch too.
Someone who watched the video at one of our previous events stopped by to thank us for showing it to him. He said he’d been moving towards a vegan diet ever since he saw the video.
Volunteers for these events find it very rewarding. One volunteer reports, “I love helping with pay-per-view. It feels like the most effective way of advocating for animals.” For more information on how to run a table, see our Guide to Effective Tabling.
Distributing leaflets about factory farming and vegetarianism is one of the most effective forms of animal activism in terms of time spent, resources used, and results.
Rather than feeling pressure or judgment, recipients of leaflets can review the information on their own time and draw their own conclusions. This results in a true and sustainable change. It is not uncommon to pass out hundreds of leaflets in just one hour depending on the location. Simple calculations show that with the average American consuming about 35 birds and mammals each year (not to mention dozens of aquatic animals), a move to a vegetarian or vegan diet can save hundreds or even thousands of animals over just one person’s lifetime! This represents a serious victory.
CAA provides volunteers with free Vegan Outreach leaflets to distribute at local concerts, civic events and college campuses. Over the course of the past few years we have continued our educational outreach by directly handing out hundreds of thousands brochures on vegetarian eating, mainly to youth—the most receptive demographic—at dozens of different schools and hundreds of concerts throughout Minnesota.
We have leafleted all over the Twin Cities and beyond, including at parades and outdoor festivals such as May Day and the Warped Tour. We also regularly leaflet concerts and other events where large numbers of people gather.
CAA carefully chooses the most effective, accurate, and honest literature to raise awareness of the conditions farm animals face and ways we can help make a difference.
You can view PDF files of some of our most literature:
At a concert last month I was handed an “Even if You Like Meat” brochure. At first, I disregarded it and threw it in my backpack. That evening, when I got home, I found the brochure and sat down to take a look at it. I was so shocked by what I saw and read that I had to call my boyfriend right away to tell him about it. We both decided then that we would become vegetarians and do what we could to help get rid of the horrible practices of factory farms. Although it was a tough change, we both feel it is the right thing to do. We have been strict vegetarians since and are on our way to a completely vegan lifestyle. Now that I have been enlightened, knowing what I know, I could never go back.
On my first day at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities I received a pamphlet about the cruelty that happens to animals in the meat industry. After viewing the pictures and reading the heart-breaking stories, I am no longer going to eat meat. It has now only been 3 days, but I have been meat-free and feel great. I’m interested in helping any way I can.
I was given a brochure “Why Vegan” last Saturday when my daughter and I attended a walk for a local Humane Society, and after reading it, I was faced with no choice but to turn to a Vegan lifestyle. I simply could not do anything else. I am horrified that I was kept in the dark about this for so many years.
When I was hanging out with an old high school buddy the other night, he was telling me that his 14 year old brother was at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities the other day for some reason and received some info from “some vegan guy.” In any case, apparently after reading the information (probably a “Why Vegan?”) he has committed himself to going vegetarian. Simple things like leafleting are extremely important and do have a real effect like in this case. Even when people do not immediately go vegetarian or vegan, we are still planting seeds–they may be thinking about animal issues and their diet more often or discuss it with their friends/family after receiving literature.
Food giveaways are a mainstay of CAA’s vegetarian outreach efforts.
We think that one of the best ways to get people to consider vegetarian and vegan diets is to show them how scrumptious animal-free food can really be. Many people think that going vegan would mean they can no longer have their favorite foods, but with an enormous variety of foods – ranging from faux meats and dairy-free products to ethnic cuisine and makeovers of traditional dishes – a little sampling is all that is needed to dispel such myths.
University of MN Vegan Food Showcases
With donations from dozens of national companies and a variety of local businesses we are able to provide thousands of dollars worth of free vegan food to countless community members and University of Minnesota students each fall during our annual Vegan Food Showcase.
Students get a chance to try veggie jerkies, non-dairy chocolate, grilled “cheese” sandwiches, vegan ice cream bars, and much more. Most attendees at our food giveaways leave with information on factory farming, vegetarian diets, and how to get involved with Compassionate Action for Animals.
Some Past Food Giveaway Successes
Each year at Twin Cities Veg Fest we regularly distribute thousands of food samples in addition to the thousands more distributed by our exhibitors.
At Grand Old Day 2010 we distributed over 30,000 vegan food samples!
At our on-campus food showcases we regularly distribute 1,500+ samples to excited students.