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Meet Our Media Outreach Coordinator

Megan Kosse

Megan Kosse is new to the Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee this year and handles our media relations. Let’s get to know her.

How did you get interested in advocating for animals?

Going vegan three years ago sparked my interest in advocating for animals. As I learned more about veganism and animals used for food, I wanted to help others interested in following a compassionate lifestyle. I started exploring volunteer opportunities and met some of the wonderful activists in the Twin Cities animal advocacy community.

What have you enjoyed most so far about being on the festival planning committee?

I’ve really enjoyed learning about all of the great things happening in the local animal advocacy community. It’s been great to see how many businesses in the area offer vegan options. As an added bonus, we have awesome vegan food at every committee meeting!

What are you most looking forward to at Twin Cities Veg Fest?

I’m really excited to see what new products and samples our exhibitors bring. The Twin Cities Veg Fest is a great way to find new companies and try out new products.

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

I’m optimistic about the animal advocacy movement because more and more people know about veganism and the issues affecting animals used for food. It seems like there are far more vegan options and products available than even just a few years ago. There are tons of companies selling products that make being vegan easy and exciting.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

Blogging about tasty food! In my spare time, I’ve been veganizing some of my family’s recipes and posting them on my blog. My grandmother has been the preeminent baker in my family for years, and I’m slowly working through her repertoire of recipes. When I’m not revamping recipes, I spend a lot of time playing with our two rescue dogs.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

One of our dogs, Whitney, was rescued from a puppy mill last July. She was scared of everything when we adopted her, rarely moved around the house on her own, and certainly didn’t play like a normal dog. In the last few months, she’s really started to open up. She’s now roaming freely around the house and initiating play with us and our other dog, Jack. I was even greeted with a tail wag! While it was sad to see how shut down she was at first, it’s been a fun experience to watch her personality blossom.

What’s your favorite vegetable?

I absolutely love sweet potato, although kale comes in as a close second. Sweet potato is the perfect vegetable any time of year: it’s great on the grill in the summer or in stews in the winter. It’s also ridiculously easy to cook, which is always a plus.

Interview With Unny Nambudiripad

Unny Nambudiripad

My name Unny Nambudiripad, and I’m the Executive Director of Compassionate Action for Animals. I’ve been interviewing the festival committee members for this blog, and I almost forgot about me. I’m also on the committee, so now it’s time to interview…myself!

I sat down with myself (as I always do, since I have no choice) and asked myself about myself.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

I’ve enjoyed the feeling that I’ve helped organize Twin Cities Veg Fest before. Of course, there’s plenty of time for everything to fall apart, but I’m confident that the committee knows how to plan this event and can handle unexpected challenges.

What are you most looking forward to at the Veg Fest?

I look forward to being completely overwhelmed talking to so many people who I care about and who care about animals. Well, I guess I don’t exactly look forward to being overwhelmed. Maybe I dread that. But I do look forward being immersed in a crowd of people who care about animals.

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

Young people! Who says the youth are lazy or apathetic? Just look at our young volunteers and supporters, and you’ll understand why I find them inspiring, motivated, and — yes, even wise.

Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is — um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?

It’s easy to blend in at this event. You don’t have to talk to people much if you don’t want to. You can sample food, attend cooking demonstrations, listen to speakers, and match the wallpaper if you want. You can still get a lot out of it even if you’re shy and not sure why you’re there.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

I enjoy playing cards. My family plays this ridiculously difficult game called 56. It takes months of learning just to be a mediocre 56 player. It’s a team game typically played three against three and involves a lot of strategy. We enjoy jostling and competing with each other.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

I’m not going to answer your question, Unny. Wait a minute — I’m Unny! I’ll make up my own question. I’ll tell you about an unpleasant experience I had with a non-human animal. I once met a very good-natured dog with a stomach problem. He farted a lot. His caretaker is an attractive woman, but when I think of her, all I can think of is her dog’s farts. Despite this, I do not advocate cruelty or even death to this dog. That’s compassion, right?

What’s your favorite vegetable?

Broccoli! It’s not as hip as kale, but it goes great in replacing green beans in this spicy peanut eggplant and shallot stew. Yum!

Meet Jackson Tyler Eddy of A Frame Forward

I’m a Twin Cities based Lifestyle Portrait & Wedding Photographer. Almost nothing makes me happier than delivering amazing images to clients that truly touch their hearts, now, and well on into the future. I’m a big believer in Gandhi’s wise words about being the change you wish to see in the world. I base all my personal and business decisions around this philosophy. I am Minnesota’s highest rated “green” photographer, operating and creating in an eco-friendly manner. You can read more about my green ways on my website.

I’m excited about being a part of this event once again as I have a strong passion about the veg lifestyle and wanted to connect with other like-minded folks in and around my community, and support the good cause in general.

Besides the fact that killing an animal makes me sad, factory farming is just out of control. It’s out of control in the sense of sheer animal cruelty and also because of the huge negative impact on our environment and surrounding ecosystems. I am excited that the awareness and knowledge about these facts are becoming more mainstream. Regular folks, filmmakers, influential leaders, and celebrities have all been embracing and endorsing our movement and I feel that the future is bright.

Having never really been a big meat eater, I have been a pure vegetarian for about 8 years now. When I do dabble with dairy and eggs, it’s from local, free range, and organic sources. I am the father to two awesome little boys who are also vegetarians, and are now 5 & 6 years old. If you have any questions about raising veg kids feel free to come see me and chat at Twin Cities Veg Fest.

I’ll have a booth to share my work, and I’ll also be holding a drawing, giving away a free family/child photo session. I absolutely love photographing and spending time with kids and their families. And to be able to work with clients that share the same personal beliefs makes it that much more special. I very much look forward to meeting a bunch of awesome like-minded individuals and families at Twin Cities Veg Fest in September.

Meet Mikael Nielsen of Mercy for Animals

Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit animal protection organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies. We do this in a number of ways, including undercover investigations into factory farms and slaughterhouses, advertising campaigns, we work with lawmakers and corporations to enact more animal friendly laws and policies, and we do a ton of grassroots outreach all over the United States and the world.

MFA works to create a society where all animals are treated with the compassion and respect they so rightfully deserve. Over 95% of the cruelty to animals in the United States occurs at the hands of the meat, dairy, and egg industries which confine, mutilate, and slaughter over 9 billion land animals each year. Despite the fact that these are the most abused animals in the United States, they actually have the fewest number of advocates. That is why it is so important that we stand up and become a voice for the most defenseless.

I was inspired to get active by one of EarthSave Chicago’s Conferences for Conscious Living in 2002. I became involved with the group, coordinating outreach events, conferences, and the Compassion On Wheels (COW) TV van. I started volunteering with MFA in January of 2006 and became one of the organization’s outreach coordinators in the spring of 2008. I was hired on as paid staff in May of 2012. Today I work as the national volunteer coordinator for Mercy For Animals, recruiting and training activists throughout the United States, assisting with the development of MFA’s effective advocacy resources, and serving as MFA’s spokesperson in the greater Chicago area. I spend most of my day communicating with activists around the country, including the amazing ones that work with Compassionate Action for Animals, making sure they have what they need to do leafleting, tabling, Paid-Per-View, restaurant outreach, and online activism. This is definitely my favorite part of the job, as I get to know so many amazing people do really important work on behalf of farmed animals. I do love getting out there and doing outreach myself, so I try and leaflet a few hours each week or put in a weekend at the MFA table for a festival.

Anyone that wants to join Team MFA should start by filling out our Get Active! form.

I have attended every Twin Cities Veg Fest so far and it’s been great to see it grow. I love that the event is so inclusive, encouraging everyone from omnivores to vegans to come have some fun and enjoy the amazing food. I am very excited to see what the third year will bring, as I am sure this will be the best one yet.

Meet Our Cooking Demo Coordinator

Chris Homsey

Chris Homsey is a wonderful addition to the Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee. She is coordinating our cooking demos, and we’re excited to work with her!

How did you get involved in planning Twin Cities Veg Fest?

I attended Veg Fest for the first time last year and had a great time trying the food samples and listening to the excellent presentations. Then one day I saw on Facebook that a committee was forming for this year’s festival, and I decided to get involved!

What have you enjoyed most so far?

Working with a very creative and talented group of people on the committee. Everyone has their own unique backgrounds and skills that they bring to the table, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work on a common goal with all of them. Plus we always have delicious food at our meetings.

What are you most looking forward to at Twin Cities Veg Fest?

The cooking demos! This is the first year that chef-instructors will be demonstrating recipes and handing out samples, so I am excited to see how it all turns out. A lot of the recipes will be appealing to those who are not necessarily vegetarian, and we welcome everyone no matter where they fall along the dietary spectrum.

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

Compared to even a few years ago, there are so many more mainstream restaurants, shops, and companies that offer food and fashion with no animal components. Vegan/vegetarianism is becoming less of a “fringe” niche, and companies realize it is in their interest to offer options to those who wish to avoid meat and its by-products.

This is the first year we’re doing cooking demos. What do you think it will add to the festival?

More opportunities to eat. 😉 Aside from that, it’s a great opportunity to show the audience that vegan food can be easy to prepare, as well as tasty. There’s no need to worry about going hungry or missing out if you decide to reduce or eliminate meat from your diet. In fact, vegan food can sometimes be pretty indulgent.

Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is, um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?

There is no reason to feel intimidated! The festival is not designed for vegetarians only. The exhibitors and organizers are a very welcoming bunch, so just come and check out whatever aspects of the festival you find interesting. There are so many experiences and activities to take in, including food samples and vendors, cooking demos, inspiring speakers, and even a kids’ area.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

I’m a bit of a tennis freak. I never really played as a child but took a lesson a few years ago, and now I’m hooked! In addition to the physical exercise, I love the mental aspects of it. When I’m not playing tennis or captaining tennis teams, I enjoy biking the trails near my house, walking with my dog Mika, and playing word games.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

One that really stands out is getting right in there with the pigs at Farm Sanctuary in Upstate New York (my husband and I spent our honeymoon there). Some of the pigs are very gregarious, and close to a thousand pounds! It can be a bit intimidating when they approach you to have their backs scratched, but they are very friendly and love attention. A common misconception is that pigs by nature are mean or dangerous, but in reality they are very gentle when treated well and given enough room to freely move about. Can you tell I really love pigs???

What’s your favorite vegetable?

I love orange starchy vegetables like winter squash and sweet potatoes. And it may be a vegan cliché, but I honestly adore kale.

Interview with Celeste Hill

Celeste Hill

Celeste Hill has been an animal activist since the 1990’s. This year, she joined our social media team and coordinates our Pinterest and Tumblr accounts. Let’s hear from her!

How did you get involved in planning the Veg Fest?

After attending the past two years, and I believe it is an excellent way to provide people with the resources to follow a compassionate vegan lifestyle. When I was at the festival, I ran into Unny, CAA’s Executive Director, and told him I was interested in helping at the next one.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

It is always fun getting to know the volunteers involved with Veg Fest. I’ve learned so much about all that goes into organizing one. Along with that, there are many new vegan-friendly vendors and restaurants I’ve discovered in the Twin Cities through the planning process. The list just keeps growing! Most importantly though, I think it will be fantastic to see the reach of the festival grow, as it has each year.

What are you most looking forward to at the Veg Fest?

Every year, what I look forward to most is the food from vendors and the samples. There are always new ones to try out! It is also inspiring to see so many people interested in veg options.

You’ve been involved in animal advocacy for many years. What makes you optimistic about the animal movement?

It is so easy to follow a vegan lifestyle these days. New businesses and options pop up so quickly it can be hard to keep up. It makes me optimistic to see the success of these new ventures, and their popularity continue to grow each year. I believe this demonstrates the message is reaching people, and they are making positive changes.

What’s the easiest way that a supporter can get the word out about the festival?

Share, share, share on social media. That includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Twin Cities Veg Fest has a presence on all of these platforms.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

I love spending time outdoors – it could be gardening, hiking, swimming, birding, camping or having a vegan cookout (which does involve devouring vegan food). When I’m not outside, I love to read, bake, volunteer, and spend time with friends and family.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

I visited the local Chicken Run Rescue. It was amazing to learn about the social lives of the birds there. Each and every chicken has their own personality and I enjoyed spending a little time getting to know them.

What’s your favorite vegetable?

It would be a challenge to choose only one. I love butternut squash, zucchini, kale, and bell peppers, all of which I have growing in my garden this year.

Interview with Dave Rolsky

Dave Rolsky

This is your third year leading the festival planning committee. It’s a lot of work! What keeps you motivated?

The festival is a lot of work, but it’s also the biggest advocacy event for farm animals in the state. On top of that, the feedback we get from attendees is incredibly positive. It’s exciting to be part of something like that.

I also enjoy seeing it go well each year. Every festival has gone quite smoothly, without any major problems. If I believed in fate, I’d be worried that I just jinxed it with that statement, but fortunately for me I’m a skeptic.

How do you think this festival fits in with the animal advocacy movement?

This festival does a lot of the things that I think are most important for the movement. First of all, it attracts a lot of people to come try tasty vegan food and learn more about animal issues. We provide a number of learning opportunities, including speakers, literature free for the taking, and our Pay-Per-View table where people are paid $1 to watch a four minute video on factory farming.

It also helps build a stronger animal-friendly community in the Twin Cities. I really think as a movement we need to spend a lot more time thinking about how we can support people after they take their first steps towards helping animals. Right now the movement spends a lot of effort on encouraging those first steps, which is obviously crucial, but if people don’t feel well supported then it’s quite likely that they’ll go back to their old habits. The festival shows people that they can be part of a fun, lively community of people who share their belief that animals deserve respect, compassion, and consideration.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

We have food at all of our committee meetings and I’ve learned that our committee members are great chefs! I, on the other hand, was lazy and bought us some pizzas when it was my turn.

What are you most looking forward to at the Veg Fest?

I’m very excited about our new cooking demos. This is something that attendees have consistently asked for. When I’ve attended other festivals I’ve seen that these demos are quite popular. These demos add another dimension of education to the festival and give us an excuse to hand out more free food samples, which is always good.

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

The overall consumption of animal products has finally started shrinking, after decades of growth. Surveys consistently show that vast majority of Americans agree that animals should not suffer, and more and more people are taking action on that belief.
I’m also optimistic just from seeing all the great volunteers who help Compassionate Action for Animals out. Recently I went with a great group of CAA and The Humane League to leaflet Warped Tour in Shakopee and we handed out over 13,000 leaflets to attendees! We also have a great group of festival planners this year. These people are willing to spend the better part of a year putting this event together without getting paid. That’s amazing!

Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is, um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?

I can see why they’d be afraid of me. I am a well known mega badass motherbleeper. But once I’d gotten them in my headlock of love, I’d tell them that the festival is a great place to meet fun people, try delicious food, and that no one will be forcing anything down their throat. We make all of the learning activities at the festival strictly opt-in.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

Are there other hobbies?

I love traveling to other cities (to devour tasty vegan food). When I’m at home (and not devouring tasty vegan food) I like reading and playing video games. I don’t have any really interesting hobbies like building robots or trapeze performance.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

When I was at the Animal Rights National Conference in July I had an opportunity to visit the Gentle Barn sanctuary in Santa Clarita. We met a lot of great animals that are often considered “useful” just for meat or wool. When I was walking around the barnyard visiting some of the goats, pigs, sheep, and turkeys, I noticed that Duchess the llama was following me around. Several times, I turned around and said hello, but she was quite shy. She sniffed my hand but wasn’t really ready to let me touch her, though she was perfectly happy to stare directly at me from about two feet away. It was like having a shy, adorable stalker.

What’s your favorite vegetable?

I’ll go with collard greens, but I like pretty much all leafy greens except iceberg lettuce.

Meet our Speaker Coordinator

At Twin Cities Veg Fest, we host several speakers who speak about animals and legislation, plant-based nutrition, animal ethics, and more. Meet our speaker coordinator, Annette Gaudreau, who recruits and schedules these wonderful advocates. We don’t have a picture of her, so if you want to see her, come to the festival!

How did you get interested in advocating for animals?

I became a vegetarian at 17 because I hated the idea of killing animals, and became vegan 2 years ago.  I’ve volunteered at animal shelters for years and joined CAA four years ago.  I wanted to raise awareness that you can eat a delicious, nutritious, fully satisfying meal without contributing to harming animals.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

Meeting so many wonderful people who also care about animals welfare.  Also, vegan chocolate candy!

What are you most looking forward to at Twin Cities Veg Fest?

That’s a toss up between the speakers who are always informative and compassionate, the food which just gets more amazing every year, and the oh so friendly people who attend.  I love handing a non-veg attendee a vegan food sample and seeing their reaction (“wow, I didn’t really know what to expect but this is really good!”).

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

The Vegan/Vegetarian movement is growing.  The cause of animal welfare is being heard at a political level unlike even 10 years ago. More people are becoming aware of the plight of farm-raised animals and even non-veg folks are starting to speak up about this injustice.

Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is, um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?  

You won’t believe how tasty vegan food can be.  It’s not all granola and raw carrots.  There is food from so many countries and so tasty you won’t even miss the meat (and you’ll say “wanna bet?” and I’ll say “just try it”).  You won’t believe the variety of vendors!  There are tons of cool and clever t-shirts for sale. Body/bath products!  Baby products!  Free food samples galore!  Everyone is truly welcoming and you won’t feel out of place at all.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

I scuba dive, ride my bike (bike trail 1/2 block from my house), ride horses (helps that family members own some), refinish furniture, reading (I upload new books to my Kindle so often I don’t think I’ll ever read all of them!), cook (I have several friends who serve as willing guinea pigs for new recipes).

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

While diving I got to hold a shark!

What’s your favorite vegetable?

One?  OK, well that’s not even a fair question!  Grilled asparagus wrapped with soy bacon, roasted tomatoes filled with quinoa, nutritional yeast and spices, eggplant and tomatoes cooked with red wine and vegan mozzarella,  broccoli and cauliflower in an alfredo sauce.  Ok, thanks,now I’m hungry.

Meet Our Volunteer Coordinator

Liz Sias

A big festival takes a lot of volunteers! Meet our fantastic volunteer coordinator, Liz Sias.

How did you get interested in advocating for animals?

I became vegan a little over two years ago. I knew some of the atrocities that occurred on factory farms, but somehow I was able to continue justifying eating meat for a long time. I finally said “enough is enough” and started by cutting meat out of my diet. It was easier than I thought it would be. As a vegetarian, I learned more and more about the dairy and egg industries, so it was only a few months later that I stopped eating those as well. I could no longer support the exploitation and enslavement of nonhuman animals — animals who breathe, think, feel pain and suffer just as we do. Humans can survive and thrive on a vegan diet, so eating animals is completely unnecessary. I remember feeling so relieved and happy that my behavior finally aligned with my values. I was voting with my dollar and no longer contributing to the system. It was around the same time that I found Compassionate Action for Animals and started volunteering by leafleting, tabling, planning the annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off and acting as volunteer coordinator for the Twin Cities Veg Fest!

What have you enjoyed most so far?

I’ve enjoyed meeting like-minded people. There are no words to describe how helpful it is, especially as a new vegan, to surround yourself with compassionate individuals who share your worldview. The people I’ve met through CAA have been some of the kindest, most passionate and committed individuals I’ve ever met.

What are you most looking forward to at Twin Cities Veg Fest?

I’ll be honest  — I always look forward the most to the food [Editor: if she’s being honest now, what was she before? Hmm…]. The free samples are definitely worth checking out. Some of my favorites are caramels by Comfort Candy and chips by Way Better Snacks. This year I’m looking forward to trying out more from the Herbivorous Butcher, a local brother-sister team who makes vegan meats.

What are some interesting ways that volunteers have have helped out at Twin Cities Veg Fest?

There are so many volunteer opportunities! One of the more popular roles is handing out food samples because volunteers get to try the tasty treats themselves. I was so amazed at the volunteers last year who took initiative and stepped into leadership roles to run some of the tables, such as Paid-Per-View. People get a dollar to watch a five-minute video about factory farming practices, then volunteers have a brief conversation about the video. It’s one of the most powerful and effective forms of activism, and very rewarding for volunteers.

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

I’ve been reading more and more about how meat and dairy consumption has been on a steady decline in the U.S. for years. Every single undercover investigation into a pig, cow, chicken or egg-laying hen facility has an impact. Vegan outreach through groups like CAA has an impact. More people are becoming aware of the mistreatment of these animals and they’re not OK with it. And more people are learning about the devastating environmental impacts of animal agriculture. Plus, practically any food imaginable has a vegan version of it these days, so making the transition is easier than ever.

Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is, um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?

I’d tell them there will be free food! And it will include things like chocolate, caramels, chocolate milk, sausages, chips and more! The festival is also a great way to meet new people and learn a lot about animal agriculture and veganism through the speakers and cooking demonstrations. And did I mention there will be free food?

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

I really enjoy rock climbing. I’ve been taking a lot of camping/climbing trips throughout the midwest this summer, which has been a lot of fun. I also do yoga and enjoy biking around Minneapolis and swimming in the lakes.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal? I visited a pig sanctuary just outside of Seattle called Pigs Peace Sanctuary. It was there I met Lucy, a beautiful (and huge!) pig who would have been slaughtered at a young age if it weren’t for the sanctuary. I learned that pigs are highly social and some of them — like Lucy — love attention. She seemed very content when I scratched her behind her ears.

What’s your favorite vegetable?

Red bell peppers. They’re sweet and crispy! Or is that technically a fruit? 😉

Interview with Their Lives, Our Voices planner

Andrew

Here’s our first interview with a Twin Cities Veg Fest committee member! Andrew is planning our conference, Their Lives, Our Voices. The conference takes place the day before the festival, and is an opportunity to activists and aspiring activists to learn new skills and meet other people who are speaking out for animals.

How did you get interested in advocating for animals?

The majority of my friends, somewhat coincidentally, are vegan, so it’s a natural extension of being politicized by like-minded people.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

About advocating for animals? It’s certainly preferable to the alternative. It’s also nice to meet people who are interested in promoting the needs and rights of animals.

What are you most looking forward to at the Veg Fest?

Lots of food!

You’re planning our conference, Their Lives, Our Voices. Tell me about the conference.

TLOV offers vegans and non-vegans opportunities to enhance their abilities as animal advocates. We’ll have speakers presenting philosophical and ethical arguments related to animal advocacy as well as speakers offering practical information on general activism to develop the hard skills needed to be effective.

Why is it important for activists to attend Their Lives, Our Voices? What will they learn?

TLOV is an excellent opportunity for those interested in advocating on behalf of animals to invest in themselves. TLOV will help activists build new skills, expand their networks, and be reinvigorated in animal activism. Whether it’s learning new strategies for communicating with non-vegans, or developing better time management skills, or learning how to build an effective campaign, TLOV offers new information for even the most experienced advocates.

What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?

Here in Minnesota, at least, tons of young people are interested in becoming effective advocates, taking that next step beyond becoming vegetarian or vegan. It’s great to see young people working hard to build the community that sustains and supports advocacy efforts.

Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is, um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?

Fooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood.

What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?

I like to read (lots of things), ride my bike, and now that it’s summer, sit on my front stoop.

What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?

[Editor: Silence. A goofy guy like Andrew hasn’t had a fun experience with animals? I guess he is goofy and mysterious.]

What’s your favorite vegetable?

Is pizza a vegetable? No? Possibly rainbow chard (it’s so pretty!) or red onions.