April 2006
 

NORTHWEST VEG

We educate and empower people to make vegetarian choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.

www.nwveg.org

Check out upcoming events, including our April 16 potluck

VegFest Attracts 1,000 to Enjoy Vegan Food Sample, Speakers and Chefs
By Charley Korns, President, Northwest VEG

Northwest VEG organized its biggest event yet, the Second Annual VegFest: A Compassionate Living Fair, held on March 18 at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland. Approximately 1,000 people came to check out samples of more than 40 vegan foods, listen to speakers, observe chef demonstrations, and meet various local nonprofits with missions relevant to the themes of vegetarian choices and/or compassion. More than 70 individuals or families signed up to join Northwest VEG, boosting our overall membership past 220.


Hundredes of VegFest attendees grazed in Fuller Hall, sampling dozens of vegan foods. (photo by Erin Floresca)

More photos >>>

Many people came, at least in part, to see one or more of the excellent speakers, Howard Lyman, George Eisman, Bo Rinaldi, and Kendra Kimbirauskas. More about the speakers >>> Fest-goers also were drawn like humans to chocolate (literally, in the case of one demonstration) to see chef demos by Chef Al Chase, Pete Prasarttongosoth, Julie Hasson, David Lee, and Stuart Reiter. More about the chefs >>>

Event sponsors supported VegFest either financially or with in-kind contributions. Their generosity inspired the planning committee and made concrete elements possible, such as effective advertising, incentives to join Northwest VEG, and the outstanding facility. A huge thanks to Blossoming Lotus/Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, In Defense of Animals Northwest, Natural Awakenings Magazine, VegNews Magazine, and the Community for Earth Group of the First Unitarian Church.

Northwest VEG is also grateful for additional support from donors LäraBar, Satya Magazine, Pioneer Organics, ReDirect Guide, and Herbivore Magazine. We encourage our members and friends to patronize these wonderful businesses.

The main draw of the day for many was the vegan food samples. Company representatives and volunteers dispensed samples of everything from doughnuts to soup to fresh fruit to nut butters. More about the food companies >>>

Northwest VEG is excited about a organizing a Third Annual VegFest in 2007. Future communications will include details as they emerge. If you would like to be contacted to help plan the event, please email volunteer@nwveg.org.


Farewell to Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, Activists and Vegetarians

Rosa Parks is one of the most legendary figures of the Civil Rights Movement. While her courage and integrity entered the world stage in December 1955, social justice was a constant thread throughout her life. Parks, whose act of civil disobedience inspired the modern civil rights movement, died last October at age 92. In her 80s she became a vegetarian, proving that we’re never too old to take a stand.

Another civil rights champion, Coretta Scott King, died on January 31 at age 78. An activist long before she met her husband, she embraced a vegan diet in 1995 due to the influence of her son, Dexter Scott King, 45. Coretta believed that promoting animal rights was the next "logical extension" of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence.

 

Volunteer Corner
By Maggie Raczek, Volunteer Coordinator, Northwest VEG

THANKS VEGFEST VOLUNTEERS! The event was a great success, largely due to wonderful volunteers. All 120 were cheerful, hard-working, and enthusiastic. A special thanks to those who were flexible and filled in the gaps. I hope to see you all again at Veg Fest 2007!

If you have been bitten by the volunteer bug and want to take a larger role in our organization, please contact Maggie Raczek at volunteer@nwveg.org or call (503) 493-2358.

Special Earth Day Potluck to Feature Local, Seasonal and Organic Dishes

Think globally — eat locally! What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with food? Celebrate the earth and honor the role food plays in our lives. Join us on Saturday, April 22, at 6:00 pm, at Cascadia Commons (SW 94th Avenue) for an Earth Day potluck.
How and what we eat affects our health and the health of our planet, so this potluck emphasizes local/regional, organic food. Each person should bring a vegetarian (preferably vegan) dish that serves at least 8-10 and a copy of the recipe (bring more copies of the recipe, if you want to share). If you can, bring foods that are local/regional, seasonal and organic. We'll play earth games (how well do you know your bioregion?!), talk and share, and eat yummy food. Drinks will be provided. There will be door prizes, too. For more information, and/or to RSVP - (REQUIRED - space limited), contact Marsha at: marsha@nwveg.org or (503) 296-0640.


Don't Miss City Repair Earth Day Celebration of Localization on April 22

Northwest VEG will be staffing an information table (10 am - 5 pm) at this spectacular event to draw attention to the environmental consequences of a diet dependent on meat and fish. The City Repair Project has built this event to premiere over 75 local organizations and businesses that table and demonstrate social and environmental sustainability in their own unique way to 4,000+ participants. Along with organizations & vendors at the celebration, there will be a farmer’s market, alternative transportation fair, natural building demonstrations, a fruit and nut tree giveaway, music, dance, a kid’s art village, service projects in the morning from 9am to 1pm at Oaks Bottom (adjacent to Sellwood Park), a labyrinth, & the T-palas all in a site design that encourages participants to engage with each other in a spirit of cooperation. Location: Sellwood Park, SE Seventh Ave and SE Miller St., Portland. For info about the Celebration, visit www.cityrepair.org/wiki.php/projects/earthday.

Northwest VEG Website Bulletin Board Bites the Dust

An electronic bulletin board that graced www.nwveg.org for the past year has been removed because of unrelenting attacks by spammers and, at the same time, very little legitimate activity. If anyone would like to volunteer to set up a new interactive system using a tool other than phpBB — or assist in fortifying the stricken system — please contact Charley Korns, charley@nwveg.org.


Slaughter of Seal Pups Under Way in Canada; Take Action to End It

Canada’s annual seal hunt is in progress, and hunters will kill thousands of harp seal pups this month. Regulations require the hunters to quickly kill the seals with a pick or bullet to the brain, although there have been reports of seals being skinned alive. The pups also must be over 2-3 weeks old and have shed their white downy fur before being killed. The hunters prefer to use spiked clubs called hakapiks to crush the seals' skulls, rather than possibly damage the pelts with bullet holes. And we call ourselves an advanced civilization?

Actress Pamela Anderson, a Canadian, has spoken out against the slaughter and has asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who turned down a similar request by French film legend Brigitte Bardot. Other celebrities opposing the slaughter are Paul McCartney, his wife Heather Mills, and singer Morrissey.
For more information and to take a quick, automated action, visit the Humane Society of the United States’ website: www.hsus.org/protect_seals.html.

Join Blossoming Lotus Owner Bo Rinaldi for Lunch and Lecture

Bo Rinaldi, a featured speaker at the March 18 VegFest, will speak on April 15 at New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland and serve a light lunch of samplings from his cookbook and from his vegan restaurant, Blossoming Lotus. The event will take place from 12 pm to 2 pm at the bookshop, 1338 NW 23rd Ave. The cost to attend is $20, and registration is required: (503) 224-4929.

Bo will discuss conscious and wise food choices we can make to heal our own and our loved ones’ bodies. He will also delve deeper into the matters presented in his VegFest talk, “Ancient Foods, Super Foods, and the Future of Food.” Bo is the co-author of the award-winning Vegan World Fusion Cuisine. Blossoming Lotus, a sponsor of VegFest, is open from 7:30 am to 7 pm daily at 925 NW Davis St.


Vege Thai Cart Opens in April

Vege Thai, which became Portland's only vegetarian Thai restaurant when it opened a couple of years ago, is opening a food cart this month on SW 9th Ave. near Alder St. in downtown Portland. The cart will feature a limited version of the main restaurant's menu and open on weekdays from 10:30 am to 2 pm.

The owner, Pete Prasarttongosoth, presented a chef demo on mango dishes at the Portland VegFest in March. The main restaurant is located at 3274 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Northwest VEG members receive a 10% discount.

 

Website Makes It Easy to Decipher Mysterious Food Labels
By Joel Simon, Contributing Writer

Attempting to decipher a food label can often be a challenging task for a vegan, especially when it contains unfamiliar ingredients. Often I find myself consulting the Internet for the answers to questions like, “Is Acesulfame-K vegan?...can I chew my Orbit gum?” (Excluding the “natural and artificial flavors,” Orbit checks out...chew away). After a few searches on Google.com I stumbled upon http://vegan-info.com/additives.html, a simple and extensive guide containing virtually every ingredient one could encounter. The easy navigation contains a self-explanatory key. An ingredient is vegan if it has a green check by it; it is not vegan if it has a red ‘x.’ It’s not entirely clear cut, however. A mix of red and green and a check and a ‘x’ indicate that an ingredient may or may not be vegan.

This attractive web page is also noticeably free from annoying blinking advertisements. It contains a link to alert the host if there is an error in the text that needs to be revised, and the site also invites visitors to add to the list. I find it hard to believe an additive ingredient might be omitted from this page, as it contains oddities like butylated hydroxyanisole (yum?) and norbixin — both vegan, in case you were wondering. I found http://vegan-info.com/additives.html to be very helpful and convenient, and I will refer to it whenever I come across a confusing food label.


More Efficient than a Hybrid

Researchers at the University of Chicago recently concluded that switching to a vegan diet would reduce environmental degradation caused by carbon dioxide production. While many of us already have made that connection, the researchers also concluded that the reduction in carbon dioxide production would be greater than switching from an average-sized car to a hybrid. It’s just one more reason to take the leap. After all, how many people can say their eating habits are more efficient than a hybrid?

Building a Resource to Support Aspiring Vegetarians Who Live with Meat Eaters
By Michael Labhard, Contributing Writer

Our families can be our most valuable asset and they can also be our greatest obstacle. This is especially true when one member of a household wishes to become vegetarian and another does not. Family resistance to vegetarianism can be so severe that it completely discourages the would-be vegetarian from his or her path. There is very little written about this frustrating situation, and those who must face it seem to have few resources to call upon to deal with it. We, as vegetarians, need to do more to assist those struggling through these difficulties.

In that spirit, we are beginning an initiative to assemble a repository of knowledge and resources to address this problem of colliding values at home. If there were effective solutions for such disagreements, it would make it possible for many more people to embrace a vegetarian diet, and we think anyone with the desire should be fulfilled in that desire.

To achieve this goal of finding effective solutions we are asking for your help. We are looking for stories of both success and frustration. If you live in, or know of, a household in which some members are vegetarian and some are not, please give us your story about how that household functions. Also, if you know of someone who has been frustrated in his or her desire to become vegetarian because of a lack of support at home, please describe that situation, too. Leave out or change the real names and any other identifying information; we don't need to know who they are, just what their situation has been. We think that from our combined experience we will be able to distill a range of effective strategies that will allow many more closet vegetarians to come out into the sunshine and live up to their highest aspirations. Please send your stories to me at the following address: vegstories.20.mlabhard@spamgourmet.com.

Now is the Time to Encourage Whole Foods Market to Drop Live Crustaceans Sales

Whole Foods Market is considering discontinuing the sale of live marine crustaceans in its stores and has set a deadline of June 15, 2006, to implement more compassionate standards in this respect: Whole Foods Market will discontinue the sale of the live marine crustaceans if higher humane treatment standards have not been set by that date.

"Given all the work we have done regarding animal welfare in our natural meat and animal compassionate standards, we decided the sale of live lobsters within our stores and also their procurement conditions were appropriate to question," said John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods Market, in a statement.

"We are viewing the lobster as a live creature rather than a commodity that deserves no concern," added Mackey, who became vegetarian in the last few years. "Just because we sell lobsters and have customers who will buy them is not a compelling argument to maintain status quo."

With Portland being home to one store and the Northwest home to a total of three, please let Whole Foods Market know that here in the Northwest we believe crustaceans deserve compassion, too.

The company feedback form can be accessed here: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/contact/index.html

Portland Store
1210 NW Couch Street
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 525-4343

Pacific Northwest Regional Office
888 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 462-1400

National Office
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703-4677
(512) 477-4455

Packing Material Needed by Food Fight Grocery

Food Fight, Portland’s only vegan grocery, operates both a retail location and a web-based store. To fill web orders, they need to pack the items in boxes. Owners Chad and Emiko always welcome donations of appropriate materials such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

Chad reports that the latest and hottest item is Soy Whip — vegan whipped cream in a can. They also have a limited batch of Easter chocolates. For these treats and more, stop by Food Fight at 4179 SW Division St. or visit www.foodfightgrocery.com. Call (503) 233-3910 for more information.

Northwest VEG Members to Open Veg-Friendly Restaurant on May 1

Northwest VEG members and potluck regulars Dennis and Phan Mai are close to opening their very veg-friendly Kinta Restaurant at 3450 SE Belmont St. in Portland. Their mission is to promote and cultivate the habit of eating vegetables to omnivores. The Mai’s research indicated that most restaurants are adopting vegetarian options but those options are always regarded as the "side dishes" and they are never presented as the main entrees. Kinta will show the community that vegetables are rightfully the main course and meats the "side dishes" or "optional items.”

“We believe that our actions will bring more people to see vegetables as required items in all restaurant menus,” said Dennis. “We also believe that once people love vegetables even though they are not vegetarians or vegans, they will want to have more vegetables everyday. We hope to see a community that is a lot more healthier and happier, more caring toward animals, not incapacitated by high medical insurance cost and not depending on prescription drugs.”

Kinta is set to open on May 1. For more information, contact dennismai@yahoo.com, call (503) 473-2598, or visit www.kintarestaurant.com. The website includes the menu and photos of some of the extraordinary dishes.


Meatout Coupon Should Not Have Included Veal-Serving Restaurant

A coupon distributed by Northwest VEG in March to celebrate the Great American Meatout was redeemable at participating restaurants for a 20% discount on a meatless entrée. At the time of recruiting the restaurants, board members and other volunteers were deeply involved in preparations for the March 18 VegFest. Consequently, no one noticed that one of the restaurants, La Terrazza, serves veal. While serving all types of meat does not sit well with the Northwest VEG board, the production of veal (calves) is especially cruel and would normally disqualify a restaurant from receiving any kind of promotion. We regret this error. For more information about veal production, visit www.factoryfarming.com/veal.htm.


Hollywood Farmers Market Seeks Volunteers for 2006 Market Season

The Hollywood Farmers Market will be celebrating its 10th season starting May 6, 2006, and will be open every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm until October 28. The market, located at NE Hancock between 44th & 45th avenues, offers fresh produce, flowers, and prepared foods from local farmers in the area. Come and enjoy live music, entertainment for children, and various special events happening throughout the season. The market is made possible with the help of volunteers and many opportunities are available for all ages; groups and families are welcome. Please contact the Community Volunteer Coordinator, Caryn Servis (a Northwest VEG volunteer) to sign up for a shift and join in a great community activity.

For more information, visit www.hollywoodfarmersmarket.org or contact Caryn at volunteer@hollywoodfarmersmarket.org or (503) 803-7279. To learn about all the Portland-area farmers’ markets, see www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org/directory.html#Portland%20Metro.

The Northwest VEG E-Bits is published via email around the first of every even-numbered month. If you would like to contribute to E-bits, or if you have any feedback, please contact Nicole Bowmer, Editor, at nicker_bits@yahoo.com.