June 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 Northwest VEG & community events

A Time of Reflection and Transition
By Charley Korns, President, Northwest VEG

Another fiscal year is winding down for Northwest VEG, which started in the fall of 2003 after a small group decided to make it happen. Motivated by compassion for animals, love for the earth, and concern for the human health, we crafted our mission and determined our name. Most of us had been serving on the board of a national organization with similar goals, but a series of disappointments and disillusionments led us to agree that it was time to split and establish our independence.
Approaching our 3-year anniversary, it’s exciting to know that Northwest VEG has reached thousands in the Portland-Vancouver area through potlucks, dine-outs, information tables, our newsletter, website, speaker events, films, and VegFest. It has been a pleasure to work with many volunteers who share my values related to the mission of the organization. In particular, I have been inspired by the ongoing commitment of Don and Carol Merrick, Linda Sant’Angelo, Maggie Raczek, Marsha Rakestraw, Jill Schatz, and Peter Spendelow, all of whom serve on the board of directors. I’ve also enjoyed working with Tammy Russell and Nicole Bowmer, who keep our newsletters going. Patrick and Erin Floresca of Natural Awakenings Magazine have been generous in contributing design services and ad space. Becky Moody continues to help ensure the timely release of several emails each month. Other volunteers we’ve come to count on include Cindy Koczy, Connie Holz, Chuck Schietinger, Sandy Camley, David Langton, Ardis Karr-Robak, Margot Jordan, and Michael Labhard. Thank you!

I have enjoyed helping to create a useful website and to publish the newsletter. Just this spring I designed a veg dining and shopping guide that is helping residents and visitors easily locate vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly restaurants and markets. My many opportunities to staff our information table have put me in touch with the general public, who it seems have at least some interest in the issues addressed by our many educational materials. It’s been invigorating to connect with local businesses and organizations that have shown their support of Northwest VEG through generous gestures including donations of product, time and money.

Beginning in the new fiscal year, staring in July, I’ll no longer be serving on the board but will remain involved in Northwest VEG activities, especially in the communications arena. I will continue to manage the website and help to publish the newsletter. I will consider leading or helping with special projects from time to time, such as a Walk for Farm Animals this coming fall. I’m confident that the current Northwest VEG board, supported by other reliable volunteers, will continue to keep the organization strong and influential in the community. We are making progress, as more and more choose to eat fewer or no animal products. That means less suffering for animals, a lighter impact on the environment, and better health for all.


Dine Out Review of Bay Leaf Restuarant
by Ardis Karr-Robak, Dine-out Coordinator

Our May dine out was at Bay Leaf, a new Asian vegetarian restaurant in SE Portland. Our 25-member group was accommodated very well, in the smallest of three dining rooms. The staff was friendly, prompt and accurate. Three menus are available, tea, lunch and dinner, and daily specials are offered. Dishes are prepared with care, with elegant presentations based on the Chinese Yin and Yang principle.

Noteworthy appetizers include hot and sour soup, pumpkin bisque, lettuce wraps and seaweed salad. Entrees are innovative and traditional, including satay lion's mane mushrooms, lotus root, green curry, pad thai and fried rice. Portions are large with subtle and delicious flavors. Some dishes can be made spicy for bolder tastes. Asking for desserts not listed on the menu rewarded us with an incredible vegan key-lime cheesecake (made by Sweetpea Baking Company). The experience is well worth the average $9.00 dinner entree. Bay Leaf is located at 4768 SE Division St. You can try their delicious offerings Monday - Saturday from 11 am – 10 pm, and on Sunday from noon – 9:30 pm.

 

“Organic” Milk from Factory Farms?

The "organic" label on dairy products does not necessarily mean continuous access to open air and fields for farmed animals. Two corporations, Horizon Organic (a subsidiary of Dean Foods) and Aurora Organic, control up to 65% of the organic dairy market. Unfortunately, these two corporations also purchase a majority of their milk from dairies where the cows have little or no access to pasture.

The good news is that up until June 12 the USDA is seeking public comments to their revised National Organic Program. One section of these revisions directly addresses labeling dairy products as “organic” when the factory farms where these animals are raised are anything but animal friendly. For more information, visit:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/nosb2.htm.

Celebrate July 4th with Meatless Potluck Picnic and Lawn Games

A Northwest VEG picnic will celebrate the spirit of independence on Tuesday, July 4th, without any meat. We'll meet at Raleigh Park, 3500 SW 78th Ave., between the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway (bus 54) and Canyon Road (bus 58). Map

Bring your favorite vegan (no eggs, dairy products or other animal-derived ingredients) or vegetarian (no meat, fish) dish, enough to share for 4 people for every member in your party — and we'll supply drinks. Please bring a card listing the ingredients of your dish and plates and utensils for your use. Get ready for croquet and bocce ball. Bring other lawn games!

We have reserved a number of picnic tables, but you may want to bring lawn chairs or blankets. A swimming pool at the park is available for a fee of a few dollars. In the event of inclement weather, the potluck will be held at West Hills Unitarian Fellowship, 8470 SW Oleson Rd., Portland. To confirm whether it has been changed to the fellowship, please check (503) 224-7380 after 9 am on July 4th for any update.


Volunteers needed for the July 4th Picnic!
By Maggie Raczek, Volunteer Coordinator, Northwest VEG

Volunteers are needed to help set up on July 4th from 11 am – noon, greet people during the event, or clean up from 5 – 6 pm.

If helping others learn more about the advantages of a vegetarian diet is your passion, consider volunteering as an outreach coordinator or committee member. For all of these opportunities, please contact Maggie at volunteer@nwveg.org or (503) 493-2358.

June 18 Potluck to Feature Review of Northwest VEG Successes and Election of Board Members

Join Northwest VEG at the West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 8470 SW Oleson Road, starting at 5:00 pm. Please bring a vegan or vegetarian main dish, salad or dessert, a card listing its ingredients, and plates and utensils for your use. If you come by yourself, figure the amount to serve 4-6; increase the amount 4 servings for each additional person in your party/family. A donation of $2 – $5 is suggested to help cover the cost of the venue rental. For more information call (503) 224-7380 or email info@nwveg.org. After the meal a meeting will be called to deliberate on and conclude voting on the election of board members.

In accordance with Northwest VEG bylaws, section 4.4, an annual membership meeting is to be held at least once per year. June is the preferred month because it concludes our fiscal year and allows the final tally on the election of directors. At the time of this publication, the current board of directors has accepted the nomination of three directors for a 2-year term that starts July 1, 2006. The three include: Don Merrick, a current director whose term expires but he has accepted to be a nominee for another term; Carol Merrick, a current director whose term expires but he has accepted to be a nominee for another term; and Cindy Koczy, a longtime volunteer and frequent board meeting visitor who is eager to increase her volunteer commitment to Northwest VEG. It is possible that other candidates will be included on the ballot. In addition, a small group brainstorming game after the election meeting will help to generate new ideas and interests.

PLEASE NOTE: MEMBERS WILL RECEIVE BALLOTS IN EARLY JUNE WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON VOTING.

July Potluck to Feature Presentation on Genetically Engineered Foods

Join us on July 16 at the Multnomah Friends Meeting Hall, 4312 SE Stark St. in Portland for our monthly vegetarian potluck. Following the potluck, which starts at 5:00 pm, representatives from the local nonprofit Northwest RAGE will present updates on genetically engineered and genetically modified foods — and their efforts to resist their spread. Please bring a vegan (no animal-derived ingredients) or vegetarian (no meat or seafood) main dish, salad or dessert, a card listing its ingredients, and plates and utensils for your use. If you come by yourself, figure the amount to serve 4-6; increase the amount 4 servings for each additional person in your party/family. A donation of $2 – $5 is suggested to help cover the cost of the venue rental. If you can volunteer to help at the potluck, contact Maggie: volunteer@nwveg.org.


Let Elle Magazine Know You Won’t Buy Fur

Elle is currently conducting a survey to assess perceptions of and demand for fur. While the survey is geared to help Elle hone its marketing of fur, it also creates an opportunity to convey opposition to fur, including the option to state that fur is “morally wrong.” Click here to complete this short survey.

 

Vegan Soft Serve Hits the Spot at Blossoming Lotus

Blossoming Lotus Café launched a new product in May: vegan soft serve! Early flavors have included chocolate almond and pistachio mint, and the café’s creative cooks have plenty more they plan to introduce this spring and summer. Northwest VEG members receive a free 2-ounce serving with any purchase.

In addition to soft serve, Blossoming Lotus serves up a variety of delicious organic vegan fare, including raw pizza, soups, rice bowls, scrambles, sandwiches, elixirs, smoothies, cookies, brownies, parfaits and coffee. Hours are 7:30 am to 7 pm, every day. Visit them at 925 NW Davis St. in Portland’s Pearl District, or call (503) 228-0048.

Blossoming Lotus also caters to parties ranging from a handful up to 1000. Customers can state their per-person budget, and Blossoming Lotus will propose a menu to accommodate. On June 24, they will cater the party at the end of Tour d’Organics, a bicycle ride celebrating local, organic food and farms. Registration is open for this event, organized by Organic Athlete. Visit www.tourdorganics.com for more information.

Corporate Moves on Organic Market Raise Question of Who Owns Whom
By Charley Korns, President, Northwest VEG

The April 2006 issue of Satya Magazine ran a number of articles addressing organic and locally grown foods and why our food choices matter. In addition to the superb articles in that issue, there have been numerous news stories in recent months concerning the deteriorating quality and suspect sources of organic foods as more large companies such as Wal-Mart, Safeway and Alberstons move into this burgeoning market.

As quoted in The Oregonian (5/31/06), "I don't think (consumers) have any idea just how industrialized it's becoming," said Michael Pollan, a journalism professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. "There are some real downsides to organic farming scaling up to this extent."

Pollan and others worry that the expansion of "Big Organic" will lower food quality, weaken standards and hurt small family farms, reported The Oregonian. As organic goes mainstream, critics say, the movement loses touch with its roots as an eco-friendly system that offers a direct connection between consumers and the land where their food is grown.

As much as possible, buying organic food from farmers or co-ops is the most sustainable choice and involves a lighter environmental impact, compared to food that has traveled hundreds or thousands of miles. When shopping for organic and vegetarian products from large companies, it’s helpful to know who owns whom. From Satya:

Morningstar Farms and Kashi are owned by Kellogg’s. Lightlife is owned by ConAgra. Odwalla is owned by Minute Maid, whose principal stockholder is Coca-Cola. Seeds of Change is owned by M&M Mars. Balance Bar and Boca Burger are owned by Kraft Foods/Phillip Morris. Mothers and Near East are owned by Quaker Oats, who principal stockholder is Pepsico.

Santa Cruz, After the Fall, and Knudsen are owned by J.M. Smucker, which is significantly owned by Pepsico. Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive. White Wave Silk Soy Milk and Horizon Dairy are owned by Dean Foods, which is significantly owned by Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, Wal-mart and major corporations.

For more information, including a fascinating Organic Industry Structure diagram and comments by Paul Hawken on Whole Foods and New Seasons Market, click here.

Northwest VEG Website Forum Is Open for Postings

An electronic bulletin board was recently launched on our website. Forums include Friendship, Food & Recipes, Nutrition & Health, Rants & Raves, Personals, Free Stuff, Rides & Carpooling, and Housing. It's easy to sign up as a user and start posting. Check it out at http://nwveg.org/PunBB.

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.