FEBRUARY 6, 2012 9:12 PM

Leading cognitive ethologist and author to visit Calvin and Grand Valley State
I'll never forget the day I first became familiar with Jonathan Balcombe's work. It was March 16, 2010, and I was in the car listening to this interview with Jonathan on the Diane Rehm Show. I joined the interview already in progress and after a few minutes of hearing him speak, I distinctly recall being on pins and needles to learn the name of the man whom I had already decided, in just 180 seconds, was the most warm, inviting, knowledgeable and articulate animal advocate I had ever heard. After arriving at my destination, I sat in the car for a full half hour, unable to tear myself away, and then made a beeline to the nearest computer to order Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals, his newest book at the time. Since then, I have added Pleasure Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good and The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure to my collection, listened to every interview I can find, and dreamed of the day that he would bring his formidable talents to Grand Rapids. That day is February 20! And don't miss his talk on February 21st at GVSU! Book-signings follow both events!

MAY 5, 2011 9:34 AM

Put your money where your mouth is so we can start eating!
If you're as excited as I am about the massive influx of vegan cuisine, creativity, education, and excitement that the opening of Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes will bring to the world, then please do your part to kickstart Bartertown. While giving to a good cause is its own reward, in this case you needn't even be an altruist, as there are some amazing returns on your investment: from limited edition postcards, t-shirts, and aprons, to the opportunity to name menu items, to custom catered in-home dinner parties and events, to your face painted into the mural, every pledge level entitles you to a piece of Bartertown history along with the bragging rights that come with being a Bartertown Backer.

Something for everyone!
If you're feeling especially generous, there's even a box to click to pledge your support with no strings attached so that our friends can reinvest the totality of your gift in the business. And even if you can't pledge any financial support at present, you can still be an important part of the team by pledging solidarity on their Facebook page and spreading the good word to your supportive friends and family! Don't miss this opportunity to help Grand Rapids take a GIANT LEAP toward our goal of becoming the vegan capital of the midwest! Stay tuned to extraVEGANza! for exclusive sneak-peeks of mural progress, menu development, and--of course--drool-inducing photos of Bartertown fare.

MARCH 20, 2011 2:30 PM

Wake Up Weekend 2011 Poster
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words! (Again!)
With a combined event attendance of over 700 people, this year's festivities were the biggest and best ever! Have some ideas about what you'd like to see on the program in 2012? Tell us! In the meanwhile, be sure to keep up that agitation for the animals by getting involved with terrific organizations like Farm Kind, Grand Rapids for Animals, Humane Society of GVSU, Not One Sparrow, Sasha Farm, Students for Compassionate Living, and VegWestMichigan. And keep up that vegan stamina by eating your veggies at Bartertown and Brick Road Pizza! Afraid that you missed the chance to score an official, handprinted Wake Up Weekend 2011 Program and Commemorative Poster (see, respectively, below and above)? Fear not! Drop us a line at, and we'll send you one wherever you are for just $5.00 (postage included).
Get Your Programs
Introducing Carol Adams
The Sexual Politics of Meat
After Anthropomorphism
Carol and Adam
Ben DeVries
Radiator Hospital
Royl Space
Damned Dogs
Xtra Vomit

FEBRUARY 23, 2011 10:28 AM

All events are free and open to the public (excluding the optional vegan buffet at Brick Road Pizza on Saturday morning ($11.00) and the Adoption Benefit Show on Saturday evening ($6.00). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to

Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes, Brick Road Pizza, Calvin College Students for Compassionate Living, ExtraVEGANza!, Farm Kind, Humane Society of GVSU, Not One Sparrow, VegWestMichigan, and VegFund.

7:30 pm--Carol J. Adams, "The Sexual Politics of Meat"
Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Calvin College
A vegan reception and book signing follows the lecture.

Some 20 years ago, "feminist-vegetarian critical theory" was born in the groundbreaking publication of Carol J. Adams's The Sexual Politics of Meat. Adams's thesis is that meat-eating is a central symbol of the patriarchy, and that we can't dismantle harmful systems of male domination until we recognize the link between how women are objectified and (visually) consumed and how animals are objectified and (literally) consumed. Adams's powerful multi-media presentation is the result of two decades of her continued work mapping the interdisciplinary terrain opened by this provocative thesis across the fields of theology, philosophy, visual culture, literary theory, psychology, eco-feminism, and social work in domestic violence education and prevention.

3:00 pm--Nathan Runkle, "Inspiring Compassion"
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

Join the Founder and Executive Director of Mercy For Animals--one of the nation's most influential animal advocacy organizations--for a workshop on how our current food system affects the interests of our fellow non-human creatures, and how our food choices can become powerful tools for cultivating the virtues of compassion, mercy, and good stewardship.

5:00 pm--"Compassionate Comestibles" Vegan Potluck**
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College
Hosted by Students for Compassionate Living

At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum, Post Punk Kitchen, and ChooseVeg never disappoint.

**Please help us to reduce our ecological footprint by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.

7:30 pm--Carol J. Adams, Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series***
Fourth Annual Address: "Anthropomorphism: The Christian Double Standard"
Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Calvin College
A vegan reception and book signing follows the lecture.

Anthropomorphism, roughly speaking, is the ascription of human-like traits to non-human beings. How does anthropomorphism figure into human attitudes and actions toward God, animals, and even other human beings? What are the potential risks and rewards of anthropomorphizing others and what recourse do Christians have upon acknowledging these prospects for re-imagining and deepening their relationships with God, human beings, and other animals? Come follow Carol J. Adams on a trailblazing journey through these and other fascinating related questions in a brand new presentation commissioned especially for this event!

***The Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series is an independent event established by a friend of Calvin College and supported this year by additional help from Calvin College Gender Studies and The Office of Multicultural Affairs. Since the lecture is free and open to the public and likely to be of interest to Wake Up Weekend participants, the College has kindly permitted us to include Adams' lecture on our program.

10:00 am--Harold Brown, "Veganic Agriculture"
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

Join Harold Brown, President of FarmKind and star of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, for a state-of-the-field discussion of recent developments in veganic agriculture--the practice of organic farming without the use of animals and their byproducts or the killing of free-living animals who reside on or around the farm.

11:30 am--Vegan Brunch
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

A vegan buffet of Brick Road brunch favorites: all you can eat for $11.00 (kids half price!). Need I say more?

1:00 pm--Ben DeVries, "Why Creation Care Needs Creature Care"
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

While many Christians are increasingly hospitable to the idea that environmental stewardship or "creation care" is an important aspect of Christian living, comparatively few have investigated the implications of that idea for their attitudes toward and practices concerning the non-human animal creatures with whom we share the Earth. Join Ben DeVries, founder of the web-based animal welfare organization Not One Sparrow: A Christian Voice for Animals, to learn more about why authentic "creation care" demands a serious commitment to "creature care".

5:00 pm--Fifth Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff
Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes, 6 Jefferson, Grand Rapids

In addition to the chili-time magic you've come to expect from you and your peers' relentless pursuit of the perfect vegan chili, this year's highly-anticipated cookoff will also feature eats and sweets compassionately crafted by our hosts--the good folks at Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes. This event is open to the public and the privilege of tasting chilis and sampling Bartertown's wares is completely free of charge. But if you want a shot at the bragging rights, there is an entry fee of $10 per chili payable at the event. As if you need any further incentive, first prize is $50 in Bartertown Bucks, a Guest Chef Internship at Bartertown, your chili on the menu, and a limited edition t-shirt. There will also be prizes for 2nd and 3rd place as well as for the coveted Chili-time People's Choice Award.

If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to at your earliest convenience. In a pinch, you slackers out there can still register a chili on the day of the event, but it will greatly help our planning to know your intentions in advance. Please plan to have your chili on site and ready to eat by 4:30 pm.

8:00 pm--Adoption Benefit Show
featuring Damned Dogs, Radiator Hospital, and Royl Space
(106), 106 South Division, Grand Rapids

Your $6.00 admission gets you three musical acts for one great cause: our goal is to raise $420 to cover a year's room and board at Sasha Farm for Moose, a former veal calf who will be relocating to the sanctuary later this month. Read all about it at our Adoption Benefit Show event page.

Questions? Need more information? Drop a line to! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2011!

FEBRUARY 1, 2011 12:28 AM

Bartertown ROC'S Logo
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is for GR's Newest Vegan Entrepreneurs
Another vegan coup is unfolding right here in little ol' GR. Local chef, filmmaker, record producer, and now vegan entrepreneur Ryan Cappelletti is opening Bartertown and ROC's Cakes--a worker owned, vegi-vegan-raw diner and cakeshop located at 6 Jefferson Street in Grand Rapids. If you're as excited as I am about this incredible development, please show your love by coming out to a Bartertown benefit on Monday, February 21st at the Wealthy Street Theater at 8pm. In addition to the singular opportunity to support an amazing new venue in our fair city, your contribution of $5.00 includes admission to a screening of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (the film that inspired the name "Bartertown"). Your contribution of $10.00 buys admission to the movie plus $5.00 in Bartertown Bucks to spend at the diner. Limited edition tees and other ground-level merch will be for sale as well. Mark your calendars and see you there!

NOVEMBER 18, 2010 2:34 PM

Ms. Betty in Purple.
This Just in From Los Angeles: BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!
I don't have occasion to do a lot of posts on handbags here at extraVEGANza!. That's because (a) I'm not a big handbag guy; and (b) I had never encountered a line of vegan handbags that did a BOSS enough job instantiating the qualities of creativity, sustainability, affordability, rubber-necking potential, and overall PHATNESS to merit devoting the precious cyber real estate to featuring it. All of that has changed, thanks to Susan Nichole Onofrey, whose Los Angeles based e-retail business was born out of her frustration over the endless, fruitless search "for a designer quality, yet animal friendly bag". Oh, don't we know it. The good news is that, thanks to Ms. Onofrey's decision to be the change she wanted to see in the world, our searching is no longer in vain. Feast your eyes on the fruits of her labor, and then get two for the price of one with free shipping in the United States. Holiday gift shopping for that swank, socially-conscious fashionista in your life has never been so easy! Including the 8 bags featured here, there are well over 50 bags and wallets from which to choose!

Savannah in Black & Red.

Brooklyn in Metallic Silver.

Kamini in Camel & Black.

Tara in Cream.

Stella in Candy Apple Red.

Leah in Black.

Vanessa in Brown.

AUGUST 23, 2010 1:23 PM

Merry Lea Conference
Stoke your Hope at Merry Lea's Autumn Conference on Climate Change
Mark your calendars for September 17-19, check out the conference program, read up on the presenters, and get your registration on file for a stimulating weekend of fieldwork and reflective discussion on the beautiful grounds of Goshen College's Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake, IN. Questions? Contact Jennifer Halteman Schrock, Coordinator of Public Programs. For more information on Mennonite efforts to work toward a more sustainable world, check out Mennonite Creation Care Network.

MARCH 3, 2010 12:19 PM

An Excellent Blog on Sustainable Agriculture Around the World
While The Worldwatch Institute isn't a vegan organization, they do a lot of excellent work to raise awareness about the moral and environmental dangers of industrial agriculture and to spread the word about sustainable alternatives for feeding a hungry world. In preparation for their annual "State of the World" report in 2011, they've launched a very informative blog called Nourishing the Planet. Check it out here, sign up for a weekly newsletter, and spread the word to interested friends and family.

MARCH 1, 2010 8:43 PM

Merry Lea 2
Want to Learn to Grow Produce Sustainably and Get College Credit?
Have I got the program for you! Agroecology, with its emphasis on biological systems, is an important part of the growing effort to make human activities compatible with natural ecosystems. The Agroecology Summer Intensive at Merry Lea consists of four academic courses along with practical and experiential components. Students study Soil Properties and Management, Vegetable Crops, Agroecology and Small Farm Management and Produce Marketing. They may earn either 6 transferable undergraduate credits in 41/2 weeks or 12 credits in 9 weeks.
Reith Village Merry Lea
Students live on site at Merry Lea's Platinum LEED Certified Reith Village.
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is owned and operated by Goshen College, Goshen, IN, a Mennonite Christian liberal arts college in northern Indiana. Students live on site at Merry Lea's Rieth Village, a field station that has earned the platinum LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The setting provides an outstanding laboratory where lectures, fieldwork and daily living are closely allied. Intrigued? Check out the program brochure or peruse these FAQs. Convinced? Fill out an application!

OCTOBER 19, 2009 4:35 PM

A Concerned Parent on a Moral Quest to Feed His Child Right
Readers of good fiction (especially good fiction written by youngish, controversialish authors) have likely dipped into one or both of Jonathan Safran Foer's celebrated novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Given that the protagonist of this latter book is a winsomely presented child vegan, it is not altogether shocking that Safran Foer has turned his talents more explicitly and non-fictionally to the question of the moral implications of Eating Animals. The conceit? He is now a concerned parent, and the prospect of his failure to provide a compelling moral example for his son is looming ever larger. Curious? You can get an early glimpse of the first chapter of the book (due out tomorrow) in Safran Foer's recent New York Times article.

AUGUST 24, 2009 1:05 PM

Even Time Magazine is Ready to Face the Music
With the New York Times advising us to curb the "Meat Guzzler", Foreign Policy calling meat-culture "The Slavery of Our Time", The Washington Post declaring our diets "The Meat of the Problem", and Scientific American exhorting us to put down"The Greenhouse Hamburger", I suppose it was only a matter of Time until the widest tributary of the journalistic mainstream would observe the necessity of "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food".

Say Goodbye to "Cheap" Meat
Time's Bryan Walsh is not mincing words here: "We don't have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil -- which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills -- our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy -- demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 -- but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs -- and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants -- and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you."

With periodicals as mainstream as Time Magazine beating the war drums this loudly, it's tempting to hope that our country's state of denial is finally starting to lift. Do your part! Share this link! Better yet, go vegan!

AUGUST 11, 2009 1:52 PM

Ever wonder how the frontman of the Psychedelic Furs visualizes the apocalypse?
Wonder no more, thanks to this beautiful video interpretation of Richard Butler's California made in collaboration with Jon Carin of Pink Floyd.

AUGUST 4, 2009 10:57 PM

Ezra Klein Joins the Litany of Truth-tellers About Meat-Culture
While denial and shoulder-shrugging even among otherwise discerning people are still par for the course when it comes to reckoning with the fallout of meat-culture, it's hard to deny that the winds of change are a blowin'. They're gusting near to gale force, for instance, in this recent article from the Washington Post by celebrated progressive blogger Ezra Klein. Thanks to Amelia Hicks for the tip!

JUNE 4, 2009 2:49 PM

Meat: "The Slavery of Our Day"
Jim Motavalli of Foreign Policy is the latest pundit to predict the imminent demise of meat-culture in a piece titled The Coming Vegetarian Revolution. I'll believe it when I see it, but I have to admit that even the increasing frequency of the prediction is heartening.

JUNE 4, 2009 12:17 PM

The year is 2109. The menu? 100% Vegan
We've all heard of Meatless Mondays, but this recent blogpost by health and wellness expert Kathy Freston invites us to imagine a meatless future, full-stop. The blogpost is an imagined dialogue between a 22nd century history teacher and her students, the latter of whom are positively incredulous that human beings ever used animals for food. Dare we dream!

MAY 14, 2009 2:51 PM

Belgian City Goes Meatless One Day A Week
Finally, some evidence that there are at least a few public servants in the world who refuse to let denial or bondage to corporate interests cloud their judgment about the looming dangers of meat culture: "On the eve of what is being touted as an unprecedented exercise, the biggest queue in the Flemish university town of 200,000 yesterday was for signatures - to collect a bag of wholefood goodies and sign up for "Donderdag - Veggie Dag", turning the burghers of Ghent into pioneers in the fight against obesity, global warming, cruelty to animals and against the myth that meat-free eating amounts to a diet of soggy lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a foul-tasting bean burger." Three cheers for Belgium! America, you're on notice!

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APRIL 22, 2009 5:00 PM

Another Amazing Event Brought to You By Calvin College Student Activists
Mark your calendars for this Saturday, April 25, and join Calvin College Residence Life in celebrating the Mad Farmer Food Fest from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm in the outdoor ampitheater of the Knollcrest East Apartments (see SE corner of this map) for great food, an on-campus farmers' market, and a series of fantastic workshops on eating right.

Tickets are $5.00 for adults and just $2.00 for children, and the price of admission includes lunch catered by Brick Road Pizza and Marie Catrib's, a keynote lecture on "Practicing Resurrection through Food Choice" by Karen Lubbers of Lubbers Family Farm, and breakout sessions on a variety of topics of interest to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Calvin College Box Office or onsite at the event. Peruse the full schedule of activities here and plan to make a day of it! Where else in Grand Rapids can you eat vegan pizza, support local farmers, have your face painted, participate in a vegan bread-making workshop, and learn about the ethics of eating from the good folks at places like Mixed Greens and Mud Lake Farm, all for just $5.00?

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MARCH 23, 2009 10:43 PM

Marti Kheel Spotlights the Need for Holism in Ethical Inquiry
Friend of ExtraVEGANza! Brianne Donaldson has this to say about Marti Kheel's recent book titled Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective:

"For scholar-activists concerned with systemic connections between animal, environmental and human oppression, Nature Ethics provides a lens through which to examine other philosophies, theologies and political and environmental theories. Exploring the connection that Kheel makes between human violence and socially constructed masculine identity is like donning a pair of 3-D glasses that exposes previously unseen dualisms in even the most esteemed perspectives on animal rights, Gandhian nonviolence, environmental protection and ecological holism.

The ecofeminist invitation to develop empathethic relationships with individual beings validates the experiences with animal suffering that move many toward activism in the first place. Kheel's refusal to rely solely on the "conceptual force" of rational arguments makes her final call to a conscious ethos of contexualized care toward nature and individual other-than-human animals hard to resist. If you have ever been frustrated by rational or spiritual systems that don't seem to wed theory with praxis, Nature Ethics may illuminate why."

Get a free sneak peek at google books. If you like what you see, consider ordering a copy to read and then loan to friends and family.

MARCH 23, 2009 9:25 PM

An Organic Vegetable Garden at the White House? Really?
"Is a Food Revolution Now In Season?" asks Andrew Martin in the Business section of Saturday's New York Times. Apparently, everyone from Michelle Obama, to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, to boar-hunting noble savage Michael Pollan, to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the bandwagon, but I'm afraid I'll have to see it to believe it.

Predictably, the v-word goes unmentioned, but I suppose it would be curmudgeonly not to celebrate the widespread public favor that organic produce is currently enjoying. When we applaud the slow food movement, however, let's see to it that we take care to frame compassion for animals as a central part of the story. "Sustainability" in and of itself is not enough, as some of the more prophetic voices in our movement have reminded us.

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MARCH 2, 2009 1:34 PM

No Such Thing as "Sustainable" Beef, Study Shows.
A recent study conducted by German scientists confirms what common sense already clearly suggests, namely that the resource-intensive process of fattening and killing cows for food spells trouble for the environment even when it's done organically. My top two favorite quotations? I'm glad you asked: (1) "Vegans eat in a decidedly climate-friendly way" and (2) "Anyone who believes that by buying a ribeye steak from an organic store they are automatically contributing to climate protection is mistaken."

Other highlights of the article include a candid rebuke of "greening" efforts in the German government and elsewhere that continue to insulate livestock production from due environmental criticism (because of powerful lobbying interests), and an interviewee who just can't bring himself believe "that the world will come to an end because of cows burping and farting." Greed and denial--always a winsome combination! Möchten Sie es auf Deutsch lesen? Klicken Sie hier. Many thanks to Clayre for the tip on this article!

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JANUARY 12, 2009 6:52 PM

*All events are free and open to the public (excluding the all-you-can-eat Saturday brunch, which is just $10.00 per person at the door). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to

Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Animals & Society Institute, Brick Road Pizza Company, ExtraVEGANza!, G-Rad, Not One Sparrow, Oven Mitt Bakery, and Students for Compassionate Living.

2:30 pm--Animal Advocacy: What, Why, Who, and How?
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

Stay on the cutting edge of the movement by learning from the people who are making it happen. From rights to welfare, from religion to politics, from the laws of the heart to the laws of the land, from grassroots to goliath, our nationally recognized panelists know the score. Join us for this workshop and you will too!

Harold Brown (President, Farm Kind, Hector, NY)
Ben DeVries (Founder, Not One Sparrow, Kenosha, WI)
Adam Durand (Campaign Director, Animal Rights International, Rochester, NY)
Bee Friedlander (Managing Director, Animals and Society Institute, Ann Arbor, MI)
Nathan Runkle (Executive Director, Mercy for Animals, Columbus, OH and Chicago, IL)

5:30 pm--"Compassionate Comestibles" Vegan Potluck*
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College
*Hosted by Students for Compassionate Living

At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum and Post Punk Kitchen never disappoint.

***Please help us to reduce waste and carbon emissions by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware*** and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.

7:30 pm--Film Festival
Bytwerk Video Theater, DeVos Communications Center, Calvin College
Eating Mercifully
Fowl Play (A Film By Adam Durand)

Two great films by two great directors, one of whom--Adam Durand--will be on hand to introduce his work and take questions after the screening. Did you know that the idea for "Fowl Play" was hatched at Wake Up Weekend 2007 and that the original first-cut of the film was edited here in Grand Rapids for our sneak preview screening at Wake Up Weekend 2008? Now in 2009, the final version has been nominated for Best Documentary in a national film festival in Hollywood, but YOU get to see it first right here in Grand Rapids. Look for special mention of Wake Up Weekend in the credits!

11:00 am--Vegan Brunch at Brick Road Pizza
Tofu scramble, french toast sticks, vegan fried chikn, and all your favorite specialty pizzas and salads are on the menu at this $10.00 all-you-can-eat vegan juggernaut that Chef Ryan promises will be a day to remember! Whether you're a Wake-up-Weekender or just a hungry Grand Rapidian, come on out! Everyone is welcome!

1:30--Spotlight Session: Animal Advocacy and Religion
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
"Not One Sparrow is Forgotten: A Simply Christian Animal Advocacy"
Ben DeVries (Founder, Not One Sparrow)

3:00 pm--Panel: Animal Exploitation and Questions of Race and Gender
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids

"Thinking and Eating at the Same Time: Reflections of a Sista Vegan"
Michelle Loyd-Paige (Dean for Multicultural Affairs, Calvin College)

"Speciesism, Sexism, and Racism: The Intertwining Oppressions"
Nekeisha Alexis-Baker (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary; Co-Founder, Jesus Radicals)

7:00 pm--Vegan Chili Cook-Off and Print Sale Benefit
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
You know the drill on this one: Best. Vegan. Chili. Ever. (Made by YOU, if you've got the guts to compete, anyway.) Add vegan cornbread lovingly prepared by Oven Mitt Bakery, and a print sale that puts the artwork of Wake Up Weekend within everyone's reach, and you simply can't say no! Come on out and help us raise a few dollars for our participating animal charities, and we can show the world that compassion is recession-proof!

*If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to ASAP to request a registration form. Last year, we were a bit light on chili (and a bit heavy on chili-eaters), so let's anticipate another big turnout and get as many of you to put your culinary prowess on display as possible!

See you at Wake Up Weekend 2009!

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AUGUST 2, 2008 1:39 PM

Nursery 1
Noodles paints a mural for Vegucator Jr.
Our baby boy is scheduled to wrap up his lengthy intrauterine adventure by the end of the month, so we enlisted the multi-talented Noodles to help us make his nursery a more inspiring place to be. One of our many hopes for our son is that he will choose someday to see his own well-being here on the green planet as intimately connected to the flourishing of non-human animals and the earth as well. Until then, we'll do what we can to make a place for him in which the beauty, mystery, and wonder of the world around is as accessible as possible to his impressionable imagination.
Nursery 2
A stag stands sentry over the crib.
Nursery 5
Feathered friends in flight.
Nursery 3
An owl perched above the bookshelves.
Nursery 6
A fox guards the door.
Nursery 4
Gus and Charlie at the ready for mischief.
Thanks for all your hard work, Noodles! We LOVE the results, and we suspect that E.W. will too!

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JULY 28, 2008 1:27 PM

Vegan. For the People. For the Planet. For the Animals. It's that simple.
Nonviolence United, a nonprofit NGO out of Boulder, Colorado, has done the movement a great service with this excellent 12-minute video that details the variety of pressing reasons--human, animal, and environmental--for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Instead of relying on the tired tactics of doom, gloom, shame, blame and gory images of suffering animals, the folks at NU have given us an inspiring vision of veganism as a smart, green, compassionate way to live well for ourselves, the earth, and our fellow creatures. The video embedded above is a self-contained 9-minute edit (drat, those YouTube length restrictions!), but the full version is well worth watching. Share it generously with family and friends! And don't forget to register your support with Nonviolence United for doing us all such a good turn with this positive, upbeat resource!

Comments (2)

JUNE 24, 2008 4:57 PM

"Stockfree" Green Manure. All The Nutrients, None Of The Exploitation.
The Associated Press recently published this fascinating article on veganic farming. Unlike most organic farms that use animal products such as manure, bone meal, and blood meal to fertilize their crops, veganic farmers take out the middle man (in this case, the animals who process plant foods into manure) and put composted plant matter--"stockfree" or green manure--directly onto their fields instead. The famous Huguenot Street Farm in New Paltz, NY offers this helpful explanation of the basic principles of veganic farming, and Friends of Animals goes into a bit more depth in this article. If you're in the market for a whole book on the subject, Jenny Hall and Ian Tolhurst's Growing Green comes highly recommended by our friend Harold Brown of Farm Kind. If you're looking for a more hands-on experience, consider this Veganic Farming Training Program offered by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, AZ.

MAY 31, 2008 10:46 AM

Recent Editorial Blasts Industrial Animal Production
"The so-called efficiency of industrial animal production is an illusion, made possible by cheap grain, cheap water and prisonlike confinement systems." So says an editorial published today in the New York Times under the scathing title "The Worst Way of Farming". Citing recent reports including the Pew Commission Study and The Union of Concerned Scientists' new paper, CAFOs Uncovered, the editorial board of the Times concludes that "animal husbandry has been turned into animal abuse"--"millions of animals are crowded together in inhumane conditions, causing significant environmental threats and unacceptable health risks for workers, their neighbors and all the rest of us." Three cheers for the Gray Lady! Be sure to send the links to your family and friends.

APRIL 30, 2008 10:20 PM

Prestigious Pew Commission Affirms California Ballot Initiative
The following is the text of an e-mail update from Paul Shapiro, director of the factory farming campaign at The Humane Society of the United States.

"The prestigious Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production just concluded its 2.5-year study of American animal agriculture with unanimous findings from its 15 members. The Commission was chaired by former Kansas governor John Carlin and included, among others, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, former Dean of the Univ. of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Michael Blackwell, and more.

The panel concluded that factory farms pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and animal welfare. It also issued a series of recommendations, including a phase-out of battery cages, gestation crates, veal crates, foie gras, and tail-docking of dairy cows, along with inclusion of poultry under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. The Commission even put out a press release in which it cites the pending California anti-cruelty ballot measure as one of "the types of modest animal welfare public policy improvements that the Commissioners recommend implementing."

The Washington Post published a great story on page A2 today entitled, "Report Targets Cost of Factory Farming." USA Today's story begins, "The way America produces meat, milk and eggs is unsustainable, creates significant risks to public health from antibiotic resistance and disease, damages the environment and unnecessarily harms animals, a report released Tuesday says." The Wall Street Journal's coverage focuses both on the problems caused by factory farming and the Commission's conclusion that the "agriculture industry is exerting 'significant influence' on academic research." And the Des Moines Register's article highlights the fact that the Commission is accusing "some livestock interests of trying to disrupt a wide-ranging study of the industry by threatening to yank financing for scientists and universities."

Both the Associated Press and Reuters have national stories on it, as well.

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APRIL 26, 2008 9:46 AM

Taking Veganism to Church
As a Mennonite youngster, I worked the church potluck circuit with reckless abandon--especially the dessert table. Back then, it would have been difficult to imagine a church potluck without animal products. But as the evidence mounts that industrial livestock production has serious repercussions for creation, more and more faith communities are taking notice of the moral and spiritual significance of eating. As a case in point, Splinters and I are members of a small group at Sherman Street CRC that recently put on a multi-cultural, intergenerational vegan potluck with over 40 parishioners and friends.

Enchiladas, Lasagna, and Dahl, Oh My!
I brought our favorite Seitan Enchiladas with Salsa Verde (from Ann Gentry's spectacular Real Food Daily Cookbook) along with a side of refried black beans.

Others prepared vegan lasagna, Indian dahl, African groundnut stew, fresh salads and fruits, and a variety of other amazing offerings. Suffice it to say that no one went away hungry, least of all those who spent any time near the sweet table, which boasted vegan coconutty cookies (from Wealthy Street Bakery), "cockeyed" chocolate cake with coconut frosting, chocolate banana cupcakes with peanut butter creme frosting (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), and a transcendent ginger coconut macadamia carrot cake that obliterated my previous conception of the standard for vegan desserts.

Rediscovering the Intersection of Food and Faith
Though a lot of vegans have given up on seeing the church as a potential ally in the struggle for justice for all God's creatures, there is reason to be hopeful. As Christine Gutleben of the Humane Society of the United States points out in a recent editorial in the New York Times, the principles of compassion, mercy, and justice for animals are built into our faith traditions, just waiting for visionary people of faith to reawaken the church to their significance for our everyday lives. For more information on the resurgence of religious interest in these matters and links to resources that can help you communicate the message of compassion for animals in your own church community, check out the Animals and Religion initiative of the Humane Society of the United States.

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MARCH 21, 2008 1:01 AM

Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation
As many of you know, I spent the summer writing a booklet on the intersection of animal ethics and faith issues (from a Christian perspective) for the Humane Society of the United States. The result of this endeavor is finally available online and you can check it out here. The limited edition version of the publication (which is not yet featured on the website) includes 14 amazing collages by our very own Adam Wolpa. We hope to have a pdf of the limited edition up soon, but until then you can check out Wolpa's collages here.

Something for Everyone
While the argument developed in this booklet is grounded primarily in broadly Christian assumptions, my hope is that there may still be some strategic value in the booklet for people who do not share these assumptions. After all, many non-Christians who care about the plight of animals still have a vested interest in being able to appeal to Christian audiences in a language that such audiences can understand and appreciate. Moreover, there are certain empirical facts about the fallout of our dependence on industrial animal agriculture that all of us have a vested interest in knowing, regardless of our diverse religious identities. Pages 23-36 focus specifically on these empirical issues, so if you're allergic to religious discourse but still interested in the general topic, you can skip straight to this section of the booklet for a succinct overview (with recourse to the latest scientific research) of the hidden human, animal, and environmental consequences of the traditional American diet.

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JANUARY 30, 2008 3:48 PM

Confronting Global Climate Change
Calvin College right here in Grand Rapids is one of over 1,700 universities and colleges participating in an exciting national initiative called Focus the Nation. Its purpose is to provide a day of focused discussion on global climate change and solutions for the future that can help "to move America beyond fatalism to a determination to face up to this civilizational challenge, the challenge of our generation." At Calvin, a series of events is planned during the first week of the spring semester culminating on January 31, 2008 with a teach-in, discussion with elected leaders, and a celebratory concert.

Food & the Future
Among the sessions planned for the teach-in (download the full schedule) is an offering on "Food & the Future" (9:00 am TODAY in the DeVos Forum) during which I will make a brief ten-minute presentation on Industrial Animal Agriculture and Global Warming. The purpose of this post, in addition to publicizing Calvin's contribution to this important nationwide initiative, is to provide attendees of the teach-in (and other interested parties) with links to online resources for further investigation of the general issues that I briefly consider in my presentation. Though ten minutes is not enough time to provide in-depth coverage of the serious environmental challenges posed by our reliance on industrial animal agriculture, my hope is that the following resources might inspire you to give these challenges the rigorous consideration they deserve.

Tuition-Free Online Education!
My general strategy for approaching this constellation of issues is articulated in a paper I recently gave in the Calvin College Christian Perspectives in Science Series titled Animal Welfare and Global Sustainability. In writing this paper, I found many of the following articles, papers, and reports illuminating. Check them out and decide for yourself!

1. "Rethinking the Meat Guzzler", New York Times, January 27, 2008.
2. A Factory Farm Near You, New York Times, July 31, 2007.
3. Meat Is Murder On the Environment, NewScientist, July 18, 2007.
4. Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gasses Than Driving Cars, UN News Service, November 29, 2006.

1. Diet, Energy, and Global Warming, Gideon Eshel and Pamela Martin (University of Chicago), 2005.
2. Meat: Now, It's Not Personal, World Watch Magazine, 2004.
3. Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment, Pimentel and Pimentel, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003.

1. Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006.
2.Livestock Development: Implications for Rural Poverty, the Environment, and Global Food Security, The World Bank, 2001.
Managing the Livestock Revolution
3. Global Warming: Climate Change and Farm Animal Welfare (Executive Summary), Compassion in World Farming, 2007.
4. Global Warming: Climate Change and Farm Animal Welfare (Full Report), Compassion in World Farming, 2007.

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JULY 31, 2007 6:29 PM

Your State-by-State Guide to Exploitation and Degradation
Is it me, or is the New York Times feeling guilty about that "Death By Veganism" fiasco awhile back? In yet another op-ed on the environmental fallout of factory farming, the NYT showcases an organization called Food and Water Watch which has recently launched this fascinating interactive map offering a state-by-state breakdown of all the CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) in the U.S. You can even search by facility type to find out, for instance, how many pig operations exist in your home state (that's a whopping 220 for Michaganders). To our shame, the state of Michigan is the 11th worst factory farm polluter in the union, with Allegan and Cass counties being by far the worst offenders.

Please consider informing your friends and family in Michigan of this educational opportunity and encourage them to boycott factory farms and do their part to help clean up our great state!

JULY 27, 2007 4:06 PM

It's dirtnap time for another grand myth of corporate making.
Big Agriculture. "Better living through chemicals!", they said. "Animal protein is the foundation of a healthy diet!", they promised. "Organic farming simply can't produce enough food to feed the world!", they told us. These first two myths bought the farm years ago. The third one should be pushing up daisies any day now, as this press release on a new study from the University of Michigan explains.

JULY 24, 2007 9:21 AM

Drive less, turn out the lights, and GO VEGAN!
The links between animal product consumption and environmental degradation are long established, but the studies just keep pililng up. Here's the latest from Japan, where researchers have concluded that "[a] kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home."There's just no getting around it: meat is murder on the environment.

JULY 20, 2007 11:49 AM

I nostri amici italiani sono molto bei, non sono?
A few minutes ago, I received an e-mail informing me that a new comment had been made on one of our posts. When I checked the email, I was delighted to see that we now seem to have an Italian readership, as the address linked back to this enchanting e-shop called Tippitappi recently launched by an eco-vegan graphic designer in Reggio Emilia, a beautiful place in northern Italy. In addition to a whole host of must-have 100% organic cotton t-shirts printed with inventive animal and earth friendly designs, Tippitappi has a great blog which you may read in either Italian or English. Here are a couple of my favorite t-shirt designs:
I don't eat animals.

Zoos = Prisons

Is International Organic Apparel Swapping even legal?
We're no match for our Italian friends, of course, but perhaps we could persuade them to trade some of their wares for some of ours? We love you, Tippitappi! Thanks for visiting us and keep up the great work. Buona Fortuna!

Stay tuned for more designs...
If you spend all your disposable income at Tippitappi, that's just fine with us. But if you manage to save $15-20, you just might be able to cash in on one of our limited edition extraVEGANza! "FUNDAMENTALIST VEGANGELICAL" tees later this summer. Dare to dream!

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FEBRUARY 8, 2007 8:09 PM

Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns

29 November 2006 – Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed, according to a new United Nations report released today.
The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth's increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.

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FEBRUARY 3, 2007 9:03 AM

Kathy Freston

. . We can make a huge difference in the environment by eating a plant based diet instead of an animal based one. Factory farming pollutes our air and water, reduces the rainforests, and goes a long way to create global warming. And although the vast majority of responses to the piece were positive, there were some environmentalists for whom the idea of giving up those chicken nuggets was impossible to swallow. . .

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