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25 years vegan and counting. Sandy Miller on animal advocacy, southern hospitality, and running a vegan B&B

Sandy Miller

Sandy Miller is the proprietor and host of The Cherokee Rose Inn, a delightful and cozy vegan bed and breakfast nestled in the Sunnyside neighborhood of inner Southeast Portland, Oregon. Sandy has been a vegan and animal welfare advocate for nearly 25 years and is an active member of Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants, a local grassroots organization whose mission it is to “end the captive breeding and halt the acquisition of elephants from the wild and free the elephants to sanctuary.” Sandy is the mother of a son and daughter who also live in Portland. She shares her home at the Inn with Hamish, an adorable, attention-seeking seven and a half year old American Eskimo dog, who she adopted from a shelter in San Jose, CA and Bill, a four year old black kitty who is a bit camera shy. She also has four parakeets she adopted from the Oregon Humane Society and Exotic Bird Rescue.
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Veganism is not a diet. And why that’s critically important.

View from Spoke and Leaf Farm

Veganism is not a diet. If that is news to you, please read on. If you not only know this, but are tired of having to explain it to others, please read on. Because most pre-vegans — and even a lot of new vegans — don’t know, yet, and it’s critically important that we try to remedy that as quickly as possible.

My partner and I originally went vegan a few years ago for “health reasons.” We were part of the graduating class of Forks Over Knives vegan converts. I’d had very little exposure to veganism before that; a remarkable feat given I’d lived in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years at the time! I must have had some exposure to derogatory coverage of veganism, though, because we were careful to tell friends and family at the time to not worry, that “we’re not the crazy, militant vegans — we’re doing it for health reasons.” I think we felt at the time that we had to set our friends’ minds at ease that they didn’t have to worry about us judging or trying to convert them. In other words, we were treating veganism like a diet. Read More

Veganic farming with Bonnie from Spoke and Leaf Farm

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Bonnie holding Munch | Photo: Portland Pictures

Bonnie Hildebrand lives on 43.5 picturesque acres in the North Plains countryside just 18 miles West of Portland, Oregon. She currently grows all of her beautiful veganic produce and flowers on a 1/2 acre plot. Bonnie shares her home with eight furry friends: Meowgi (the cat) Munch (the pug), and 6 rescue goats: Violet, Earl, Alexa and Alexa’s three babies, Tonk, Pluto and Chrystalia. Violet and Earl were first rescued by Out to Pasture Animal Sanctuary before joining Bonnie at Spoke and Leaf Farm. The others were rescued by Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue prior to joining the gang. Two stray cats have recently made an appearance and both are available for adoption!

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What inspired you to become a farmer?

I think it’s just been an adult life of learning about food and where it comes from and how it’s handled and where it’s grown and I started getting serious about it in 2010. I went to a permaculture conference and it opened my eyes further. And I was gardening; I was growing stuff here and there with moderate success. Then I heard about the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship. That first year I wasn’t able to go because I was working full time, but fortunately I got laid off from my job and was able to apply to the second class of 2012. I was accepted and went through an eight month intensive urban farming program and that really did it. I did an internship with them in 2013 and worked for another farmer in 2014.  And then when my dad bought some property and he said, “come start your farm,” so it gave me the opportunity in 2015 to start my farm. Read More

Vegan Majority News Survey – Jan 24, 2016

A round up of the latest news from the past couple weeks.

Tesla investor Mark Peters told Business Insider in an email, “The vegan interior issue isn’t a casual ‘lifestyle choice,’ but a critical change needed for survival of life on our planet.”[1] The Herbivorous Butcher, the first vegan butcher shop in the US, opened in Minneapolis[2] — and is getting rave reviews.[3] The first vegetarian pub in Britain opened in Bristol. The pub is vegan except for some dishes with animal cheese.[4] A cow that was captured by the police after escaping a New York City slaughterhouse has found a home at an animal sanctuary in New Jersey.[5] Ecorazzi announced they’ll be relaunching on January 25th “with an unapologetically vegan perspective!”[6]

Russel Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, released his new book, “The Happy Vegan: A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life.”[7][8] Animal rights activists from across the country traveled to New York to stage massive #StormSkansa protests at the home and office of the head of Skanska USA, a multi-billion dollar global construction company hired by the University of Washington to build a $90 million underground animal research facility in Seattle.[9] A new fad diet for carnists who want try to feel better about animal exploitation — Climatarianism — is garnering attention.[10] Actor Danny Trejo, known for his roles in the “Machete” movie franchise, launched a vegan-friendly taco restaurant in Los Angeles.[11] Men who follow a vegan diet are a third less likely to develop prostate cancer, according to a new study by Loma Linda University Health.[12]

Activists continue to protest Laurie Glimcher, dean at Cornell Medical College, who abandoned and left 66 chimps to die in Liberia while on the board of the New York Blood Center (NYBC).[13] An Austrian travel firm has taken down their website after the Austrian animal rights group Association Against Animal Factories (VGT) exposed their hunting trips culminating in sex with prostitutes.[14] Animal rights activists forced The Africa Show, an African trophy hunting show, to change venues three times before it finally took place this week just north of Toronto. About two dozen activists blocked traffic and attendees, carrying signs and yelling at people as they headed into the show.[15] In Wisconsin, the top “producer” of mink fir in the U.S., a two month undercover investigation at Dillenburg Fur Farm in Shawano County found horrific conditions ending in grisly methods of killing the minks and foxes there.[16] Tyson Fury, current world heavyweight boxing champion, was seen wearing a knee-length coat made out of chinchillas. This follows outrage over his “rants” and comments about women and homosexuality.[17]

Gwyneth Paltrow launched her vegan, organic line of beauty products.[18] The Village Voice interviewed Brenda Beener, founder and chef of Harlem restaurant Seasoned Vegan.[19] Another vegan fast food restaurant, with aspirations of going nationwide, is opening in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. [20] The number of horse’s held and forced to pull carriages in New York City would be significantly reduced confined to a new stable within the Central Park under a deal announced this week by the city administration.[21] Animal rights activists across India welcomed the Supreme Court’s stay this week on jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and other bull-related sports in other states, vowing to continue their fight to protect the animal.[22]

Veganuary: An interview with Andrew Warren

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Andrew Warren, January 16, 2016

It’s January 16th 2016 and I’m here with Andrew Warren — who happens to be my younger brother — and I’m interviewing him about his participation in Veganuary.

Is this your first time participating in Veganuary?  No, I did it last year as well. Last year was the first time I heard about it. I think I had the intention of not doing it this year, but then you came and visited for the holidays and you remotivated me. Read More

Connecting the Dots: How social justice advocacy led me to animal rights

snow-leopard

Photo courtesy Tambako the Jaguar

I was about nine or ten years old when I started reading Zoobooks magazine. It was a gift subscription from my grandma, Laverne. Zoobooks is a children’s magazine that explores the anatomy, habitat, social behavior and ecological role of a specific animal or animal group, or sometimes features categories like “baby animals” or “endangered species.” It was established in 1980 and is still in publication today.

I would eagerly await the magazine’s arrival each month and after reading the issue cover to cover, I would gently tear along the perforated lines to retrieve the centerfold poster and add it to the collection hanging on my bedroom wall.

I was fascinated with this whole world of amazing creatures that shared the planet with me. I was especially drawn to elephants and big cats and one of my most prized possessions at the time was a small, stuffed white snow leopard I got on a trip to Marine World with my family.

Beyond fascination, I felt genuine empathy and love toward animals — the way most children do. Read More

The Vegan Majority News Survey: January 10, 2016

Howler monkeys

Photo courtesy Steve Hersey

About a dozen animal rights activists made their voices heard at the Pennsylvania Farm Show during PA Governor Tom Wolf’s opening ceremony speech. [1] The first vegan butcher shop in the U.S. will open in Minneapolis Jan. 23. [2] Jennifer Aniston said she is “riveted” by the vegan taco cleanse, saying “I can see that being something.” [3] Two chimpanzees have been returned to their captors following a 2-year legal battle to have them declared legal persons. [4] Philly.com published “15 reasons why 2016 could be the Year of the Vegan in Philly.” [5] The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit against the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services over newly-released dietary guidelines. [6] PETA staff delivered vegan jerky to the armed “militiamen” occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, carrying signs that read “The End (of Animal Agriculture) Is Nigh: Get Out Now!” [7] Chef Chloe Coscarelli will open her second and third by CHLOE fast casual vegan restaurants in Manhattan in 2016, in a wave of “vegan dining on the rise in New York City.” [8] Read More

Choosing Compassion Over Fear

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Photo courtesy Benh Lieu Song

Many people are afraid to go vegan — for various reasons. They may wonder what they’ll eat, where they’ll get their calcium or protein — or whether they can give up cheese forever. Most often they’re afraid of what it will mean socially. What will their friends think? How will their relationships be impacted? Will people think they’re acting “high and mighty”? Will they stop being invited to parties and events? I’ve talked with people who were especially concerned about offending or inconveniencing others with their veganism. Wondering, for example, what would happen if they were offered non-vegan food and had to decline. How would their rejection land with the one who offered? Will they be seen as freaks or outcasts, or clueless beneficiaries of class privilege? These fears stop many would-be vegans in their tracks. Even after they learn the truth about the animal exploitation industries and the horrible torture and eventual killing of tens of billions of animals in the United States alone each year, many people are afraid to make what they recognize as an important change for good. Even if they know it’s the most compassionate thing to do — and even as their own values continually urge them to. Read More

A Note from the Editors

Welcome. We’re thrilled you’ve found us. The Vegan Majority seeks to amplify the voice of the global vegan community at a time of perhaps unprecedented progress and hope — and also of nearly unfathomable greed, destruction and despair.

We will focus on the hope. Hope in the form of a burgeoning global community of vegans and those on their way to becoming vegan. Hope in the volume and reach of communication and conversation around animal rights and the importance of moving to a plant-based diet and away from the exploitation of and violence against animals. Hope in the expanding awareness that we already know how to end the worst problems plaguing humanity — and by extension, our non-human animal friends and neighbors: climate degradation, species extinction, poverty and starvation, the global health crisis, as well as violence and war. Read More