Author: Crystal Tenty

Veganic farming with Bonnie from Spoke and Leaf Farm

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! *** 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 …

Veganuary: An interview with Andrew Warren

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.

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

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.

Choosing Compassion Over Fear

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 …