$3.95 » Fall 2016/Winter 2017
Planted Michigan’s Veg Magazine
VegFest in the West »
Honor Farmed Animals Oct. 2
Chef uses his kitchen for a cause
State’s new expo back for seconds
Q&A with activist Robert Grillo
Royal Oak’s iconic veg staple continues to thrive at 35
Barn Makeover New animal sanctuary opening in Chelsea
Sweet Rescue Johnny Cash the pig singing a new tune
Love Squash? Four fun and tasty recipes plantedmagazine.com
Fall 2016/Winter 2017
Planted Volume 3, No. 1
Vendor Spotlight J.R. Renusson and his vegan cookies
Contributors Alexandra Fluegel Jeni Hernandez Andrea Jacobson Terry Johnston Susan Kline Jill Ovnik Michael C. Reed Marilyn Royle Lydia Sattler Anjali Shah Elizabeth Throckmorton
7 Features Vegfest, take two 16 Bit Baking Company Making every crumb count 21 Event Preview More food, vendors expected 24 Q&A: Robert Grillo Free from Harm founder on marketing, meat-eating
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‘Meeting of Destiny’ Metro Detroit’s Inn Season Café celebrates 35 years 8 In Good Company Michigan vegan interviewed for national documentary
9 On the Farm
Show your solidarity with farmed animals Oct. 2 13 Lydia Sattler Kick meat on Mondays 13 guest opinion Killing coyotes is not a solution
14 Savory Squash
4 Then & Now
Tacos, “pasta” and more
15 Michigan Cookbook
Royal Oak cook veganizes traditional favorites 27 Perfectly Pumpkin Make this pie every day
12 Andrea Jacobson
NBA star spotted in Novi; SASHA benefit Oct. 28 6 Speak Up Teens inspire family to go vegan; meet Ellie Haun 26 Calendar
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Cash the pig joins SASHA Farm 10 Volunteer Spotlight In every issue Animal lover aims to set positive example 11 New Rescue in Michigan Once-vacant Chelsea farm becomes a haven for animals
In every issue Johnny
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On the Cover Cookies from Bit Baking Company. Photo by Terry Johnston
Bit baking Company photo by Terry Johnston. Photo of Inn Season cafe by Planted. Other photos courtesy of Jeni Hernandez and Sasha Farm.
Planted Magazine.com Holiday Ambassadors Farm Sanctuary’s annual Adopt a Turkey Project puts a compassionate spin on Thanksgiving. (From our archives, but still relevant this fall!)
Turkey trot Baby turkeys at Farm Sanctuary’s New York shelter.
SHELTER PET & GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED PIANIST Amazing stories start in shelters and rescues. Adopt today to start yours.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FARM SANCTUARY.
KEYBOARD CAT 8M+ YouTube Views
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Veg outings in Michigan
Coming up Renowned author on tour Will Tuttle, Ph.D., who wrote “The World Peace Diet,” will deliver several presentations this September in Michigan. Tuttle will speak Sept. 7 in Brooklyn; Sept. 8 in Bloomfield Township; Sept. 12 in Farmington; Sept. 13 in Ann Arbor; Sept. 14 in Lansing; Sept. 16 in Saugatuck; Sept. 18 and 19 in Grand Rapids; and Sept. 20 in Kalamazoo. Visit worldpeacediet.com for more information.
March for animals
Event to benefit sanctuary SASHA Farm will hold its annual fundraising banquet and auction Oct. 28 at The Meeting House Grand Ballroom in Plymouth. The event will include a vegan dinner and appetizers, cash bar, speakers, live music and auctions. Visit sashafarm.org for tickets.
Superstar selfie Former Detroit Piston John Salley and a fan pose for a photo during the 2016 VegFest Vegan Tastefest and Expo in April at Novi’s Suburban Collection Showplace. Salley gave a presentation called “The Betta Life” at the annual VegMichigan event, which featured plant-based food vendors, exhibit booths, cooking demonstrations and activities for children. Other speakers were Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy For Animals; clinical psychologist Dr. Doug Lisle, co-author of “The Pleasure Trap”; and reality television personality Simone Reyes.
KIND CAUSE A visitor feeds apples to Daniel, one of SASHA Farm’s rescued residents, during the sanctuary’s Spring Social in May. The annual fundraiser, which drew people from as far as Indiana and Chicago, featured vegan food and guided tours.
Learn how to eat healthy Plant Based Nutrition Support Group will host a series of Transition 101 classes for people who are new to the idea of whole food, plant-based eating. The classes are free, but space is limited. PBNSG is a metro Detroit-based nonprofit organization that promotes plant-based nutrition as a means to achieve optimal health. Visit pbnsg.org for more information.
» For more events, view the Calendar on Page 26.
Be a part of Veg Scene. Send your event photos to email@example.com.
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Photos courtesy of vegmichigan and sasha farm.
The Michigan Humane Society will host a series of March for Animals walks this fall to raise money for homeless animals. Walks are Sept. 10 in Woodhaven; Sept. 25 in Belle Isle; and Oct. 2 in Kensington Metropark and Stony Creek Metropark. Visit michiganhumane.org for more information.
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What you’re doing, Thinking and eating
Why vegan? Share your stories.
Special edition Williamston family of six shares vegan journey
The Gardiner girls, from left: Lanell, Anna, Grace, Cindy and Sharron (front). mals, but I did not act on it. Also, when my children were younger, I tried unsuccessfully to eat a raw, vegetarian or vegan diet. The decision to go vegan was made last May, and we are happier and healthier for it. I am very happy my daughters have the courage to live their convictions, and I’m thankful to them for how their example changed our lives. — Cindy Gardiner, 47
farms, the idea of being vegan became more important to me. — Grace Gardiner, 13
A: I became vegan because of a vegan student who traveled a lot. I looked up to her, and asked her questions about her travels and why she became vegan. She was really nice about it and inspired me to research it. After watching “Cowspiracy,” I was convinced this was the lifestyle I wanted. — Anna Gardiner, 15
A: I became vegetarian because of how mean they are to animals. “Cowspiracy” made me notice what I was eating. Also, I love animals, and think it’s wrong to kill them and treat them badly. — Sharron Gardiner, 9
A: I became vegan mostly because of “Cowspiracy.” I also want to help the environment. As I did more research on how animals are treated in factory
Your pick PERSON TO FOLLOW: Fully Raw Kristina. Her message is about love, peace and harmony rather than anger and forcefulness. I see kindness as the best path to veganism, and she radiates it while also promoting health and personal happiness. The gentle vegan movement is the one I subscribe to. — Amanda Crowe, 27, White Lake Township
A: I became vegan because of animal cruelty and for health. My favorite film is “Cowspiracy” because it talks about the environment and animal cruelty, and that inspired me to think about the Earth and my health. — Lanell Gardiner, 11
A: My decision to cut back on meat stems from gout symptoms. My daughters have shared what they’ve learned, and I have to agree there is a lot to be said for a vegetarian lifestyle. It just may take me a little longer to get there. — Jeff Gardiner, 57
I believe our single greatest obstacle is the deeply entrenched beliefs that drive animal consuming behavior and culture.”
— Activist Robert Grillo on the farmed animal protection movement, Page 24
Peanut Butter & Ellie Blogger: 17-year-old Ellie Haun of Grand Rapids Website: peanutbutterandle. wordpress.com Why did you start blogging? Big things happen the day after my birthday. I became vegan the day after my 14th birthday, and I started my blog the day after I turned 16. I began my blog to share with family and friends my much-asked-for recipes and what I eat as a teen vegan. Through my blog I show people, in a non-judgmental and non-pushy way, why veganism is great. Tell us about your blog. My blog is called Peanut Butter & Ellie, a play on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’ve enjoyed for lunch almost every day since kindergarten. I love peanut butter, and since peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are vegan, the blog name is perfect for me. On my blog I share my advice for being plant-based in a family of meat eaters, along with recipes I’ve created, picture-filled travelogs, vegan resources and products I love. Why should people read it? To find delicious vegan recipes and fun resources that help debunk vegan stereotypes. Why is being vegan important to you? Because by doing so I can help myself and others become healthier and happier through eating more plants. I can also help animals by not eating them, which is wonderful.
We love to share your thoughts, opinions and stories. Speak Up here! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photos courtesy of Ellie Haun and Cindy Gardiner.
A: When my two teenage daughters announced they were going vegan, I figured it was a phase that might last a month. After a month, I started to become concerned because I didn’t know if their diets were balanced. I asked them more about their choices and began buying vegan foods. I didn’t know how long the phase would last, so I decided the whole family needed to better understand why they chose this path. Our family watched “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.” A small voice inside me spoke so clearly and forcefully I could not ignore it. Before the end of the movie, I announced my decision to become vegan. Our youngest daughter shared her decision to become vegetarian. Shortly after that, our fourth daughter said she also would become vegan. And my husband said he would cut back on meat. We had a new journey to embark on, together. As a family, we studied common nutrients and vitamins that are sometimes missing from a vegan diet. We looked through vegan recipes, and each of us chose some to try. It was fun. Before I had children, I went to veterinary school. At that time, I had a strong desire to make more choices that protected ani-
News, notes & more
Iconic eatery celebrates 35 years Inn Season Café legacy crafted by fate By Alexandra Fluegel
Photo by planted.
n hour before the Inn Season Café was set to open Feb. 24, 1981, as a line of eager diners amassed outside the door, there were still a couple things the restaurant needed in order to open: dishwashing equipment and approval from the health department. “We were supposed to open, and the guy is installing the dishwasher an hour before, meanwhile there’s a line forming,” says John Armstrong, one of the original owners of the Royal Oak vegetarian staple. “It was really meant to be, because everything just fell into place so unbelievably.” Including the team. Armstrong says he always wanted to open a restaurant, and in the early 1980s reached a moment where “it was now or never.” He’d known Maggie O’Meara from working at The Yellow Bean, a vegetarian deli in Detroit, and Norman Turner, who Armstrong describes as “an unbelievable baker,” and the trio decided they would make it a go. But they needed one thing: a chef. Armstrong says they’d heard about a pretty good vegetarian cook in town who had worked with the Hare Krishnas in India and seemed like the perfect fit for the team. Enter George Vutetakis. They passed the word along to a local health food store owner, who approached Vutetakis and told him there were a few people he should meet. “They described their idea for a vegetarian restaurant in Royal Oak with barn wood walls, antique tables, and a menu inspired by the food of Greektown and other places of Detroit’s culinary heritage,” Vutetakis writes in his book “Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes From My Years at the Legendary Inn Season Café.” At first, Vutetakis said no, but the team wouldn’t take no for an answer. Vutetakis
Meant to be Inn Season Café, at 500 E. Fourth Street in Royal Oak, has been delighting diners with vegetarian and vegan cuisine for more than three decades. Visit theinnseasoncafe.com.
writes that Maggie called him “out of the blue” and asked when he wanted to start. He agreed to meet her at the cafe two weeks before the opening date and refers to it now as a “meeting of destiny.” Vutetakis took the job as head chef and over the next few days put together the recipes for an entire menu that drew in-
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spiration from Mediterranean, Mexican and Indian dishes. At the same time, the crew was putting the finishing touches on the building, which had formerly housed an Indian restaurant. “Maggie’s father was working on the leaded glass front door, and others were nailing Continued on 8 »
Dig In Inn season | Continued from 7 up the barn wood and installing kitchen equipment,” Vutetakis writes. Armstrong says everything in the restaurant was done communally. “We just somehow attracted this little pod of people,” he says. The team found tables and chairs at flea markets, repurposed old church pews into booths, and bartered with a friend of a friend to paint murals of broccoli trees, talking carrots, mushroom gnomes and clouds. “That was part of the charm,” Armstrong says. “It wasn’t this slick new restaurant.” Since opening on that fateful day 35 years ago — with a working dishwasher and the health department’s blessing — the restaurant has paved the way for vegetarian and vegan eateries in the area and across the country. Armstrong recalls when the crew learned firsthand what it means to run — and keep up with — a popular restaurant. Revered food critic Molly Abraham of The Detroit News wrote a review that Armstrong describes as “quirky and good,” and after that, the word was officially out. And it wasn’t just the metro Detroit area taking notice. One of Armstrong’s fondest moments during the early years of the Inn Season was when Frances Moore Lappé came into the restaurant. Lappé wrote the 1971 book “Diet for a Small Planet,” which noted the environmental impact of meat production as wasteful and a contributor to global food scarcity. “That was an incredible moment for me,” he says, holding back tears. “That Francis would come in, and she was so incredibly gracious.” Though things were going well at the
“We just wanted to take care of people. I feel incredibly proud and lucky to have had people realize that good food was important and made a difference in your health.” — John Armstrong restaurant, Armstrong and O’Meara had a desire to create something else. “We decided we wanted to have a child,” Armstrong says. In 1985, the pair decided to sell the restaurant to Vutetakis, who continued in the spirit of having a restaurant where everything from the cooking methods to ambiance was tailored for the optimum health and utmost enjoyment of customers. Vutetakis writes in his book that the unspoken motto during his tenure as chef/proprietor was, “Quality of food is synonymous with quality of life.” That’s a theme that has endured since Vutetakis’ departure in 2002. That year, a new owner, Nick Raftis, a longtime friend of Vutetakis, purchased the restaurant. Thomas Lasher, who served as sous chef under Vutetakis, stepped in as head chef. The pair ushered the restaurant into a new chapter, though some of the most important elements remain the same. Raftis says the macrobiotic focus of the restaurant is still paramount, and many of the high-quality ingredients found in the dishes come from a big network of area farmers the team has cultivated relationships with over the years. “It’s hard to do,
and that’s why people don’t do it,” Raftis says of using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The entire menu is vegan — aside from a few dishes that allow diners the choice of dairy cheese — with many delightful gluten-free, soy-free and wheat-free options, and inspirations from all over the globe making an appearance. And there are still lines. On a recent Tuesday morning, groups of lunch-goers gather on the benches outside the green building. Once inside, they excitedly talk about their favorite dishes, a few with fresh herbs to pass along to the servers who carry on the legacy of taking care of guests. In the server’s alley, a few steps outside the small, 600-square-foot kitchen, the phrase, “Remember, we are healers first,” is scrawled on a bulletin board that lists the day’s specials, echoing the sentiment Armstrong says was the impetus for the entire operation. “We just wanted to take care of people,” he says. “I feel incredibly proud and lucky to have had people realize that good food was important and made a difference in your health.” Five years ago, the restaurant celebrated three decades of service, and Armstrong remembers longtime diners telling him he’d changed their lives. “One woman told me we saved her life. It’s just a wonderful feeling to have that go out to all these people.” This year marks the 35th anniversary for the restaurant, and again, the team is celebrating. Raftis says they’re planning multiple events coinciding with Vegetarian Awareness Month in October and look forward to many more years serving the community, a sentiment Armstrong echoes. “I had no idea it would last 35 years, and now I can’t imagine it closing. I don’t think it ever will. It was really meant to be.”
National film features West Bloomfield man About three years ago, Paul Chatlin had a choice: He could treat his heart disease with surgery or a plant-based diet. He chose the latter and says it changed his life for the better. Once healthier, Chatlin turned his focus to helping others. “I felt like I was saved, and I wanted to give back,” he says. With the help of renowned cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn, he founded a
non-profit called Plant Based Nutrition Support Group. The first meeting in March 2014 drew 123 people, and currently the metro Detroit group has roughly 2,500 members. Now Chatlin, a West Bloomfield resident, joins the likes of Drs. T. Colin Campbell and Neal Barnard in a new feature-length documentary titled “Eating You Alive,” which ex-
amines why Americans struggle with chronic health conditions, such as cancer, and offers plantbased nutrition as a solution. “It’s humorous I’m with all these greats,” says Chatlin. “It’s just an honor.” In the film, which includes interviews with medical experts, celebrities, bloggers and chefs from around the world, Chatlin will share his experience with plant-
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based eating. He says filmmakers contacted him because they had heard of PBNSG. “They were shocked by the organization, by the size of it,” he says, adding they then took interest in his personal story. “I guess I had a story that was worthy of them listening to.” “Eating You Alive” is expected to be released this year. Visit eatingyoualive.com and pbnsg.org. — Planted
Pig facts courtesy of veganpeace.com, aspca.org and peta.org. Photo courtesy of Sasha farm.
Hello, I’m Johnny Cash T
his is the story of Johnny Cash. Not the late, great country singer-songwriter, but rather a piglet named by his rescuers, John and Terry, after their favorite singer. This piglet was found injured and helpless in a ditch in Iowa farm country. Most likely, he fell off a transport truck, but his original owners could not be located. His rescuers quickly bonded with the sweet little guy and lovingly nursed him back to health in their home. John says Johnny acted just like a dog. “He would greet me by running up to me and rubbing his snout on my leg, and I could swear he was smiling,” he says. The couple knew, however, he really needed a place where he could run free and live out his life as the intelligent, curious animal he was meant to be. They found SASHA Farm online, and in the wee hours of a bitter cold December day in Michigan, Monte Jackson, co-founder of SASHA Farm, and volunteer and board member Bob Harvie, started the long trip to Iowa. Sadly, most pigs in the United States are raised for food and are not able to demonstrate their intelligence or show the social, playful side of their characters. But Johnny is one of the lucky ones. SASHA Farm volunteers and staff kept him safe, warm and well fed as he started his new life. The volunteers quickly bonded with him and learned he loves to play. Johnny was gradually introduced to the other pigs throughout the winter and early spring since pigs have an established hierarchy and do not always accept new members in their midst. He graduated to a small but roomy hut close to the other pigs but separated by a fence. Now, he could poke his snout through the fence to say howdy, often running back to the volunteers for reassurance
Sweet Rescue Johnny Cash brings many smiles to volunteers at SASHA Farm.
On the Farm before doing it again, just like a young child. May 24 was a great milestone for Johnny. “Little” Johnny was now a big boy. He was allowed to explore the main pig yard and directly interact with the other pigs. Sunday volunteer Alicia MacLean recalls that he excitedly explored every nook and cranny. Today, Johnny lives happily with his brothers and sisters, and brings lots of grins to everyone’s faces. “He follows me around like a puppy and is utterly content and happy,” says Friday volunteer Lauren Hansen. “Sweet is really the best word to describe him.” Adds Harvie: “When we bring him fresh straw for his bed, he plays in it, throws it into the air and arranges it to his liking. It is adorable to watch him make his bed, but it’s also essential for his well-being. When allowed to live out their lives naturally, pigs like to root around and stay busy.” SASHA Farm will be forever grateful to Johnny’s rescuers. It’s hard to imagine SASHA Farm without this playful, loving pig who’s added so much life and fun to the daily routines. Johnny, however, is no longer the new kid on the block. June Carter Cash came to SASHA Farm July 24 and is following in his footsteps. — By Marilyn Royle of SASHA Farm
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Pigs: Learn tricks faster than dogs. Are considered smarter than 3-yearold humans. Rank fourth in animal intelligence behind chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. Learn their names by 2 to 3 weeks of age and respond when called. Are very social, forming close bonds with one another. Can run a mile in 7 minutes. On factory farms Every year, at least 110 million pigs are raised in the U.S. for food. Piglets in factory farms are taken from their mothers and crowded into dark buildings with no outside access when just a few days old. Their mothers are confined to gestation crates where they cannot turn around and often resort to stress- and boredomrelated behavior such as chewing on cage bars. They are slaughtered when they are no longer able to reproduce.
Online extra Johnny Cash’s first day in the pig yard: bit.ly/2aVukrF
About SASHA SASHA Farm in Manchester is the Midwest’s largest farm animal sanctuary. It cares for more than 200 animals, each with their own story to tell. Visit sashafarm.org or call 734-428-9617.
In memory of Terry, who died in July.
Volunteer Spotlight Ann Arbor vegan brings treats, love to animals When/why did you become vegan? I don’t have a typical why-I-went-vegan story. Twenty years ago, I decided on a whim to see how I’d do without cows and pigs on my plate. Of course, it wasn’t difficult at all. About six years after that, I gave up birds, then later seafood. Eight years ago, I gave up dairy and eggs. I learned about the reasons why to not consume these things mostly after I stopped consuming them. I majored in agriculture at Michigan State University and took a lot of heat from fellow students and faculty for not eating mammals. I didn’t understand why they cared so much, but it made me think more about the culture of meat-eating in our society. Years later when I was left just consuming organic milk and eggs, I decided it was a bit silly to not just cut those out of my diet as well. Learning what it actually takes to get meat, dairy and eggs to the table — the toll on animals, and the irony that the dairy and egg industries can be inherently crueler than the meat industries — solidified my resolve to not revert to those products. The countless hours I’ve spent working and bonding with the animals at SASHA Farm also makes going back not an option. You have been a volunteer at SASHA Farm since 2009. What are your responsibilities? When I first started at SASHA Farm, I did what most new volunteers do: scoop poop. Not long after, they asked around for someone to cover the weekly produce pickup from the area Whole Foods stores where they get high-quality produce that would otherwise be composted or thrown away. People always tell me I have the best position at the farm because the animals love me to the extent they recognize my car and come running whenever they see me with the magic white buckets filled with produce. It is deceptively hard work, and there
Meet Alicia Alicia Dawson MacLean was born and raised in mid-Michigan, and holds a degree in agriculture and natural resources communications from Michigan State University. After several years of living in the South, she eventually settled in Ann Arbor (but still proudly wears green and white). When not volunteering at SASHA Farm, she travels for her job as a virtual tour photographer for college and university campuses across the country. Her free time is spent with her husband, Tom, and their dogs and cats.
are times I miss the one-on-one time with the animals while cleaning their yards. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an exceptionally rewarding task. Days when I wake up and am tired and would rather just lounge around and have a full weekend to myself, I remember how happy the animals are to receive treats, and how beneficial fresh fruits and vegetables are for their health. It also happens to be great exercise. I should create a fitness program that combines sprinting in heavy boots while carrying a heavy bucket, artfully maneuvering through a series of horns and hungry mouths. I also help with social media, fundrais-
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ing and animal care. There’s a never-ending list of things to do and learn at a sanctuary. Why is volunteering important? Every day, I see the impact humans have on this planet and its other inhabitants. I have changed and am still evolving my daily habits and actions to have a more positive impact, and to outweigh — or at least try to even out — the negative. I’m not creating a revolution or changing the world, but if who I am and what I do encourages a few others to make a change in their lives, it’s worth it. On a more personal benefit level, the volunteering I do has connected me with some amazing people. I can’t speak highly enough of the dedicated volunteers we have at SASHA Farm. I’ve also learned so much about different animals, including everything from their personalities to their varied biology. I’m equally drawn to bonding with a turkey who wants to sit on my lap and have their head rubbed as I am to seeing a diagnostic lab result on a pig and learning how to best help them. Please share a story about one of the rescued animals at SASHA Farm. Picking just one story is no easy task. I guess an experience that stands out to me happened several years ago when I was feeding pumpkins to cows. Having grown up around and studied agriculture, I’d always heard how stupid cows are. I think we retain a lot of what we were told when younger as fact, until proven otherwise. I tossed a few pumpkins to the cows, and one of the pumpkins didn’t break open. A few cows approached it, sniffed it and moved on. Then a horned steer named Red approached the pumpkin, and just like the others, sniffed it, but he didn’t move on. As if this was something he did on a daily basis, he turned his head and split the pumpkin open with one of his horns — and then of course ate the entire thing without sharing. This “dumb” animal realized he had built-in tools on his head and problem-solved to get his treat. Continued on 11»
Photo courtesy of Alicia MacLean.
Q&A with Alicia MacLean
New sanctuary opening in Michigan
70-acre farm in Chelsea that has been idle for 40 years will soon be a haven for abused and neglected animals. The mission of Barn Sanctuary, scheduled to open in spring 2017, is twofold: to rescue animals and to educate the public about food. “We are a place where visitors can come face to face with the animals they may only know as dinner, and learn about the devastating effects of modern-day farm factories on the animals, the environment and human health,” says Dan McKernan, co-founder and executive director of Barn Sanctuary. “Here you can play with goats in a large open field, sit down with a pig who wants nothing more than a belly rub, cuddle with chickens who seek out your attention, or get nuzzled by some very friendly sheep.” McKernan says his love for animals combined with his knowledge of what happens to them on factory farms inspired him to create Barn Sanctuary. At his disposal was McKernan Family Farms LLC, a farm his family has owned for 150 years but wasn’t using. Restoration is underway on the long-vacant property. There are a shed, chicken coop and large barn to renovate, the perimeter fencing needs repairing,
Family affair Dan McKernan co-founded Barn Sanctuary with his dad, Tom McKernan, who serves as chief operating officer. Rounding out the small staff is Kelly Holt, a board member and head of communications.
Barn Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization.
and piping has to be installed to ensure a constant flow of water for the animals. “Our number-one priority before anything else is making sure our future residents have the best possible living space and care,” says McKernan. “We want them to feel like they are truly free and able to live on their terms.” Once up and running, Barn Sanctuary is expected to house a number of animals, including horses, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats and rabbits. McKernan says the sanc-
Volunteer | Continued from 10 Photos courtesy of barn sanctuary.
Donate Give $25 to become a founding donor. Founding donors receive a sticker and name recognition on the barn. Donate $50 to receive a one-year Barn Sanctuary membership. Support Barn Sanctuary’s cow habitat, chicken coop and goat habitat projects. View the Giving menu at barnsanctuary.org. Volunteer Visit barnsanctuary. org/volunteer to sign up.
What is your advice to others who want to work to benefit animals? Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to help animals? If it’s to play with them and take selfies and have more social connections, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but that should be
tuary is in the process of taking in a five-member donkey family and two miniature donkeys from another Michigan sanctuary. “As we grow and word gets out about Barn Sanctuary, we expect to get more animals,” he says. The sanctuary will be open to the public, with open houses planned for Saturdays and possibly Sundays, and private events on weekdays. McKernan says Barn Sanctuary welcomes everyone, vegan or not. His logic is that making progress outweighs alienating large groups of people.
secondary. Your longevity in the greater animal protection community will be bolstered by finding that drive to make a difference in animal lives, and feeling a sense of accomplishment after hours spent working outside, grant writing or just fighting back against those who think we’re wasting our time. If something you’re doing doesn’t feel
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“When a visitor to Barn Sanctuary meets a cow or a pig for the first time, and wraps their hands around him/her and listens to their heartbeat, this alone can plant a strong seed in their head and heart,” he says. “If, after visiting our sanctuary, someone asks their waiter, ‘Where did this beef come from?’ I truly believe we did our jobs. Progress toward healthier habits, happier animals and sustainable agriculture is what we strive for.” — Planted
like a good fit for you, don’t abandon your passion, as there are so many ways to benefit animals. Not everyone can commit to a weekly schedule of volunteering or find a paid job helping animals, but we can all do something. If everyone put themselves out there, even just in a small way, to help their chosen cause, the world would no doubt be a much kinder and open place.
Andrea Jacobson Global day shines a light on animal suffering In the early morning hours of Oct. 2, 2015, 11 activists gathered at the gates of a small boutique slaughterhouse in Vernon, Calif. Arm in arm, they stopped a truck full of thousands of chickens destined for slaughter and were able to rescue 10 chickens from that horrible fate. On this day, activists around the globe joined them in this effort by commemorating World Day for Farmed Animals. World Day for Farmed Animals was founded by Farm Animal Rights Movement in 1983 as a day to memorialize the billions of farmed animals killed each year. Alex Hershaft, FARM’s founder, chose Oct. 2 as its day to align with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who was, among other things, an outspoken advocate for animals. Throughout three decades of observances, activists in 100 countries have united on this day to call for an end to the use and abuse of animals for food. Some have marked the day by protesting outside slaughterhouses, while others have held candlelight vigils, volunteered at farm animal sanctuaries or hosted film screenings to educate their communities. With veganism fast becoming mainstream, much of our energy and conversation as a movement has shifted toward exciting new vegan products, interesting dinner recipes and finding out who is the latest celebrity to go vegan. Documentaries like “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” and “Forks Over Knives” have created conversation about the environmental and health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Amid the noise, World Day for Farmed Animals is an opportunity for activists to remember the root of their activism: the 60 billion land animals and countless sea animals killed every year for food. They must keep focused on the center of the movement — the suffering of farmed animals — to keep encouraging others to fight for justice until it is achieved. One of the most important parts of the World Day for Farmed Animals campaign is shining a light on the cruelty experienced by farmed animals. In the animal rights movement, most of the attention is (rightly) focused on what animals experience on farms and in slaughterhouses. What many people do not know, however, is the immense cruelty animals suffer from being deprived of food and water as they are packed onto transport trucks and driven to their deaths. The vehicles are overcrowded, and the animals
are inches deep in waste, and subject to weather extremes like heat, wind and cold. It is legal in the United States to deprive cows and pigs of food and water for 28 hours before they are killed. This protection is rarely, if ever, enforced as is, and does not include birds like chickens and turkeys who make up the vast majority of animals killed for food. These animals arrive at slaughterhouses starved and suffering from extreme thirst, scared of what will happen next. Between the physical and emotional stress of transport, it is not uncommon for animals to be dead on arrival. Perhaps they are the lucky ones, for all that lies ahead for those who make it is a cruel and inhumane death. For every observance of World Day for Farmed Animals, Hershaft, a Holocaust survivor, has undertaken a personal fast in solidarity with those animals suffering in transport. In 2014, FARM decided to bring in the fourth decade of this effort by inviting activists to join him and the staff at FARM in a 24-hour Fast Against Slaughter. In the tradition of iconic social justice leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Gandhi, the event has united people to call for an end to the use and abuse of animals for food. Since that time, tens of thousands of activists have joined as one voice on this day to reject the idea that animals are for humans to consume. Through a voluntary sacrifice of food on Oct. 2, participants will amplify the voices of farmed animals suffering around the world; inspire others to learn the truth; and mobilize a compassionate global community of people who will not wait for justice, but make it a reality. We at FARM invite you to join us for the Fast Against Slaughter this year, and encourage you to reach out to your community on or around World Day for Farmed Animals by attending a demonstration or hosting another event. For more information on how to get involved, please visit dayforanimals.org or follow FARM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Andrea Jacobson is the international campaigns manager at FARM where she organizes the World Day for Farmed Animals, Meatout and Vegan Earth Day campaigns. Andrea also manages FARM’s international partnerships, working with grassroots groups around the world. Andrea lives in Portland, Ore., with her beloved canine companion, Polly.
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In billions, the number of land animals killed every year for food.
The year FARM founded World Day for Farmed Animals.
The number of countries in which people unite for World Day for Farmed Animals.
The number of hours FARM staff and other activists fast to raise awareness about the slaughter of animals.
The number of hours it is legal in the U.S. to deprive cows and pigs of food and water before they are killed. Often, it is longer.
About FARM FARM is a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for animals through public awareness initiatives, grassroots campaigns, and programs that nurture aspiring vegans and activists. Visit farmusa.org for more information.
Lydia Sattler Kicking meat just once a week changes lives The American public is more informed and interested than ever before about where our food comes from, and that includes the way farm animals often suffer their entire short lives on factory farms in an attempt to produce more and more meat for a growing population. Although the number of animals raised and killed yearly in the United States steadily rose from 100 million in the 1950s to more than 9 billion today, the number of farmers producing America’s food has decreased significantly. What does it mean for animals when the small family farmer disappears from the land and is replaced by a small number of mega-farms? It means more animals crammed into small spaces to keep up with the demand of consumers. After World War II, a time when everything was becoming more industrialized, a shift in the production of meat, eggs and dairy began, largely to promote efficiency. The resulting fallout is a food production system in America that has greatly compromised the animal husbandry once practiced years ago by traditional farmers. For example, egg-laying hens who families once kept in small flocks are now confined in cages with 5 to 8 other birds in massive warehouses. Due in large part to The Humane Society of the United States’ undercover investigations that expose what goes on behind closed doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses, and intensive campaigns targeted at ending the cruel confinement of farm animals, many consumers are responding
Extended coyote hunting lacks science By Elizabeth Throckmorton When it comes to difficult wildlife management decisions, our emotions often clash with scientific evidence
Meat-free toolkit Visit humanesociety.org/mmtoolkit to learn how to start a Meatless Monday program in your home, community, hospital or school. The HSUS page also includes meat-free recipes and other resources.
responsibly by changing the choices they make at the table. Consumers’ concern for animal welfare is driving retailers to make demands of their suppliers as more and more restaurants, grocery chains and big box stores change their standards by committing to only selling products that adhere to a more humane standard. In just the last 10 months, more than 150 companies have pledged to phase out battery cages from their supply chains, which will allow those egg-laying hens the freedom to move and engage in basic important natural behaviors during their lifetime. While so much progress is taking place to improve animal welfare in the food industry, and it’s becoming less and less socially acceptable to tolerate the suffering of animals to satisfy our palates, there’s still an immense amount of suffering. One thing is certain: We won’t be able to end factory farm abuses while consuming the amount of meat we’re currently eating. Enjoying a meat-free meal even just one day a week has an impact on reducing the suffering of factory farmed animals and reduces the environmental footprint left behind by factory farms.
from biologists. In this case, however, it turns out that science supports the side of animal advocates. Earlier this year, the Natural Resources Commission loosened restrictions on coyote hunting in Michigan — coyotes may now be hunted year-round and at night under certain conditions. Not surprisingly, this news is welcomed by many people since coyotes are routinely accused of threatening livestock,
Eating less meat is not only good for you and the environment; it can be simple and delicious. Hundreds of schools — such as Detroit and Ann Arbor public schools — are thankful for the opportunity to educate their students on important social and environmental issues such as this, while feeding students healthy, delicious meals. What better way is there than practicing Meatless Monday? Meatless Monday is a movement. More and more institutions are practicing Meatless Monday once the idea is introduced to them, and they learn all the benefits associated with it. You can share the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle with your family and friends as well as invite larger institutions in your community to participate. Reducing consumption of meat and other animal-based foods, refining our diets to avoid foods that come from the most deplorable production systems, and replacing meat with plant-based foods are simple, yet effective ways to help our health, the planet and animals. Every conscious decision we make affects the lives of those around us and that includes all living creatures. We can make a positive difference one delicious meat-free meal at a time. Lydia Sattler leads the fight for animal protection in the Great Lakes state as Michigan state director of The Humane Society of The United States. Lydia has six years of experience as a state director for The HSUS and a background as a shelter director and animal control officer.
competing with hunters for deer and simply being nuisances. In contrast, many others strongly oppose taking these smart, social and ecologically important predators. Lethal control has obvious ethical implications, but has also been scientifically demonstrated to be essentially ineffective in solving the aforementioned problems. Researchers have found it is difficult to implement, may not be a viable tool for most land
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managers looking to improve deer populations, and is unlikely to cause negative long-term impacts on coyote populations. As renowned ecologist and animal activist Dr. Marc Bekoff puts it, “Killing does not and never has worked,” and it is “ethically indefensible to wantonly go out and kill coyotes because they try to live among us.” Elizabeth Throckmorton lives in Lansing and has a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife.
Send in the Squash
Three ways to enjoy this healthy seasonal treat
Butternut Squash Tacos Taco Filling 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons cumin 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 teaspoon guajillo chili powder 1 ∕2 teaspoon Mexican oregano 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1- to 1 ½-inch pieces 1 cup vegetable broth 1 ∕2 teaspoon salt, or to taste Pepper to taste Lime Crema ∕2 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 to 6 hours Juice of 1 lime 1 ∕2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste 1 1 ∕4- ∕2 cup water, plus more if needed 1
For Serving Corn tortillas, warmed Avocado slices
Salsa Chopped cilantro 1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder and oregano. Stir, making sure to coat all the onions with the spice mixture. 2. Add the butternut squash and stir to coat with onions. Cook for 5 minutes. 3. Pour in the broth. Let the liquid cook 2 to 3minutes.Cover the pot and reduce the heat. Simmer 15 to 20minutes, until the squash is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. 4. Meanwhile, make the crema. Drain the cashews from their soaking liquid, then put them into ahigh-speed blender with the lime juice and salt. Pour in ¼ cup of water. Blend, pouring in additional water as needed to reach Planted | 14
Meet the blogger Jeni Hernandez is a vegan food blogger at Thyme & Love. She creates healthy, wholesome recipes that both vegans and omnivores will find delicious, and uses the blog as a platform to share her love of vegan food. When she isn’t busy in the kitchen, she loves traveling. Many of her recipes are inspired by her travels to Mexico, one of her favorite places. Website: thymeandlove.com a consistency that can easily be drizzled over the tacos. Taste for seasonings. Add more salt or lime juice if needed. 5. Use a comal or skillet to warm the corn tortillas. Put filling into the tortillas, then top with lime crema, salsa, avocado slices and cilantro.
Photos courtesy of Jeni Hernandez, Anjali Shah and Susan Kline. Story by Planted.
Michigan cook puts vegan spin on classic dishes Those who switch to a plantbased lifestyle don’t have to give up any of the classic dishes they grew up eating and loving. That’s the idea longtime Michigan vegan Susan Kline hopes to Susan Kline illustrate with the 300 recipes in her cookbook, “Down To Earth Vegan Cooking.” “My goal was to create meatless and dairy-free versions of familiar foods that even meat-eaters will enjoy,” she says. “These recipes eliminate animal products and introduce alternatives and more nutritionally beneficial swaps for flavors that not only resemble, but maybe even surpass, the originals.” Kline, who became vegan more than 25 years ago because of her compassion for animals, says many of the recipes in her cookbook are noted favorites from the numerous cooking classes she’s taught. She says her love of cooking motivated her to teach, and also, to host vegan potlucks. In October 2015, she started Metro Detroit Vegan Diners, a Meetup group with members who get together twice a month to visit veg-friendly restaurants in metro Detroit. In addition to recipes, “Down To Earth Vegan Cooking” contains Kline’s favorite quotes, as well as food trivia and environmental tips. She says the cookbook is for both vegans and non-vegans. “From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, the recipes in this cookbook will dispel the myth that vegan food is limited and unappetizing,” she says. To order Kline’s cookbook, email her at email@example.com.
Cookbook Giveaway Enter to win a free copy of “Down To Earth Vegan Cooking” by Susan Kline. Visit plantedmagazine. com/giveaway to fill out an entry form.
Indian Spiced Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” 1 spaghetti squash One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained One 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes 4 cloves garlic, minced 11∕2teaspoons ground cumin 1 ∕2teaspoon ras al hanout 1 ∕2teaspoon ground coriander 1 ∕8teaspoon cayenne 3 ∕4teaspoon salt Chopped cashews Chopped cilantro for garnish 1. Heat the oven to 375 F. 2. Prep the spaghetti squash. Cut it in half and scrape out all the seeds and pulp, then roast it face down in an oiled baking dish for 40 minutes. Let cool. 3. Use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti squash until you have a bowl full of cooked squash “pasta.” 4. Set the squash aside, then heat a large pot over medium heat. 5. Put the chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic and all the spices (cumin through salt) into the pot. Cover. Bring to a boil, then
reduce and simmer until the chickpeas have softened, about 15 to 30 minutes. Once the chickpeas have cooked, add the spaghetti squash to the pot. Stir to combine. 6. Toss with cashews and cilantro. Serve.
Meet the blogger Anjali Shah is a food writer, board certified health coach and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food blog. Her work has appeared on Oprah.com, CNN and Food Network. Anjali grew up a “whole wheat” girl, but married a “white bread” guy. Hoping to prove nutritious food could be delicious, she learned to cook and transformed her husband’s eating habits. Website: pickyeaterblog.com
Quinoa and "Sausage" Stuffed Acorn Squash 2 small acorn squash, sliced in half, seeds removed 1 ∕ 2 cup quinoa, rinsed 11∕ 4 cups vegetable broth Filling 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 1 cup chopped broccoli 1 cup diced red bell pepper 2 meatless sausage links, sliced (e.g., Field Roast Smoked Apple and Sage) 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning Salt and pepper, to taste 2 cloves garlic, minced Vegan butter spread 1. Heat the oven to 375 F. 2. Pour water into a 9- by 13-inch baking
dish until 1∕4-inch deep. Bake the squash halves, cut side down, for 30 minutes. 3. Put the quinoa into a small saucepan with the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, then simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has softened. 4. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and sauté the onion, broccoli, red pepper, sausage slices, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until softened. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. 5. Remove the squash from the dish and discard the remaining liquid. Return the squash to the dish and put 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter into the cavity of each squash half. Then generously mound filling into each and bake for 20 minutes. — Recipe by Susan Kline (see story at left)
» Bonus Recipe: Everyday Pumpkin Pie by Jill Ovnik, Page 27 Planted | 15
Grand rapids vegfest
Chef channels passion into vegan cookie company
By Michael c. Reed
s promised, J.R. Renusson, the proprietor of Bit Baking Company, is at his business on Ridgemoor Drive, just north of 28th street in Kentwood, at 8:30 a.m. He is a lean, friendly 34-year-old, wearing jeans, an MXTP T-shirt, a Bit Baking Company ball cap and a dramatic upperright-arm tattoo. ¶ About that shirt. Renusson has several what might be called alternative interests. From 2008 to 2012, he and his then-fiancée, Jess, were seriously into hosting pop/rock/metal music concerts featuring bands such as New Found Glory and Sleeping With Sirens. They ran their own venue in Grand Rapids, first called Mixtape Café & Music Venue, then simply MXTP. A photo from that era shows a young-looking Renusson with long, stringy hair and a perhaps tired expression. ¶ The focus back then was music. Now it’s vegan cookies.
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With: Festival Preview — Page 21 Robert Grillo Q&A — Page 24
• photography BY •
Terry Johnston J.R. Renusson, founder of Bit Baking Company, scoops some cookie dough onto a baking sheet at his newly opened baking facility in Kentwood.
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Grand rapids vegfest
Bit Baking Company cookies are vegan and gluten-free, and retail for about $2 to $3 each.
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Renusson forms each cookie by hand, which he says often leads to sore hands and fingers.
In June 2015, Renusson left his job at Savory Foods to focus on building Bit Baking Company, with Bit standing for “believe in this.” He told Jess, by now his wife, “You’ve got to believe in this.” She was concerned about him quitting his job and the family losing income. He said, “It makes me sick to go to work and feed the machine with eggs and milk. We are vegan, but I don’t feel I am supporting my cause.” Starting at age 13, Renusson worked as an apprentice at pastry shops around the world. That experience laid the foundation for Bit Baking Company. “My plan originally,” he says, “was just to make a vegan cookie.” At first, Bit Baking Company was based in Hudsonville where B.C. Pizza allowed Renusson to borrow its kitchen after hours.
The original three-month agreement turned into seven months, at which point Renusson felt he had worn out his welcome. In February 2016, he left Hudsonville and moved his business to a new location. The facility is about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, with most of its baking equipment at the northern end. His equipment includes a convection oven, freezers, stainless steel work tables, a professional mixing bowl with a large steel paddle, a scale for weighing ingredients and a machine to seal individual cookies. The opposite end has tables and chairs for meetings. Renusson says he is happy to allow vegan groups to use the meeting space at no charge. It quickly becomes apparent that Renusson has a strong commitment to his morals and does not want to bake cookies in a windowless factory. His facility, by the way, has
numerous windows looking out onto the street. Renusson has always had an aversion to being a conventional cook working on a line in a fast-paced restaurant where wait staff put up tickets left and right. He definitely likes his independence and peace of mind. So, what is he ultimately trying to do? “Get people to take a chance and see that vegan food tastes wonderful,” he says. Renusson became vegetarian when he was 19 after seeing a video showing a pig being slaughtered. After that, he vowed he would never eat meat again. He became vegan in 2010. Jess and the couple’s two children, London, 3, and Jude, 1, are also vegan. Renusson, who usually works alone in the bakery aside from occasional help from friends or his mom, bakes anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 cookies per week.
• A bit of information • Flavors Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, Cocoa Chocolate Chunk.
Shop Bit Baking Company cookies are available online, and at about 30 stores and 20 coffee shops.
Other Renusson’s line of frozen vegan meals for Cole’s Quality Foods will be available this fall.
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Connect bitbaking.com facebook.com/bitbaking twitter.com/bitbaking
Grand rapids vegfest
Renusson carries a tray of raw cookies. At far right, cookies sit in an oven after baking.
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Originally he had six kinds of cookies, but his father-in-law recommended he reduce the number to four. The remaining cookie flavors are Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk and Cocoa Chocolate Chunk. Renusson’s cookie recipes involve a variety of substitutions: organic palm oil instead of butter; dates in place of eggs; and white rice and tapioca flours rather than wheat flour with gluten. He also uses Michigan beet sugar for sweetening and cocoa butter chocolate without milk. Renusson is always on the lookout for the best prices on cookie ingredients. A challenge right now is finding organic corn syrup in sufficiently large containers. Currently, Renusson sells cookies to about 30 stores and 20 coffee shops. The stores include D&W Fresh Market, Harvest Health, Sawall Health Foods, Health Hutt and Natural Health Center. Cookie prices are determined by the store and tend to range from about $2 to $3 per cookie. Renusson’s vision is that by July 2017, his cookies will be available in more than 1,000 locations throughout Michigan and the Midwest. A vegan food broker in Detroit is helping him plan his expansion. “They’re really well received,” says Ryan Atsma, a buyer at the Hudsonville Harvest
Health Foods location. “People like that they’re local, and they’re pretty addicting once you try them.” He says Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk — which he hasn’t tried due to a nut allergy — and Cocoa Chocolate Chunk, his favorite, are the store’s best-selling flavors. Atsma, who served Bit Baking Compa-
ny cookies at his wedding, says the cookies sell to both vegans and non-vegans. “I know there are people who are vegan who appreciate they are vegan, but a lot of people don’t even realize it,” he says. “We have a sign saying they’re vegan, but I think they taste so good people don’t care whether they are or not.”
2016 event to feature more vendors, food By Michael C. Reed Before last year, the only VegFest in Michigan was in metro Detroit. That changed last year with the arrival of a similar event on the state’s west side. Grand Rapids VegFest, returning Sept. 18 for its second year, is about “veganism and vegetarianism, healthy lifestyles, compassion for animals and conservation of the environment,” says co-organizer Kim Enochs. Enochs started the expo in 2015 with friend Erica Wisniewski. Impressed with VegFest in Novi, which Enochs first attended about four years ago, she and Wisniewski decided to bring a similar event to their area. “Traveling two and a half hours is too much for
some people,” Enochs says. Enochs and Wisniewski, along with co-organizer Stephanie Albertson, work with about six other committed volunteers to plan and run VegFest, which is now under the umbrella of Plant-Based Solutions, a nonprofit organization. The organizers also partner with Grand Rapids Veg Meetup Group for events such as VegFest volunteer orientation. The 2016 VegFest will feature food samples, cooking demonstrations, a variety of vendors with plant-based products, activities for children and guest speakers. This year’s speaker lineup comprises Will Tuttle, Ph.D.; Drs. Michael Klaper and Kristi Artz; Robert Grillo; and Elizabeth Olsen. Wellness expert Michele Fife will serve
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as master of ceremonies. Wisniewski said last year’s festival was a success. “We were hoping for 500 visitors, and 1,500 people showed up,” she says. Enochs says a lack of food options was the only major complaint from event-goers. This year, organizers plan to have more concessions. “We’ve been reaching out to vegan-friendly restaurants and food businesses in Grand Rapids and Michigan,” she says. Adding vendors is also a goal. The 2015 event showcased 50 vendors, and this year organizers are hoping for 80 to 100. Grand Rapids VegFest is from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 18 at the DeltaPlex Arena, 2500 Turner Ave. in Grand Rapids. Visit grvegfest.com for tickets and more information.
Grand rapids vegfest
Fresh-baked cookies cool off. Currently, Bit Baking Company offers vegan cookies in four flavors.
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Renusson labels cookies. Below, a sign that plays off a Donald Trump slogan sits in front of the facility.
Renusson also sells cookies at various expos, including Grand Rapids VegFest, where he will return this year as a vendor. He said he’s been to many veg expos, but the Grand Rapids one tops his list; it’s right in his backyard, and last year his product was well-received. “It’s run by an amazing group of volunteers all coming together for the purpose of compassion toward animals,” he says. “Last year we sold out about two hours before VegFest ended, so this year we will be better prepared.” It was at the inaugural VegFest where Ellie Haun first tried Renusson’s cookies. “They were the best cookies I’ve ever eaten,” says Haun, a 17-year-old graduate of
East Grand Rapids High School who plans to study food science this fall at Michigan State University. “I generally don’t like gluten-free products, but I loved these cookies.” Haun, who runs a food blog called Peanut Butter and Ellie, later welcomed Renusson as a speaker at the veggie club she started at her school. Renusson has come a long way from the gluten-free cookie dough he was asked to come up with at Savory Foods, where he was director of both quality control and gluten-free research from 2012 to 2015. He was also asked to make gluten-free pizza doughs, which he says are now popular everywhere. Renusson took over the gluten-free cookie dough assignment from his dad, the talented pastry chef Gilles Renusson, who teaches at Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. Gilles is from Château-du-Loir in France, about 150 miles southwest of Paris. Although Renusson, whose initials stand for Jean-René, does not speak French, he visits France every three years for family reunions. Both Renusson’s father and father-inlaw are strong supporters of his business.
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Renusson says his father told him, “If the band thing fails, you will always have work in the kitchen. He made me finish my culinary education. What he didn’t expect is that I would become vegan.” In addition to his cookie line, Renusson recently developed a line of frozen, microwaveable vegan foods for Muskegon-based Cole’s Quality Foods, maker of frozen garlic bread. Renusson, who consulted for Cole’s while starting up Bit Baking Company, came up with macaroni and cheese, lasagna, enchilada and pot pie. The line will be available in late October. Within five years, Renusson hopes he’s creating vegan fare for his own projects, including a chain of fast food places. Jess says the restaurants will be “like McDonald’s, but with a vegan menu.” He and his wife also have plans for what they call The Plantation, a fancy, sit-down restaurant located in a yet-to-be-determined rural setting. In the meantime, eating out is not a problem for Renusson and Jess. “We can go to any restaurant and have a great meal,” he says. “You just have to be creative with the garnish.” P
Grand rapids vegfest Presenter Q&A
Robert Grillo Robert Grillo is the founder and director of Free from Harm, a nonprofit that focuses on educational outreach and activism. His new book, “Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal Consuming Behavior,” examines why people eat animals. He will speak at 3 p.m. Sept. 18 at Grand Rapids VegFest. You became vegan in your 40s. What led to your interest in veganism and animal rights? The main catalyst for me was watching certain documentaries like “Food, Inc.” in 2009 and my ensuing state of shock at what I didn’t know, or chose to ignore for so much of my life, about the suffering of animals. “Food, Inc.” led me to believe that a viable humane alternative exists if only we have the will to pursue it. I believed that message, uneasily, for about two weeks. That’s about how long it took me to evaluate basic farming facts and standards, and conclude that the conditions on even the highest welfare farms were marginal, not substantive. From a practical standpoint, I also found that these high-welfare farms represent only 1 to 2 percent and will only ever serve an elite niche market. More importantly, it confounded me how the humane movement could place so much value on better treatment without even contemplating the value of any individual farmed animal’s life. In other words, how can it not be OK to kick an animal but be just fine to slash her throat? How is a farmer who wins an animal’s trust by treating her better while fully intending to kill her to sell her body parts any different than a desensitized farm worker who has no relationship with the animals? Tell us about Free from Harm, the organization you founded in 2009. Free from Harm began as a website, which I decided was the best way for me to leverage my creative and marketing skills to help the animal cause. Seven years later, FFH operates as a nonprofit with numerous contributors and volunteers yet still remains focused on what it does well: online educational outreach and activism. In 2015 we reached at least
19 million web users with our content on a budget of about $45,000. We do some community outreach, tabling and presenting at various festivals. We also help people in the Chicago area with the rescue and adoption of abandoned domestic birds. These birds are mostly chickens, but we have also assisted in the rescue and adoption of quail, guinea fowl, ducks and pigeons. Our rescue work gives us invaluable experiences on so many levels. Most importantly, we learn that the kinds of relationships we have with farmed animals are fundamentally the same as the some-70 percent of Americans who have dogs and cats as companion animals. We prove it through true stories, videos and images we broadcast to millions of people online. Part of Free from Harm’s work is saving farmed animals. Please share a rescue story. It would have to be Ezra the rooster, who passed away in June. Ezra was a strikingly handsome black rooster who was found in a cemetery by police in January 2014 after an eyewitness discovered him half-buried in the snow in front of a headstone. His legs were tightly bound with rope, to which had been tied a small doll, ribbons, and a piece of fatty, raw meat. Ezra was likely the victim of a ritual sacrifice. He languished helplessly in this spot for at least a week during two of the worst winter storms the Midwest has seen in years, all without food or water. He survived several days of subzero temperatures, dangerously cold winds and almost 2 feet of snowfall. It is truly amazing he did not die. As soon as Ezra was released to us, we rushed him to an animal hospital. His condition was serious, but stable. He pulled through
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surgery to remove parts of his feet that had developed gangrene. He had a systemic infection that was treated with antibiotics. The incredible outcome of this ordeal was that Ezra learned to walk — and even run — on his leg stumps, chasing his two hen friends around the yard. We found him a loving home with a caretaker named Melissa Summer Pena who developed a deep bond with him during his final years of life. One day, he quickly died in her arms. It was probably heart failure. As a marketing professional, you helped sell major food industry brands. How does that experience help you sell a new message as an animal activist? Ironically, being a marketing communications professional for more than 20 years led me to conclude that corporate marketing is actually a woefully inadequate model for animal advocacy, or any other social justice advocacy for that matter. I’ll just give you the Reader’s Digest version of this, but my new book elaborates further. Marketing doesn’t care about the truth; it cares about “what works,” but even when it gets things right, it’s often just a very shallow, short-sighted understanding of “what works.” The logic of marketing is far more sinister than that. If a lie “works,” marketing
considers its test a success. But you’ve got to keep things fresh and new. So soon it’s on to the next lie. This model is spectacularly successful. In fact, marketing is largely responsible for why at least 95 percent of our population believes consuming animals is the right thing to do. This is why marketing cannot honestly inform advocacy that has any serious truth to expose, and that wants to maintain any shred of integrity or credibility. Even so, there is much we can and should learn about how marketing operates and how it can trick otherwise well-intentioned, compassionate people to engage in all kinds of destructive behavior, such as waging war, eating animals, driving gas-guzzling SUVs, and supporting sweatshop labor and slavery. Yet, even with this track record, marketing is revered in mainstream animal advocacy as the gold standard by which we measure the success of our work. I think this is terribly marginalizing and dehumanizing. Some would say marketing can be used as a tool and force for good, and I would cautiously agree, to the extent it is actually used to advance the qualities that make us compelling spokespeople for our cause, and to the extent that it advances qualities like truth, transparency, integrity and trust with our audience.
But we don’t need marketing to communicate those qualities nor “test” if they are “effective.” Our truth is compelling on so many levels, and an audience weary of marketing deception and lies is hungrier than ever before for the truth we have to tell. What are some of the most pressing obstacles facing the farmed animal protection movement? How do activists overcome them? Most of animal advocacy is squarely focused on behavior change, but it seems almost taboo to take a hard look at the beliefs that drive that behavior. That must change. I believe our single greatest obstacle is the deeply entrenched beliefs that drive animal consuming behavior and culture. Because of this, I’ve focused my work on finding creative ways of challenging the beliefs that drive that behavior. This is the hard and sometimes even messy work that is absolutely necessary for change. It’s far more appealing to win over someone with a good vegan chocolate mousse. We get positive reinforcement for our baking skills as well as acceptance and, in turn, they get something pleasing from us. Seems like a win-win on the surface. The problem is our end goal of influencing someone doesn’t
Photos courtesy of free from harm.
Ezra perches on a towel the day he is rescued.
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necessarily follow from our premise of giving him what he wants. In other words, the mousse alone cannot fundamentally change things. We must successfully challenge the beliefs behind consuming animals to foster meaningful change for animals. You recently finished your first book, “Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture.” What is it about? In the research and writing of the book, I realized many of us are already familiar with the good reasons and arguments for following a vegan lifestyle: improving health, reducing impacts on environment and climate change, world hunger, food insecurity, depletion of resources, and, of course, the needless suffering of other animals. There have been many excellent books written on the subject. Still, most people continue to consume animals even knowing all of these good reasons. Why is that? Could it be that people have a deeply held set of beliefs that they have a right to use and/or consume non-human animals? This is the fundamental question my book seeks to answer. I believe the answer is two-fold. First, the beliefs about eating animals remain largely unexamined and therefore unchallenged. Second, the fictions of popular culture continually reinforce these beliefs. The book examines many of the most common fictions and dissects examples in our everyday lives. It also provides important insights for animal advocates that I believe can greatly empower our work. Carol Adams, the pioneering author of “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” wrote the preface for the book. That is a great honor. Adams was one of a handful of authors who helped me evaluate our culture through a certain kind of critical lens I think is so important. I have a presentation of the same name as the book. There is a live recording available of the recent presentation I gave at the Albany VegFest in June. The book is due out this fall.
CALENDAR [ SEPTEMBER ] Protest Busch’s Market in Ann Arbor (with The Humane League). 1-2 p.m. Sept. 7. 2240 S. Main St. Cascades Humane Society Gala. Sept. 10. Country Club of Jackson, 3135 Horton Road. chspets.org. Al-Van Humane Society’s 13th annual Par 4 Paws. Sept. 11. HawksHead Links, 523 Hawks Nest Dr., South Haven. al-van.org. Ten Invisible/Delicious Ways to Add More Plants to Your Diet. 2-3:30 p.m. Sept. 11. Natural Health Center of Kalamazoo, 4610 W. Main St. vegankalamazoo.com. Cooking Class: Intro to Vegan Proteins. 6 p.m. Sept. 13. People’s Food Coop, 507 Harrison St. vegankalamazoo.com. Michigan Pet Fund Alliance’s 2016 No Kill conference. Sept. 15-16. Holiday Inn Gateway Centre, 5353 Gateway Centre, Flint. michiganpetfund.org. Antrim County Pet & Animal Watch Cat and Dog Adopt-AThon. Sept. 16-18. PetSmart, 2544 Crossing Circle, Traverse City. acpaw.org. Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter’s Strut Your Mutt Charity Walk & 5K Fun Run. 8:45 a.m. Sept. 17. Mattson Lower Harbor Park, 200 Lakeshore Boulevard, Marquette. upaws.org. Grand Rapids VegFest. 10:30 a.m.5 p.m. Sept. 18. DeltaPlex Arena, 2500 Turner Ave. grvegfest.com. SASHA Farm guided tour. 11 a.m.2 p.m. Sept. 18. 17901 Mahrle Road, Manchester. sashafarm.org. Chickpea and Bean Presentation. 6-7 p.m. Sept. 21. Clinton-Macomb Public Library, 40900 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township. vegmichigan.org. Farm to Fork Dinner. 6-9 p.m. Sept. 24. Willow Pond Farm, 77940 McFadden Road, Armada. vegmichigan.org. Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions. 1-3 p.m. Sept. 24. Royal Oak. march4elephantsandrhinos.org. Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit fundraiser. 3-10 p.m. Sept. 25. Dearborn Brewing, 21930 Michigan Ave. metrodetroitanimals.org. Animals and Nature Discussion Group: Animal Memoir. 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 28. Kalamazoo Public Library (Central Branch), 315 S. Rose St. vegankalamazoo.com. Vegan Late Summer Harvest. 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 29. Grand Rapids
Send your calendar events to firstname.lastname@example.org
Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave. S.W. downtownmarketgr.com. CHAR: 2016 Vegan BBQ. 7 p.m. Sept. 30. Location to be announced two hours before event. Grand Rapids area. [ October ] Capital Area Humane Society’s 24th annual Walk for Animals. Oct. 1. Fitzgerald Park,133 Fitzgerald Park Dr., Grand Ledge. cahs-lansing.org. 4th annual Bark in the Dark. 5 p.m. Oct. 8. Riverside Park, 2001 Monroe Ave. N.E., Grand Rapids. barkinthedark.org. Humane Society of Midland County’s 6th annual Ties & Tails Gala. 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 15. Midland Country Club, 1120 W. St. Andrews Road. hsomc.org/gala. 11th annual Guardians for Animals Pet Expo & Adoption Event. Oct. 15-16. Madison Place, 876 Horace Brown Dr., Madison Heights. guardiansforanimalspetexpo.org. Humane Animal Treatment Society’s 6th annual Bow Wow Bash. 6 p.m. Oct. 21. Comfort Inn & Suites, 2424 S. Mission St., Mount Pleasant. hatsweb.org. Ales for Tails beer tasting benefit for the dogs of PROUD Detroit. 6-10 p.m. Oct. 22. Waltz Rustic Manor, 28508 Mineral Springs, New Boston. proudinthed.org. 5th annual FurRaiser banquet dinner. Oct. 27. Location TBA. Escanaba. deltaanimal.org. 16th annual Black Tie & Tails fundraiser for Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit. 7 p.m.midnight Oct. 28. The Dearborn Inn (Marriott Hotel), 20301 Oakwood. metrodetroitanimals.org. SASHA Farm’s annual fundraising banquet and auction. 5:3011 p.m. Oct. 28. Meeting House Grand Ballroom, 499 S. Main St., Plymouth. sashafarm.org. [ November ] Antrim County Pet & Animal Watch Christmas Craft Show. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 5. West Bay Beach Holiday Inn Resort, 615 E. Front St., Traverse City. acpaw.org. Lucky Day Animal Rescue Out of this Galaxy Gala 2.0. 5-9 p.m. Nov. 5. Genesys Banquet and Conference Center, 805 Health Park Blvd., Grand Blanc. luckydayanimalrescue.org. 27th annual Tail Waggers Bowl. Nov. 12. Woodland Lanes, 33775
Plymouth Road, Livonia. tailwaggers1990.org. Northern Vegans annual vegan Thanksgiving Day potluck. 2 p.m. Nov. 24. Immanuel Lutheran Church, 520 U.S. 41 E., Negaunee. northernvegans.com. VegMichigan’s annual Vegan Thanks-Living Potluck Dinner. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Nov. 26. Troy. vegmichigan.org. [ Ongoing/multiple ] Michigan Humane Society Mega March for Animals: Sept. 10. Civic Center Park, 23101 Hall Road, Woodhaven. Sept. 25. Belle Isle, Detroit. Oct. 2. Kensington Metropark, 4570 Huron River Parkway, Milford. Oct. 2. Stony Creek Metropark, 4300 Main Park Dr., Shelby Township. More details: michiganhumane.org. Plant Based Nutrition Support Group lecture series: Drs. Robert Breakey and Tarman Aziz, and cancer warrior Anna Rusinowski. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 8. Birmingham Groves High School, 20500 W. 13 Mile Road, Beverly Hills. Rich Roll. 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 26. Seaholm High School, 2436 W. Lincoln St., Birmingham. Dr. Garth Davis, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 10, Seaholm High School. Chef AJ. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 13. Birmingham Groves High School. More details: pbnsg.org. Plant Based Nutrition Support Group Transition 101 class: 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 15. Beaumont Health & Fitness Center, 25631 Little Mack Ave., Saint Clair Shores. 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 3. Beaumont Health & Fitness Center. More details: pbnsg.org. Will Tuttle lecture tour: Sept. 7. One Tribe Yoga, 141 N. Main St., Brooklyn. Sept. 8. Lifetime Athletic, 4106 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Township. Sept. 12. Chive Kitchen, 33043 Grand River Ave., Farmington. Sept. 13. First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Road. Sept. 14. Lansing Capital Area District Library, 401 S. Capitol Ave. Sept. 16. Spirit Space, 3493 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck. Sept. 18. Grand Rapids VegFest. DeltaPlex Arena, 2500 Turner Ave. Sept. 18, 19. Unity of Grand Rapids church, 1711 Walker Ave. N.W.
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Sept. 20. Western Michigan University, 820 Rankin Ave. More details: worldpeacediet.org. Veg101 Cooking Classes: 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 13, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13. Ann Arbor Whole Foods, 3135 Washtenaw Ave. To register, call 734-997-7500. 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 4 and Dec. 6. Rochester Hills Whole Foods, 2918 Walton Blvd. To register, call 248-371-1400. More details: vegmichigan.org. VegMichigan Library Displays: Oct. 1. Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road. Oct. 1. Milford Public Library, 330 Family Drive. Nov. 1. Canton Public Library, 1200 S. Canton Center. More details: vegmichigan.org. [ meetups and more ] Chickpea and Bean. Clinton Township. chickpeaandbean.com. Friendly Vegans SE Michigan. meetup.com/friendlyveg. Grand Rapids Area Vegan Supper Club. stirthepotgr.com/ supperclub. Grand Rapids Veg Meetup Group. meetup.com/veg_grandrapids. Greater Lansing Vegan Dinner Club. meetup.com/vegmichigan-greater-lansing. Flower of Life Raw Food + Longevity Meetup Group. meetup. com/floweroflife-raw-longevity. Healthy In Healthy Out. meetup. com/lansing-raw-foods. Living Vegan Social Club. meetup.com/vegan-kalamazoo-meetup. Metro Detroit Vegan Diners. meetup.com/metro-detroit-vegan-diners. Northern Vegans. northernvegans.com. Plant Based Nutrition Support Group. Ann Arbor, Clarkston, Clawson, Dearborn, Southfield, West Bloomfield. pbnsg.org. Plant Powered for Health. plantpoweredforhealth.com. S.M.A.R.T. — Southeastern Michigan Animal Rights Team. meetup.com/smart-southeastern-michigan-animal-rights-team. The Ann Arbor Vegan Meetup Group (sponsored by VegMichigan). meetup.com/vegmichigan. VegAnnArbor. meetup.com/ vegannarbor. Vegan Detroit. meetup.com/ vegan-99. Veg Lakeshore. Holland area. facebook.com/veglakeshore.
Before you go ...
Everyday Pumpkin Pie Crust Use a pre-made pie crust or sprinkle the bottom of a pie pan with a handful of granola to make a crust. Filling One 15-ounce can pumpkin One 15- to 16-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained 1½ cups dates, soaked in warm water and drained, or 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons egg replacer powder or ground flax 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon cloves ¼ teaspoon nutmeg Chopped pecans or almonds (optional) 1. Heat the oven to 350 F. 2. Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. If you are using dates, add soaking water or milk as needed to blend well. 3. Pour filling into your crust of choice. 4. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely before attempting to slice. 5. If desired, top with chopped nuts.
Photo courtesy of Jill ovnik.
Meet the chef Jill Ovnik, a certified food educator with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, has been passionate about healthy eating since 1998. Ovnik is a Food for Life instructor for Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, marketing director at Healthy Facts Inc. and founder of VeganGal.com. In 2005 Ovnik wrote and produced a DVD called “Change Your Food, Change Your Life.” Websites: vegangal.com and healthyfactsinc.com
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for all animals.
#1 in cruelty prevention—attacking the root causes of puppy mills, pet overpopulation, animal fighting, factory farming and other problems #1 in animal rescue and sanctuary— along with our affiliates, caring for more than 170,000 animals in 2015 #1 in professionalizing the field of animal care and welfare through our training conferences, educational materials and publications The HSUS receives top ratings from: • Guidestar’s Philanthropedia: The HSUS is the #1 high-impact animal group • Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance: The HSUS meets all 20 standards • Worth Magazine: The HSUS is a top 10 fiscally responsible charity