COK in LA: Fall and Winter Outreach Encourages Thousands to Choose Veg Foods

Written by Jaya Bhumitra

Veg FoodLos Angeles is a busy city. Accordingly, our Los Angeles office is a busy office.

With what, you ask? Well, you heard about our Tofurky Roast feed-in, giving more than 400 consumers a taste of compassion before the Thanksgiving holiday. And our Tofurky sandwich feed-in in honor of Meatless Monday, Vegetarian Awareness Month, and Food Day. Or what about when we tabled at the popular Abbot Kinney Festival, held humane education workshops for lawyers and activists, and kicked-off the Labor Day weekend with a Bring-a-Friend BBQ?

And there’s so much more to tell you about! In October we tabled at a Pepperdine University Wellness Fair, and leafleted at the Occupy Los Angeles camp where we educated hundreds of social justice activists about the $10 billion dairy industry price-fixing scheme we uncovered. We empowered them to take a stand against the abusive and unethical practices of agribusiness simply by choosing veg foods. And of course, we had free vegan snacks on hand to fuel the hungry protestors.

Los Angeles isn’t just known for being progressive though—it’s also got glitz! The very next night we glammed up and went to the city premiere of Vegucated, the award-winning, guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. One of our favorite outreach-oriented movies of the year, the film had us laughing and crying while cleverly making the case for compassionate food choices. Inspired, both long-time vegans and new vegetarians picked up our Vegetarian Guide to Los Angeles at the after-party to support their commitment to humane eating.

Veg Food

In November, we attended Healthy Taste of LA (HTLA), an annual event where the finest in plant-based cuisine meets the best of nutritional science. We saw demonstrations by culinary talents such as Chef AJ (Chef AJ’s Healthy Kitchen), Chef Ann Gentry (Real Food Daily), and Chef Eric Lechasseur (Seed Kitchen & Seed Bistro); as well as presentations by Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and registered dietician Julieanna Hever (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition); while making new friends with people interested in plant-based living. We are already looking forward to the 2012 event, featuring Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn as the keynote speaker.

Veg FoodWe also engaged in outreach with two schools: Christopher Robin Pre-School in West Hollywood and Soleado Elementary School in Palos Verdes, which happens to be my alma mater — and where I decided, in 4th grade, to become vegetarian!

I was honored to be asked to return to speak to a third grade class of 30 students, and, joined by two volunteers, discussed what it means to be humane, widening one’s circle of compassion, and that farmed animals have the same needs as dogs and cats. We also won major popularity points when we distributed So Delicious coconut milk ice cream sandwiches and coupons, which many students referenced in their hand-written thank you letters.

At Christopher Robin, we constructed a four-session, hands-on plant-based cooking workshop to encourage the children’s interest in their food and cooking as a form of creativity and therapeutic play. Using recipes devised by the talented Miss Kitchen Witch and under her instruction, 60 students learned how to make seasonal after-school snacks such as Raw-Some Caramel Apples, Raw Choco-Banana Dip (with pretzels and banana chips), and Harvest Tamales. The children also received colorful recipe guides that included fun factoids about the health benefits of each of the ingredients
used.

Last weekend we held a Volunteer Appreciation Party, and we will hit the streets again on Friday for our final feed-in of the year. Want to help us achieve even more in 2012? Sign up for our eNewsletter or find us on Facebook to get involved.