Archive for October, 2005

Sara Jotoku

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Sara Jotoku

Mix equal parts of compassion, determination, and willingness to help, and you’ve got the makings of an activist. Meet Sara J and learn how and why she decided to put her compassion in action.

Name: Sara Jotoku
Profession: Technical Writer
City: El Cerrito

Are you vegetarian or vegan, and for how long?
Vegetarian for 10 years, vegan for 5 years.

What motivated you to make this change?
I always hated the idea of animals being killed or mistreated, but it took a while before my feelings translated into the action of giving up meat. Eventually the accumulation of images I had seen and stories I had heard overcame my passivity. Around the time I stopped eating meat, I had become interested in Buddhism, so that was also an influence. I didn’t yet know that animals who produce eggs and milk are abused and killed. Then I read Diet for a New America by John Robbins, and became vegan overnight.

What are you working on?
Since I’m new to animal advocacy, I’m trying to educate myself about factory farming and animal rights by reading and going to hear speakers. For my fledgling activist efforts, I am taking advantage of the wonderful network of people and range of activities offered by Bay Area Vegetarians.

I currently host a monthly Letter Writing Party in Berkeley and a monthly tabling at the Berkeley Farmers Market. I’m setting up a display on vegetarianism at the El Cerrito library for the month of December. I recently started leafleting at Trader Joe’s with Christine Morrissey of East Bay Animal Advocates.

How can others get involved?
If anyone would like to participate in a letter writing party or help with tabling, please RSVP through the Events list on the Bay Area Vegetarians website. I would also encourage others to host an activity, solo or with a team. The more people willing to organize events or contribute new ideas, the more vibrant the whole veg/AR community will be.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?
First, reading about and seeing images of animals in distress. I believe everyone can do something to help – it doesn’t have to be saving the world overnight, just contributing or supporting in some way can make a difference. Second, other activists are very inspiring in their commitment and courage. Third, it’s satisfying knowing you’re trying to help, and seeing signs of progress (e.g. an organization abandoning a cruel practice because of public pressure).

What advice would you give to an aspiring vegan?
Especially in the Bay Area, there’s a tremendous variety of delicious vegan food. There doesn’t need to be any denial or penance in going vegan. Learn the basics of nutrition; one good source is Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating, a new booklet from Vegan Outreach.

What advice would you give to an aspiring activist?
Start at an easy pace so you don’t become overwhelmed. Try an activity, let yourself absorb that, then take another step. Sometimes you’ll have to push yourself outside your comfort zone, but also respect your own rhythm and needs. Let yourself discover what activities are harmonious with your personality.

Favorite website:

BAVeg Book Club

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Lisa took her idea and is making it happen! Starting in 2006, we will have a new monthly event -a book club! We’ll get together for informal discussions of a preselected book. Unlike other book clubs, vegan refreshments that everyone can enjoy will be part of the experience (either during or after the discussion). 8 general books will be discussed, and 4 vegetarian/animal rights books.

While January is still a few months away, this is a heads-up for busy people as well as slow readers to plan ahead. You’ll find more information on the series and January’s selection in the book club forum

You can also give your input as to future book selections.

How To Post a Review in the Ultimate Guide

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

To post a review in the Ultimate Guide, a Bay Area wide searchable database of vegetarian foods and services:

1) You need a userid on the BAVEG forum on our website. This userid is distinct and separate from any other userids that you may have on Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. It can be the same if you like.

a) If you already have a userid on the BAVEG website forum, then go to step 2
b) If you already have a userid on the BAVEG website forum but forgot your password, still go to step 2
c) If you don’t have a userid on the BAVEG website forum, then you can sign-up to get one.

2) Find the restaurant you want to review in the Ultimate Guide

3) In the listing for each business, there is a button called “review”. Select that. The next screen may ask you to log in. (This is also where you’ll have the opportunity to select the link “I forgot my password” to re-establish your ability to login)

4) Type your review, and that’s it!

TIP: When you are logged into the BAVEG website forum, on the Ultimate Guide page, there is an extra button to the right of the “LOGIN” or “LOGOUT” button. It looks like a person’s head. That button will show you your profile on our website, and can be used to see all the reviews you’ve ever done and provide a centralized place if you want to modify reviews for any restaurants that you’ve visited.

So, with your BAVEG website forum userid you can now participate in forum discussions AND post reviews of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) businesses in the Ultimate Guide.

4th Anniversary Party Thank You

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

We want to thank everyone who came out to celebrate BAVeg’s 4th Anniversary earlier this month. It’s hard to believe it has been four years already!

Special thanks to a few individuals and organizations who made this event such fun:

-Lyman, who organized and acquired the space for the party
-lauren from Viva!USA, who gave an inspiring presentation about Campaigning for Farmed Animals

-Fantastic Foods for boxes of food and soup mixes that we gave away as door prizes
-Satya Magazine for copies of their current and back issues of this wonderful magazine about vegetarianism, animal rights, social justice and environment
-Sun Flour Baking for yummy little bundles of joy (peanut butter, chocolate chip, german chocolate, and lemony lemon)

and we even had a short presentation by the other vegetarian Lyman, Howard Lyman.

We were happy to have lauren as our guest speaker at the party. It was hearing lauren talk at a house party that Alka had a few years back that introduced us to lauren and Viva. We were impressed by her dedication and inspired by her efforts to help animals. One of the points that lauren made in her presentation about their campaign to educate Whole Foods was the importance and effectiveness of two of their volunteers in LA who leafleted every day. It was a three year campaign, but the results are impressive! Viva!USA is a small organization with big heart and big goals to help the animals. They are launching a new campaign to raise awareness of how many chickens are killed annually for food. If you have time or interest, please get involved!!** Please visit Viva’s website at

Viva is looking for folks to leaflet 11/4 for the opening of CHICKEN LITTLE

About getting involved: we have monthly protest events about cruelty at KFC. It would be wonderful to also get involved in Viva’s new campaign for chickens as well as the Trader Joe’s campaign in the same manner. Please email me if you are interested.

Fantastic Foods donated boxes and boxes of vegan products that we gave as door prizes at the Anniversary Party as well as September’s Compassionate Living event featuring Paul Shapiro from the Humane Society of the United States. They were well-received, with quite a few commenting how good they are and (for the soup cups) convenient for lunch.

Satya Magazine is a wonderful resource. Some folks who live locally conribute articles to Satya, too (like lauren). Think about subscribing, or even if you are not a subscriber, you can still be a reader by going to their website at
We have a few sample issues left and will bring them to the next BAVeg event.

Sun Flour Baking has the best cookies. We love their cookies, and are grateful for their ongoing support.

Between bites of food and conversation, we took a few photos. We hope to get them uploaded in the next few days. When we do, you’ll find them online in our photo gallery at

Thank you, also, to those who gave so generously to support Bay Area Vegetarians and our work to promote, build, and create vegetarianism community in the San Francisco Bay Area! We are grateful for your support, whether it is volunteering, financial, or both. Thank you!

Third Annual BEST OF VEG Survey Highlights Great Vegetarian Dining in the Bay Area

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

San Francisco Bay Area, October 11, 2005 – Bay Area Vegetarians (BAVeg), one of the largest regional grassroots vegetarian advocacy group in the U.S., is holding its third annual BEST OF VEG survey. Every year since 2003, the BEST OF VEG survey has recognized outstanding vegetarian dining in the San Francisco Bay Area based on the votes of Bay Area residents. Voting for the 2005 survey started on October 1st, celebrated as World Vegetarian Day across the nation, and continues through November 15th. Supporters will vote for the next 5 weeks for their favorite Bay Area restaurants. Survey categories include:

BEST VEGAN FOODS at both vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants, including:
– Best Asian, Indian, Mexican and Raw Cuisine
– Best Veggie Burger
– Best Pizza
– Best Dessert

– By location (San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay and South Bay)
– Best New Restaurant

– Best Special Occasion Restaurant
– Best Everyday Food
– Best Service
– Best Restaurant for a Casual Veggie Date
– Best Overall Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants

BAVeg uses the top ten most popular choices from its Ultimate Guide to Vegetarian Living in the SF Bay Area to determine the initial selections for the 33-question survey. Residents can vote for their favorites online at and be eligible to win special prizes. Ten voters will be selected at random to win prizes that taste great, and resources that educate and entertain: Cookie Gift Basket from Sun Flour Baking, Tofurky feast from Turtle Island Foods, Soy Delicious ice cream from Turtle Mountain, Satya magazine subscription, and the new McLibel DVD.

“The BEST OF VEG survey let’s people vote for the many great restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area that cater to vegetarians,” says BAVeg Vice-President and co-founder Chris James. “Unlike typical surveys where vegetarian restaurants have one category, our survey has multiple categories that help define the best places to eat when you want a pizza, burger, or go out for a casual date or special occasion. Many past winners proudly post their BEST OF VEG award certificates prominently in their establishments so that customers know they are local favorites.”

Based in Montara, BAVeg is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with over 2000 members throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of the fastest-growing all-volunteer groups in the region, and was recently profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle. BAVeg regularly hosts a variety of events to promote vegetarian living, including lectures, restaurant outings and film screenings. To learn more about BAVeg and the many resources it offers, visit

Prize winners selected for ARP 2004-2005

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

We’d like to offer our heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in our advocacy events (letter writing parties, KFC Cruelty protests, outreach, leafleting, etc) and the Advocacy Rewards Program in 2004-2005. With over 120 participants and nearly 800,000 points earned, that’s a lot of awareness raised for vegetarianism and for the animals. THANK YOU!

Congratulations to the Top Ten point earners:

83,500 Thea L
55,000 Sara J
42,000 Matthew
38,000 Robin M
30,000 Melissa T

24,000 Nora K
18,000 Will B
17,000 Jordan R
15,000 Paul N
15,000 Paula R
15,000 Suzanne H
14,000 Victor T

See the full list at:

The points were translated into prizes, and 10 randomly selected prize winners picked the following prizes for the end of the 2004-2005 drawing:

Will – $150 catered vegan Indian fusion meals from Spice by the bay
Nora – Vegan Unlimited gift certificate donated by Vegan Unlimited
Ben – vegan cookbook donated by BAVeg
Sara – Viva!USA t-shirt donated by Viva!USA
Victor – Otsu t-shirt donated by Otsu
Thea – Peaceable Kingdom movie lobby poster donated by Tribe of Heart

Jordan – VegNews subscription donated by VegNews
Suzanne – VegNews subscription donated by VegNews
Matthew – Swedish massage donated by Jeanne Marie Besanceney, Vegan CMT
Robin – $20 Gift Certificate to BayLeaf Café donated by BayLeaf Café

We did a mid-year drawing last year, and Thea won the massage donated by Laurie Terzo, L.Ac., M.S., C.M.T.

Weekend Warrior Advocacy cards were also distributed to other ARP participants. If you participated in ARP 2004-2005 and would like a set, please email me as we have a few left.

We’d also like to thank the individuals, organizations and businesses for donating prizes, and are looking for prizes for the 2005-2006 season. Please contact me if you’re interested in donating a prize to support veg advocacy and Bay Area Vegetarians in the SF Bay Area.

Given the success and interest in the ARP program, we are continuing it! To earn points in the ARP for 2005-2006, participate in advocacy events (they’re listed on the event calendar with their point value) or think about organizing an event (worth even more points)

Event Calendar –

Powered by InterServer