New Year, New Beginnings

Happy New Year!   

We weren't always vegans or activists. Then one day it made sense to stop eating animals. Then we decided to use our collective skills and knowledge to promote vegetarianism to reduce animal suffering.

That's what we like about the New Year. It gives us an opportunity and a big, symbolic, in-your-face reminder to think about last year and look forward to the new year, and think about what we'd like to do differently. New year, new leaf.

If your resolution is to volunteer and support your local veg community, or to be more active for animals, let us know! This month's Compassionate Living Program can help anyone who has a New Year's resolution to be more active in helping animals, and learn what our rights are as activists.

For Bay Area Vegetarians, it was a busy 2005. Here's an indisputable statistic that shows the growth in our community and the growth in interest in vegetarian and advocacy events. Bay Area Vegetarians had 65 events in 2003. That doubled to 131 events in 2004. And grew another 80% for 236 events in 2005. Our events reflected the interests of our diverse community, from social dinners and camping trips to educational and outreach events like tabling, leafleting, presentations and documentary films.

Significantly, Bay Area Veg is still a free membership organization. Everything that we are able to do is thanks to the commitment and compassion of our volunteers and donors, and you. As we work for change in the public's attitude and receptiveness to vegetarianism, we are a stronger organization by having a large membership number.

Going forward, Bay Area Veg will continue what we've always done best, connect and support the local vegetarian and animal rights community, and work to improve our education and outreach programs.

We're making a couple of additions to our newsletter. We are pleased to announce that Alex Bury, a talented and compassionate chef and cooking instructor, will be sharing her favorite recipes, tips, and techniques with all of us in a new monthly column exclusive to BAVeg News, "Heart Smart Cooking: Cooking with Compassion and Good Health". "Compassion in Action" will highlight a quick, easy action to support vegetarianism and/or compassion for animals.

And, as always, your support, as volunteers, participants, and donors, is something we need year-round. Please continue to help us grow -- please send this newsletter to your veg-friendly family and friends and encourage them to Be a Veg with Bay Area Veg; please be an active participant in our community. Volunteer and help us make a difference! At many of our advocacy events, having one additional person can make a tremendous difference.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our request for financial support for the Bay Area Veg community in the December BAVeg News. We'd also like to share our appreciation and thanks to our core group of volunteer who are working every month to organize events that make the Bay Area a more veg-friendly place for all of us. Thank you Alicia, Ben, Bob, Candace, Carol, Hannah, Lena, Lisa, Peggy, Sara, and Thea!

Tammy & Chris
President and Vice-President
Bay Area Vegetarians


Compassionate Living Program Presents
Compassionate Living Program Presents   

Effective Advocacy for Animals - Jan 8th 2006
The Compassionate Living program examines and presents information related to vegetarianism and living a compassionate lifestyle. This month's presentation will cover the basic techniques to help animals.

Effective Advocacy for Animals:
Activist Skills for Leafleting, Letter Writing, Tabling
Activist Rights for Animal Rights

Activist Skills: When anything is done well, it looks simple to do. Experienced local activists will share their favorite techniques and helpful tips to make leafleting and tabling simple and easy to do. Letter writing is another highly effective form of activism, yet one that too few people do or feel comfortable with. Letters to business leaders, legislators, or other key decision makers, letters to the editor, letters to your family about your decision to go veg -- all can have a powerful and far-reaching impact to help animals.

Activist Rights: While we can learn the skills to be activists, activism can often be daunting from a legal perspective - what are our legal rights? Learn your basic rights under California law as an activist, and your right to speak out for animals in a variety of circumstances (e.g., KFC sidewalks, shopping malls, college campuses, on the web) -- so you can feel comfortable and confident when you do.

This will be an informative and interactive afternoon led by local activists for the local community. It's geared towards folks who are new and want to learn, those looking for a refresher or different strategies, as well as experienced folks who want to share strategies to help animals. Vegan refreshments provided, and afterwards, those interested may join us for dinner.

More Info

We will also use this opportunity to network/connect activists who would like to work together and share information on organizing and coordinating activities for regular outreach as well as special events, like Great American Meat Out in March.


Project Tofurky
Project Tofurky   

The idea to provide a meatless option to the Food Banks really took wing! One donor in the East Bay, Jill, who christened the effort 'Project Tofurky', explained why she got involved. "When I read this, it made me think about how I would feel if I needed to rely on the food bank to provide a meal for my family, and they could only provide food that we didn't eat for ethical or religious reasons. It gave me goosebumps to think that even one family out there might be appreciative to have this provision."

About a dozen Bay Area Vegetarians members pooled their resources to provide 90 Tofurkys (an $800 value) to two Bay Area food banks, SF Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Donated funds paid for the $350 overnight/refrigerated shipping to the food banks from Turtle Island Foods of Oregon, who provided the Tofurkys. Thank you to all who helped with this project and thank you Turtle Island Foods for helping us give others the option to enjoy a delicious Tofurky.

We hope to continue this as an annual project.


Veggie Important People
Veggie Important People   

Like any other non-profit organization, we rely heavily on our volunteers. With the start of a new year, we have new openings available to host a Vegan Food Party (aka a potluck). We are also looking to increase the number of volunteers who support our monthly advocacy events.

Letter Writing Parties - Berkeley/3rd Tuesday, SF/3rd Saturday, Palo Alto/4th Saturday

KFC Cruelty Protest - San Rafael/1st Saturday, South Bay/1st Saturday, SF/3rd Saturday, Palo Alto/3rd Saturday

Doing advocacy for the animals is rewarding in itself. But as a small thank you, we have an Advocacy Rewards Program to give cool vegan prizes to participants.

For a full list of all of our monthly events, which include restaurant dinners, book club, and more, click here.

More Info

Love the outdoors? Hiking? Camping? If so, and you're interested to help organize and plan a camping trip this summer, please contact BAVeg.


Map it Veg!
Frappr - Map It Veg!   

To get a better sense of where all the veggie people are, and possibly meet some new folks near us, we've created a map for Bay Area Vegetarians. It takes only a couple of minutes to "pinpoint" your location (based on zipcode). You can also send a 'shoutout' (or greeting) when you do.

Let's see how vegetarians in the Bay Area / California compare with vegetarians across the nation. Please send this second link to all the veggie people you know!


Compassion in Action
Compassion in Action   

Safeway's has started a new line of organic products called "O Organics". It features organic products, and it appears specifically targeted towards consumer wanting organic, healthy and humane foods. For example, in a promo flyer for the line, they mention treatment of the cows that produce their organic milk: "It comes only from cows that get fresh air, plenty of sunshine and exercise, and most importantly, an organic diet. Their health and comfort are of the utmost importance, which is why they're never injected with artificial growth hormones or antibiotics."

Meanwhile, Safeways is the one of the largest retailers of Foster Farms. According to East Bay Animal Advocates' complaint with California Department of Justice (Office of Attorney General): "Foster Farms products are produced under a set of conditions vastly different than what the term 'humane' reasonably and objectively represents. The actual set of conditions at Foster Farms include: husbandry methods that intentionally induce prolonged pain and suffering, inadequate veterinary care and unsanitary conditions."

Well, let's tell Safeway's that compassion and health are the buzzwords for 2006! Ask them to:

1) expand the number of vegan products in their "O Organics" line and to label these products as vegan (vegan foods are the lowest common denominator - everyone can eat and enjoy them, knowing they are healthy and cruelty-free).

2) Urge them to stop purchasing from Foster Farms too! (see more info from EBAA)

Contact Safeways toll free: 1-877-SAFEWAY (1-877-723-3929) between 9 AM-9 PM PST (press 0 for a Sales Representative); grab a postage-paid customer comment card for you and a friend (available at every Safeway's register); or write: Karl Schroeder, President, NORCAL Division, Safeway Inc, c/o Customer Service Center, 2750 S. Priest Drive, Tempe AZ 85282-9969. Or contact them online.

We know they're listening, and they want our dollar votes. So be a voice for vegetarianism and compassionate treatment of animals! For letter writing tips and more advocacy info, join us at our 1/8 Advocacy presentation .

Community Profile
Community Profile   

She walks the talk and woks her veggies -- meet Tammy of Tammy & Chris, the veggie-powered co-founder of Bay Area Vegetarians.

Read more about Tammy in this month's Community Profile.

If you've got an interesting veg perspective that you'd like to share, please let us know.


Restaurant Updates
Top Ten Ultimate Guide Restaurants   

December reviewers have shaken up the Ultimate Guide's Top Ten - new addition Tofoo Com Chay in San Jose now ties its neighbor Good Karma for 1st place, and the relatively new Vegetarian Gourmet in San Mateo makes its first appearance at tenth place. The ripple effect is everyone else falls one notch, and the exodus of two long-standing favorites, Millennium and Shangri-La.

With nearly 800 reviews in the Ultimate Guide, these vegetarian restaurants are ranked the best. Do you agree?

Top Ten Vegetarian Restaurants (*)

1. Good Karma, San Jose - 4.5
2. Tofoo Com Chay, San Jose - 4.5 New
3. Garden Fresh, Mtn View - 4.44 down
4. Golden Lotus, Oakland - 4.42 down
5. The Manzanita Restaurant, Oakland - 4.42 down
6. Alive!, SF - 4.35 down
7. New World Vegetarian, Oakland - 4.29
8. BayLeaf Cafe, Palo Alto - 4.25 down
9. Cha-Ya, Berkeley - 4.25 down
10. Vegetarian Gourmet, San Mateo - 4.23 New

*based on Ultimate Guide reviewers like you

Don't see your favorite listed in the Top Ten? Then please give them a good review and help them gain the recognition that they deserve!

How to review a restaurant in the Ultimate Guide


Heart Smart Cooking
Heart Smart Cooking   

Cooking with Compassion and Good Health
by Alex Bury

Soup is a perfect January food. It’s warm and filling for the cold weather. It’s cheap (or it can be), which our shell-shocked bank accounts appreciate after the holidays. It’s quick and easy when we’re tired and grumpy. And it’s a great way to lose some extra weight, if the rich holiday foods were just a little too plentiful for you this year.

This month's column includes three easy, filling, inexpensive recipes for
Lentil Stew
Mushroom Barley Soup
Cheating Black Bean Chili

Plus ideas and tips for my favorite soup combinations.


Event Calendar
Event Calendar   

01/07 KFC Cruelty Protest - San Rafael Add event to your local calendar
01/07 KFC Cruelty Protest - San Jose Add event to your local calendar
01/08 Effective Advocacy for Animals - SF - Mission Add event to your local calendar
01/10 Peninsula Dinner - Palo Alto Add event to your local calendar
01/10 Marin Dinner - San Rafael Add event to your local calendar
01/14 KFC Cruelty Protest - Palo Alto Add event to your local calendar
01/14 South Bay Dinner - San Jose Add event to your local calendar
01/15 Dinner - Oakland Add event to your local calendar
01/17 Letter Writing Party - Berkeley Add event to your local calendar
01/20 Friday Food & Fellowship Dinner - San Mateo Add event to your local calendar
01/21 KFC Cruelty Protest - SF Add event to your local calendar
01/21 Lunch & Letter Writing Party - SF Add event to your local calendar
01/22 Book Club Discussion: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - SF Add event to your local calendar
01/27 Friday Food & Fellowship Dinner - SF Add event to your local calendar
01/28 Letter Writing Party - Palo Alto Add event to your local calendar
01/29 VFP - Pacifica Add event to your local calendar
01/31 Adopt a College leafletting - Academy of Arts College, SF Add event to your local calendar

02/01 Adopt a College leafletting - Academy of Arts College, SF Add event to your local calendar
02/11 South Bay Dinner - San Jose Add event to your local calendar
02/12 Book Discussion: Animal Liberation by Peter Singer - SF (Civic Center) Add event to your local calendar

Outlook users can use the 'calendar' icon link (calendar icon link)to add this event to their calendar

For latest news and events for Bay Area Vegetarians, check out the News Blog and Event Calendar. We don't always announce it, but event photos are added periodically to the gallery, too.


January 2006
In This Issue:
New Year, New Beginnings
Effective Advocacy for Animals
Project Tofurky
Veggie Important People
Map it Veg!
Compassion in Action
Community Profile
Restaurant Updates
Heart Smart Cooking
Event Calendar
BAVeg Resources:
Veg Food Finder
Ultimate Guide to Vegetarian Living in the Bay Area
Veggie Mentor Program
Advocacy Rewards Program
Articles and Guides
BAVeg News
Discussion Forums
Mailing Lists
Local Events Calendar
Free Restaurant Guide
Eat veg? Then don't leave home without your Restaurant Guide.

You can use Adobe Acrobat reader to print the entire SF Bay Area Restaurant guide or use UG to create and print your own custom guide.

RSS Feeds

For those of you who use Yahoo or RSS, we've now added a convenient feed for upcoming BAV Events as well as News.

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BAV News
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For folks on the go, we also have a mobile edition of the events calendar for PDA and cellphone users.

Send us your likes, dislikes, and requests to help us build a better newsletter and organization.

This newsletter was sent by the Bay Area Vegetarians
PO Box 371215, Montara, CA, 94037-1215
(415) 57-VEG-57 (578-3457) skype: bayareaveg

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