2016: A Food for Thought Shake Up
The Food for Thought campaign experienced many exciting changes in 2016. We expanded our regional outreach to the Great Lakes and Southwest region, and developed a new arm of the campaign focusing on wildlife and environmental organizations. 24 groups adopted new formal veg policies as a result of our outreach, including state federations, and we added an additional 50 new endorsing organizations with board-approved vegan or vegetarian menu policies.
Into the wild, on top of the world
With the help of another generous donor, we widened our focus, adding over 450 wildlife and environmental organizations to our database, and beginning our initial outreach encouraging them to consider the environmental damage and harm to wildlife caused by animal agriculture when planning menus at their events.
Where we’ve been, where we’ll be
This year’s outreach brought us all the way across the country--from Virginia to Illinois, New Hampshire to Michigan, New Mexico to Oregon, and Utah to California. We attended conferences focused on companion animal care, animal rights, and environmental issues, allowing us the unique opportunity to share the Food for Thought campaign with over 8,000 animal lovers! We gave talks at the Canadian National Animal Welfare conference in April and the Portland Green Festival in December.
Give ‘em an A... or an F?
With our ongoing efforts to involve animal advocates to help with outreach, we created a Report Card so you can gauge how well your local nonprofits rank in the animal-friendliness of the food they serve. Organizations that serve no animal products at events receive an “A” while organizations that keep animals on their plates receive an “F.” Check it out!
Sometimes it takes a village
In July, we were notified of an animal shelter in Northern California that was auctioning off a foie gras dinner – and serving animal products at their “Barn” fundraiser! We jumped into gear and called upon advocates from our network demanding the immediate removal of the foie gras dinner. Our quick actions and focused attention were unapologetically effective! The shelter removed the auction item and our campaign manager, Patti Nyman, reached out to the shelter director, encouraging an open dialogue and offering Food for Thought assistance for future events.
Join the fight for animal equality!
This year we started to develop our very own advocate network and offered the opportunity to sign on at every conference, vegfest, and animal rights event we attended. We added over 250 advocates from across the country and began refining our resources. Our “ I didn’t attend your event” e-cards are now available in print and can be ordered on our website, and our easily customizable sample letters have been updated. So grab some friends, mail some letters, and help us make change in your community!
We also developed a “Compassionate Action” Facebook group that you can join to learn more about the campaign, and engage in some online sleuthing and activism. The group encourages advocates to share events hosted by animal organizations promoting particularly egregious and cruel menu options, like the Foie Gras auction in CA. Once these events are found and shared, a Food for Thought coordinator will help to guide the level of interaction and pressure needed from activists. It’s the most fun activism you can have online!