A Movie That Changed My Life

About 14 years ago, I walked into a movie screening hoping to be entertained, informed, and maybe inspired.
What I didn’t expect was that I would be veganized.

But that’s exactly what happened.

The movie’s depiction of the suffering of the animals and people involved in animal agriculture, coupled with its profound message of transformation and hope, literally opened my mind and heart. I remember exiting the movie in a kind of daze; then calling my partner and telling him, “I’m vegan.”

That movie was the acclaimed Peaceable Kingdom by producers Tribe of Heart. This Thursday, Vegan Kalamazoo and the Natural Health Center are screening the updated version, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. The screening is FREE and NHC is providing free yummy vegan popcorn. So come, and bring a friend! But two warnings:

(1) Bring your Kleenex, and
(2) Be prepared for possible change.

Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home
Thursday, February 16
6:30 pm – 8:00 p.m.
Natural Health Center
4610 W Main St, Kalamazoo (NE corner of West Main & Drake) – plenty of parking
More info / preregister on Meetup.

Next month we will be showing another Tribe of Heart classic, The Witness. The stars and setting of this one couldn’t be more different from those of Peaceable Kingdom. Instead of rural farmers learning to love the cows and other beings they formerly exploited for profit, we have a tough-guy construction worker in New York City who, through his relationship with his cat, evolves to become an animal activist.

The Witness
Sunday, March 12
1:00 pm – 2:30 p.m.
Natural Health Center
4610 W Main St, Kalamazoo (NE corner of West Main & Drake) – plenty of parking
More info / preregister on Meetup.

Also in March, we’re having a Coffee Social at the sunny and cheerful Coexist Cafe (2901 Howard St, near WMU) and a Gourmet Pizza Party at Sawall’s excellent new Cafe 36! More info on Meetup. As always, at Vegan Kalamazoo events, everyone is welcome, including vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. However, out of respect for our mission, we request that you only order / consume vegan food at this event. Newcomers are especially welcome!

So Lucky to be in Kalamazoo!

We Kalamazoo residents are lucky in so many ways—we get to live in a great town with great culture, sports, and other amenities, in a great part of the country.

tuttleWe’re also lucky to have a great pool of local vegan knowledge and talent, of the kind you usually only find in big cities. Last year we enjoyed top-notch speakers on veganism and religion, veganism and social justice, and animal law, among other topics.

And now we’ve got an internationally recognized vegan celebrity coming to town! He’s Dr. Will Tuttle, author of the bestselling World Peace Diet. He’s speaking on Healing Our World: A Deeper Look at Food at WMU’s Wesley Center at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 20. More info here. Please come to this FREE lecture, and invite your friends.

We’re also thrilled to announce, in partnership with the wonderful People’s Food Co-Op, two new cooking classes: Cooking with Vegan Proteins (Tuesday 9/13, 6-8 pm) and Cooking for Diabetes I (Tuesday 9/27, 6-8 pm). Only 12 students per class! So register ASAP either in person at the Co-Op or by calling 269-342-5686.

Busy cooks, reluctant cooks, and non-cooks: Vegan Kalamazoo’s got your back! On Sunday, 9/10, at 2:00 p.m., join us for a discussion of Ten Easy and Delicious Ways to Add More Plants to Your Diet at the wonderful (and highly vegan-friendly) Natural Health Center. More info.

Attention literature lovers! On Wednesday 9/28 at 7:00 p.m., we’re inaugurating the Animals and Nature Discussion Group at the Kalamazoo Public Library. September’s topic is “Animal Memoir,” and the recommended reading is Helen MacDonald’s bestselling H is for Hawk, but we’ll also be discussing James “All Creatures Great and Small” Herriot, John “Marley & Me” Grogan, and others. So bring your fave and join us!

You’ll find the entire list of upcoming events, including our ever-popular Living Vegan Social Groups, here; and we recommend you join our Meetup group (easy and free!) to register for events, stay on top of changes, etc. (We are no longer posting events on our Facebook group, but are having some great conversations there, so please join us there, too!)

Finally, don’t forget that this year’s Grand Rapids VegFest, our region’s premier vegan event, is Sunday, September 18. We have carpools!

Please remember that:

*Everyone, including vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores, is always welcome at our events!

*Most events are free except for cost of restaurant food, movies, etc. (We do ask for an optional $2/person donation to help defray group expenses.)

*We always welcome your questions or suggestions. Email me at vegankalamazoo@gmail.com.

One final announcement: Molly Wieber of the exchange program FLAG is seeking a local host family for Ruchi, a high school student (and winner of a prestigious, merit-based State Department Scholarship) who doesn’t eat meat or eggs. I know from personal experience that hosting an international student is a wonderful experience for all concerned! If you can host Ruchi or know someone who can, please contact Molly at mwieber@flag-intl.org.

See you at the events!

Tues, Sept 20 @ 7:00 pm: Bestselling Vegan Author Will Tuttle Speaking at WMU!

tuttleVegan Kalamazoo is thrilled to announce that on Tuesday, September 20, Kalamazoo will be hosting a true vegan visionary and celebrity, Dr. Will Tuttle. Author of the bestselling The World Peace Diet, Dr. Tuttle will be lecturing on Healing Our World: A Deeper Look at Food at The Wesley Foundation Student Center at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

In his talk, Dr. Tuttle makes explicit the invisible connections between society’s routine abuse of animals and our broad range of problems—psychological and social, as well as health and environmental. He will explore how animal agriculture and our food choices have far greater consequences than most of us realize, especially for social justice.

Doors will open at 6:30 pm, with free refreshments available. The lecture will begin at 7:00 pm., and will be followed by a Q&A. This event is free, but an optional “love donation” will be requested during the Q&A portion of the event. Dr. Tuttle will also be selling copies of The World Peace Diet and his latest book, Circles of Compassion, for $20 (cash / check / credit card accepted).

Venue: Wesley Foundation (WMU Campus) 820 Rankin Ave., Kalamazoo, MI

RSVP requested in advance on our Meetup page. As always, at Vegan Kalamazoo events, everyone is welcome, including vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Will Tuttle, visionary educator and inspirational speaker and musician, has lectured and performed widely throughout North America and worldwide. His doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley, focused on educating intuition and altruism, and he has taught college courses in creativity, mythology, religion, and philosophy. A recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Prize, he is a Dharma Master in the Zen tradition. Devoted to cultural healing and awakening, he is author of the international best-seller, The World Peace Diet, published in 16 languages, and is editor of Circles of Compassion. Creator of 7 much-loved CD albums of original piano music, he’s noted for clear and inspiring presentations that often include his music as well as evocative animal paintings by his spouse, Madeleine, a visionary artist from Switzerland. See www.worldpeacediet.com for more details.

Monday 1/25 – VENUE CHANGED! Living Vegan Social Club


Living Vegan is a social group/discussion group where we come together informally for fun times and fun discussions. Need a recipe? A vegan fashion tip? Tips for dealing with nonvegan family/friends? You’ll get it all at Living Vegan! We also have plenty of fun discussions on nonvegan topics like movies, TV, gardening, photography, and science fiction. And sometimes there’s a pool game or two!

justwanttodrinkcoffeeWe hope you’ll join us for our next get-together on Monday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at (New Venue!) LoDo’s (153 W. Centre Avenue in Portage)  Venue changed to Laurie Oldfather’s House – see note at top of post!

Our gracious host is, as always, Laurie Oldfather. RSVP requested in advance on our Meetup or Facebook page.

As always, at Vegan Kalamazoo events, everyone is welcome, including vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, and vegans-in-progress.

1/23 (Sat) – Join us at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum Festival of Health

festivalofhealthVegan Kalamazoo will be tabling at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum Festival of Health on Saturday, January 23, from noon – 4:00 p.m. We can’t wait to share information about the fantastic health benefits of veganism with attendees.  Please stop by and if you’d like to join us at the table, please let Hillary know.

Date / Time: Saturday, January 23, 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 North Rose Street Map + Parking

Cost: Free!


Local organizations are coming together to promote a healthy lifestyle, from exercise and nutrition to preventive medicines and medical practices. This event is for people of all ages. Play games and test your knowledge, ask a pharmacist your questions, learn to dance, get a massage, find out more about nutrition, and create your own fruit and cheese kebabs. Discover healthy and safe farming practices as well as local providers of organic produce and dairy products. Try your hand at first aid, have your vision and blood pressure tested, and browse and purchase books to get you started. Find the help you need to get and keep you fit!

Participating organizations include: Barnes & Noble, Belly Dance Costumes USA, Bronson Children’s Hospital, Bronson Family Medicine-The Groves, Bronson Healthcare Group, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Cornerstone Christian Counseling, Family & Children Services Foster Care, Family Health Center-Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County DHS, Kalamazoo Valley Health Focused Campus, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Lake Village Homestead Farms, Life EMS, MSU Extension, Rx Optical, Southwest Michigan District Dietetics Association, Spring House Press, and Vegan Kalamazoo.

Preparing for the Holidays

If you’re buying holiday presents please support local vegan-friendly businesses!

A gift of vegan chocolates from Confections with Convictions, or a Buyer’s Club membership at the Natural Health Center, a loyal friend to Vegan Kalamazoo, will be very appreciated. Or, get your loved one a gift certificate from one of the many vegan-friendly restaurants and food stores in our area. We especially recommend Zooroona, which offers amazing Middle Eastern food in a gracious setting, and also put our “Vegan Options Inside” sticker right in the middle of their front door (see picture) so everyone knows Yes, There Really is a Vegan Kalamazoo!

Coping with the Social Pressures of Being Vegan (Pre-Holiday Special!)

Just in time for the holidays we’ll have an informal, fun, supportive, and sustaining discussion on how to deal with the social pressures of being vegan. We’ll focus on how to cope with nonvegan family and coworkers, especially at holiday events. Bring your questions, concerns, worries, frustrations, and suggestions.

Irvings (in the Kzoo mall) always has a great selection of vegan entrees and snacks, including fresh tofu dishes. So come for dinner or just to talk.

Our “patron saint” for this meeting will be the late comedian Richard Pryor, who was not only an animal rights activist and winner of PETA’s 1999 Humanitarian of the Year award, but also famously said, “A family is like getting a life sentence for a crime you never committed.” 🙂

November 17th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Irving’s Market and Deli
125 S. Kalamazoo Mall
Kalamazoo City Center
Kalamazoo, MI

11/20 Holiday Potluck Party!

When: Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Home of Katia Burke-Pappas.

Please join us for a holiday potluck!

Indicate in the comments what dish you will bring. Remember all food must be vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, ‘seafood,’ or honey). If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Thank you to Katia Burke-Pappas for graciously opening her home once more, and see you at the party!

Please RSVP for all events on our Meetup (preferred) or Facebook page.

Wed 11/11: Discussion – Intersectionality: What it is and Why It’s Important for Veganism

When: Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Gourdneck Room at Portage District Library.
Discussion Leader: Nathan Poirier.

We inaugurate our new Vegan Kalamazoo Discussion Group with a very important and timely discussion of intersectionality, the study of intersections between systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.

If you’ve ever wondered how animal oppression relates to oppression of women, people of color, gays, and other marginalized groups, you’ll find out here. And you’ll also learn why it’s important that vegan activism be inclusive and not marginalize anyone.

We’re truly lucky to have Nathan Poirier, who is currently getting a degree in Anthrozoology with a focus on Critical Animal Studies Critical Animal Studies, to lead this discussion.

Join us in the Gourdneck Room at the Portage District Library.

Please RSVP for all events on our Meetup (preferred) or Facebook page.

Thursday 11/5: Vegan 101: The Joys of Plant-Based Living (New class!)

Vegan 101: The Joys of Plant-Based Living (New class!)

When: Thursday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Natural Health Center, Westwood Plaza, 4610 W Main Street (corner Drake), Kalamazoo.
Teacher: Hillary Rettig.

Curious about veganism? You’re not alone! With celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Pres. Bill Clinton, Beyonce, and Morrissey–not to mention countless others, in all walks of life–extolling the virtues of veganism, interest has never been higher. Come join us for a fun and lively conversation on this super-healthy, sustainable, and delicious lifestyle. You’ll learn what vegans eat, how we stay healthy, and where we get our food. We’ll also discuss hot button issues including vegan fashion, vegan nutrition for athletes, and coping with nonvegan friends and family, along with much more. Finally, you’ll get a plan for going vegan a little at a time, that you can adapt for your particular situation and needs. Bring your questions, ideas, and concerns; we welcome them all! Please let your vegan-curious family and friends know about this new class.

Please RSVP for all events on our Meetup (preferred) or Facebook page.