4/11 – Rewilding Conference at Aquinas College

Rewilding: Protecting All Life
Saturday April 11, 2015
1PM-4:30PM in the Wege Ballroom
Aquinas College


  • Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Calvin College
  • Gregory Bassett, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Hope College
  • Jamie Lee Sansone, Aquinas Sustainable Business student, President and Founder of Keeping Bees
  • Brett Colley, Associate Professor, Art & Design, Grand Valley State University
  • Marc Bekoff, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, author of numerous
    books including Rewilding Our Hearts and founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. (Attending via Skype.)


Pain, Sympathy, and Morality:  A Very Short History of Ethical Theory, Human Beings, and Animals:  The question of whether animals have rights, and if so why, is one that has been discussed for thousands of years.  In fact, many of the debates that people have today are merely updates of debates that have been going on for centuries.  In this talk I will attempt to explain some of the ethical theories that have shaped those historical discussions, and the significance they still have today.  Why do we think that human beings have rights, and why do some of those same considerations apply to animals?

One Christian’s Perspective on Veganism: Scripture and Discipline. Can a person be a Christian and a Vegan? Doesn’t the Bible tell us to have dominion over the animals? Doesn’t Romans say that vegetarians have weaker faith? Michelle Loyd-Paige, a Christian vegan, will share her perspective on interpreting selected Biblical passages and surviving African-American church dinners (she is African American and attend an African American church). The goal of this session is to – in the words of Marc Bekoff in A Faith Embracing All Creatures – “help Christians see Christianity anew and help all of us expand our compassion footprint.”

The Keeping Bees Project. Jamie a senior year Sustainable Business student at Aquinas College, Student Ambassador, Intern for Steelcase’s Global Environmental Sustainability team, RYT200 Yoga instructor, and local foodie has sure dived into the honey! In 2014 Jamie founded the Keeping Bees student organization at Aquinas where she continues to learn and teach her various communities what it takes to start and manage bee hives. This club is different than any other club on campus because it demands the students attention  to nature throughout all four seasons. In just two hives there are almost 100,000 bees. The bees live down the road at Marywood Dominican Center gardens. The club generates revenue for the college, is very active in the community and provides nutritious raw, local honey for students and guests. Jamie will present the top 10 reasons of why it is important for you to experiment with nature in your own backyard in becoming a beekeeper. She will delve into bee biology, the life cycle of a bee and its various roles, and the importance of bee bi-products and it’s connection to our food system. Jamie will share her passion and hope for the bees, native pollinators, plants and animal rights from beginning to the end.

Animal Liberation through an Intersectional Lens: Learning to Work Together. In Winter 2014 I worked with a small group of likeminded folks at another area college to integrate the issue of animal rights into the curriculum of an 8-week course on Food Justice. Through that process I came to better understand a host of unflattering preconceptions and concerns – held both by other activists and a more general population – regarding the AR movement. By sharing this experience, I hope to illuminate the challenges (of public perception and humankind’s innate speciesism) faced by advocates for others animals, as well as strategies for building a broader, stronger movement based upon intersectional analyses and organizing principles.

Free vegan food will be served.
Please RSVP to Nathan Poirier at poirinat@aquinas.edu


Here is a link to a campus map. http://www.aquinas.edu/pdf/Campus_Map.pdf
The location “F” on the map is the parking lot for the Wege Student Center, and the third floor of this building is the Wege ballroom which is where the event will take place. The Fulton parking lot, marked “B” on the map, can also be available for parking.
Directions to Aquinas College 1607 Robinson Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506:
Follow US-131 N to Wealthy St. SW
Take exist 84 A on the left toward Wealthy St. SW
Turn right onto Wealthy St. SW
Continue on Wealthy St. SW until you come to Gladstone Dr. SE (about 2.5-3 mi on Wealthy St.)
Turn left on Gladstone Dr. SE
Continue down Gladstone and across Robinson into the Aquinas campus, or park on a surrounding side street (including on Gladstone).

4/23 – Book Group: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

eatinganimalsPlease join us for a fun discussion of Jonathan Safran Foer’s bestselling book Eating Animals.

Date:  Thursday, April 23

Time:  7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Kalamazoo Public Library Central Branch
3d Floor Board Room
315 South Rose Street, Kalamazoo
Directions and Parking

Book Description:

Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them.

Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer “at the table with our greatest philosophers.”

Leader:  Hillary Rettig

4/19 – Carpool to Michigan Vegfest!

Vegfest, Michigan’s premier veg*n event, will be held Sunday, April 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Novi, MI. Featured speakers include vegan actress/author Alicia Silverstone, Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Bauer, and journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell. There will also be cooking demos, exhibits of vegan causes and products, children’s activities, and much more.

VegFestLogo1More info / complete schedule here.

We urge all Vegan Kalamazoo members to attend–and we especially urge you to attend if you’ve never attended a veg*n event before. There is no substitute for being in a big room filled with other veg*ns, with everyone having a good time and eating great food and offering great support. It’s a vision of the future, when the world will be more vegan; and also a chance to see our movement’s inspirational leaders live. Don’t miss it!


Vegan Kalamazoo will be setting up carpools. Please email Hillary if you can use, or offer, a ride.

3/21 & 3/23 – Next “Living Vegan” Get Togethers

The Living Vegan social hour/discussion group is 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!

Living Vegan currently meets

  • The first and third Saturday mornings of each month at 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the Fourth Coast Cafe in Kalamazoo. (Next meeting March 21; topic will be relationships with nonvegans) And,
  • The fourth Monday evening of each month at 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Jac’s Cekola’s Pizza in Portage. (Next meeting March 23)

You’re welcome to attend any “Living Vegan” event! RSVP requested in advance – please email Laurie Oldfather .

Living Vegan social club / discussion group launches!

justwanttodrinkcoffeeThe Living Vegan social club / discussion group is officially launched!

Organizer Laurie Oldfather writes:

“We will begin our first “Living Vegan” on Saturday morning March 7th. It will be at Fourth Coast Cafe (816 S. Westnedge Ave.) from 9:30 -11:30 am meeting every other Sat to start.

“There is also interest (4 of us) in a Mon evening group also starting near the end of March as well. That one would meet once monthly. That will be announced later on.”

If you’re interested in attending this or future meetings please email Laurie.

PS – After the March 7 meeting, consider hopping over to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, where Vegan Kalamazoo will be tabling at the Festival of Health .

Vegan Book Club Starting at the Kzoo Public Library!

eatinganimalsWe’re thrilled to announce that we’ve won approval to to hold a book club at the Kalamazoo Public Library! The Vegan Book club will be an official event at the Library and promoted on all its literature.

We’ll meet quarterly, and the first meeting will probably be some time in April, 2015. The first book (so you can get started early) is Jonathan Safran Foer’s bestselling Eating Animals. The library already stocks several copies of it, and most bookstores should carry it, too.  Below is a description; we’ll post post date and time as soon as they’re available.

Book Description:

Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them.

Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer “at the table with our greatest philosophers.”

3/13 – Join us for Black Tie Rave: A Benefit for Vegan Kalamazoo!

Join Vegan Kalamazoo and some of the Midwest’s top musical artists* for a classy occasion of celebration and raising awareness about vegan culture.

vegankalamazooravepicDate:   Friday, March 13th 2015

Time:   Doors/Socializing at 9pm; Music at 9:30pm; Event ends at 2:00 a.m.

Where: Shakespeare’s Lower Level, 241 East Kalamazoo Ave.

Food: Free vegan snacks will be provided. We also have many vegan drink specials planned including pineapple vodka screwdrivers and tequila Sunrises.

Cost:  $5 Presales. Purchase online.
$7 day of show (at door).
All proceeds go to help Vegan Kalamazoo
Bitcoin Donations: 1BLrbAWYbnhSR9Gg4zdueQDihQwRsm49uU

Formal dress i.e. Black Tie is requested but not required.

Veganism /ˈviːɡənɪzəm/ is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.

*Some of the best artists in the Midwest will be bringing you the entertainment, including:

Genre: minimal | deep house | techno | funky things


DJ Undersound
Genre: House

Hector Cruze
Genre: Subground QULT

For more information contact Chris Hendrickson.

3/5 – Join us for Cowspiracy with Special Guest Dr. Richard Oppenlander!

cowspiracyMarch 1: This event is sold out. Sorry!

Join us for a one-of-a-kind Kalamazoo event!

Join us for a special screening of Cowspiracy with one of its stars, Dr. Richard Oppenlander, author of the bestselling book Comfortably Unaware and founder of the Ope’s Naturals line of vegan foods. After the screening, Dr. Oppenlander will be available to answer your questions about animal agriculture’s effect on climate change.

The screening will be held in Kalamazoo’s coolest movie theater, Alamo Drafthouse, located right behind the Kalamazoo Mall. There’s plenty of free parking, and if you want you can order vegan snacks, dinner, and/or drinks from Alamo’s extensive and delicious menu.

Date and Time:  Thursday March 05, 7:30 p.m.

Where:  Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 180 Portage Street, Kalamazoocomfortablyunaware
(Directions and parking instructions)

Ticket Cost:  $5 per person (not including any food or drink purchases)

Seating is limited – we suggest you buy your tickets now. Sold out, sorry!

Movie description below – see you at this truly special Kalamazoo event!

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today  and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged. As Andersen approaches leaders in the environmental movement, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he dares to persist.

As eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.

Join us for Earthlings at the Natural Health Center – February 12

earthlingsPlease join us for a screening of Earthlings, the acclaimed documentary that looks at humanity’s use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research. The film is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, features music by Moby, was directed by Shaun Monson, and was co-produced by Maggie Q.

When:  Thursday, February 12, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Where: Natural Health Center, 4610 West Main (North of Drake), Kalamazoo, MI, 269-342-9459

Cost:  free; $2 donation to Vegan Kalamazoo requested but optional

RSVP on our Facebook OR Meetup page.

Notes:  There will be a short discussion after the screening. Also, Earthlings contains some graphic scenes depicting animal cruelty.

More info on Earthlings.

No Chicken CAFO in Otsego!

Bad news! An egg producer wants to open a concentrated-animal-feeding-operation (CAFO) in Otsego. This facility would house 480,000 egg-laying chickens in horribly unsanitary, crowded, and cruel conditions. Mlive reports: “People who have moved to the country for peace and quiet and clean air crowded the township hall at the commission’s Dec. 15 meeting to express their concerns.”

As usual, the CAFO owners are promising new jobs—even though CAFOs are highly automated and specifically designed to keep all costs, including labor costs, at rock bottom. The reality is that CAFOs create few jobs, and those jobs they do create tend to be poorly paid and abusive.

Contrary to many people’s belief that eggs are a humane food, there is more “death-per-calorie” in eggs than nearly any other animal product. One reason is that the 50% of newborn chicks who happen to be male (and, thus, non-egg-laying) get snuffed out shortly after birth. In some ways, they’re the lucky ones, since life for the females is an ongoing torment. The company proposing the Otsego CAFO is a distributor for van de Bunte, which claims to raise “happy chickens.” A Harpers reporter visited one of their supposedly “enriched” barns in November and reported:

  • “The air is dense with dander and dust and the smell of chickens and their ammoniac manure. The entire barn is bathed in dim, purplish lighting….Flakes of feed, dander, feathers, and excrement waft through the barn and settle over the cages. The dust gathers and accumulates, turning into a dense coating of grime that attracts flies and makes it hard to breathe. Cleaning chemicals could kill the hens, so the barns are deep-cleaned only every year and a half to two years, when a bird colony is sent to slaughter….[Farmers] set up enormous vents at the front of the barn and giant fans at the back to draw the ammonia – laden air out and fresh air in, but this process creates different problems. The fans blow bits of feather and excrement out into nearby communities, forests, water, and preserves, destroying habitats. In one recent case, the ventilation fans of a 3 million – hen farm sent nearly 5 million pounds of pollutants in the direction of a wildlife refuge a mile down wind.”

    “The sound of 147,000 chickens is sort of an overwhelming roiling moaning or droning, and it reaches the ears in what I can only describe as layers….The hens scuttle away from us as we pass, trampling one another with alarming violence to get to the backs of their cages.”

The Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club has a good page on the environmental damage caused by CAFOs.

Please don’t participate in the violence of eating eggs. You don’t need them for your baking, and your arteries don’t need their unhealthy cholesterol at all. And please join us at the next Otsego planning meeting on Tuesday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m. at the Otsego Township Hall to speak up for the locals and the chickens against exploitative agribusiness.