PASADENA VEGAN LIVING PROGRAM
March 7th - April 4th, 2020
Want to go vegan, but need some help and support? Be a Vegan Pledge in the Pasadena Vegan Living Program! The Vegan Living Program (VLP) is a FREE educational program that covers the how’s and why’s of living vegan, including the ethical and environmental considerations of veganism, nutrition, cooking, meal planning, and living vegan in a not-yet-vegan world. Participants pledge to live vegan for the duration of the program, with the help of volunteer Vegan Coaches and our educational program. Pledges receive a binder full of resources and recipes, and a goody bag of free vegan stuff to make the transition easier and more fun!
It’s clear that more and more of us are interested in addressing animal exploitation, tackling climate change, and concerned about our own health. In fact, according to search engine giant Google, the search interest for “vegan” is on the rise, increasing 32% in recent years. Whatever your motivation, the Vegan Living Program is designed to provide you with the support you need, and to build a community of like-minded individuals.
The Vegan Living Program has been held with overwhelming success from 2011-2017 in Baltimore, MD, since 2014 in Long Island, NY (in conjunction with the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College), and since 2018 in Rochester, NY (in conjunction with Animal Rights Rochester) and Syracuse, NY.
This March 7th - April 4th we are happy to offer the first annual Pasadena Vegan Living Program! Join us for this life-changing month!
Registration and Ways to Get Involved
Not yet vegan? Be a Vegan Pledge.
Are you vegan? Be a Vegan Coach.
Must be vegan for at least one year to be a Vegan Coach. First-time Coaches must attend a Coach Orientation meeting on either Saturday Feb. 22nd, 2:00 - 4:00pm OR Saturday, Feb. 29th, 2:00 - 4:00pm. Both orientations will be held at Hill Avenue library branch, 55 South Hill Avenue, Pasadena, CA.
Help us promote the VLP, or lend a hand at the program itself. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2020 Pasadena VLP Schedule:
The Vegan Living Program sessions are 100% required attendance for Vegan Pledges and Coaches.
The March 7th, March 14th and March 21st VLP sessions will be held at Quaker Meeting House, 520 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104. On March 28th we will take a field trip to Kindred Spirits Care Farm in Reseda, CA (address will be given a week before the trip; we organize carpooling for this session so that no one misses out on going). The final VLP session on April 4th will be held at Victory Park, - NW Shelter, 2575 Paloma St., Pasadena, CA (along Altadena Dr., just south of Pasadena HS football field).
SESSION ONE - March 7, 2:00 - 5:00pm:
Intro to Veganism, Cooking Demo & Coach-Pledge Intros
SESSION TWO - March 14, 2:00 - 5:00pm:
SESSION THREE - March 21, 2:00 - 5:00pm:
The Environment & Living Vegan In a Not-Yet-Vegan World
SESSION FOUR - March 28, day trip:
Field Trip to Kindred Spirits Care Farm
Reseda, CA (address will be given a week before the trip)
SESSION FIVE - April 4, 2:00 - 5:00pm:
Sessions are free. However, a donation to Kindred Spirits Care Farm is requested for the tour. Donations go directly towards feeding and care for the sanctuary animals.
Vegan Living Program educational content is not meant to be construed as health advice, or take the place of a consultation with a medical professional. All Vegan Pledges will be given a release form indicating as much at the first meeting on May 30, which MUST be signed in order to participate in the program.
All educational sessions will be documented with video and/or photography, which will be posted online and/or used in promotional materials for the program. Media may be invited to some sessions. Submitting a registration form for the VLP and/or attending any VLP sessions indicates your acceptance of these terms.
Thank You to Our Sponsors:
Use promo code vegan10 for 10% off!
Are you interested in becoming a sponsor of the Vegan Living Program? Contact Erin at email@example.com for details!
Speaker & Organizer Bios:
Jerneja Tomsic, PhD
Pasadena VLP Organizer
Jerneja has been an “animal lover” since she was 4 years old when her family took in a pregnant mama cat. She got her PhD in Molecular Biology in Italy and in 2005 moved to The Ohio State University for post-doctoral studies. She entered a cancer genetics lab where she trained as a geneticist.
In 2012 Jerneja started volunteering on a weekly basis on the Ohio SPCA sanctuary farm and shortly after joined their response team helping with closing a 250 dog puppy mill and a non-profit horse rescue organization that “went south” where dead horses were found on the property. She was later added to their board of directors that she is still part of. Jerneja went vegan in May 2013 after attending her first circus protest and has been educating herself on animal rights issues ever since.
Doing vegan education has been her dream since late 2015 but hands on volunteer work to keep animals clean has been a priority. When she moved to Pasadena, CA in September 2016 she began doing more education and outreach. She is a member of Veghelp101 group and has been volunteering and serves on the board of directors of Kindred Spirits Care Farm.
Jerneja got her Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from T. Colin Campbell and e-Cornell in February 2018. She uses the knowledge obtained during the program when promoting a wholistic approach to health (specifically cancer prevention) at the medical center where she works.
Pasadena VLP Organizer
Kate learned about the horrific practice of industrial animal agriculture about 20 years ago, as well as the health benefits of a plant-based diet, which led her to start transitioning. About 17 years ago she was down to “cream in my coffee” and then heard the powerful presentation by Tom Regan (American philosopher who specialized in animal rights theory) at an Animals and Society Institute conference in North Carolina--the cream ended and Kate became an ethical vegan.
Kate is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and she clerks the Animal Kinship Committee at Orange Grove Meeting in Pasadena (since 2001). Kate helped found Quaker Animal Kinship (in 2010), a nonprofit supporting veganism.
Kate got her master’s in philosophy with an emphasis on animal ethics, in 2008. She currently teaches philosophy at Pasadena City College.
When she heard about VLP being organized in Pasadena she immediately wanted to be a part of it and was able to secure the venue for the event.
Speaker Session 1, Program Co-founder
Vegan Living Program Founding Director, Robin Helfritch Maratos has been vegan for 2 decades and organizing for animals and leading events for the past 15 years. She co-founded and has been a board member of grassroots animal rights non-profit organizations as well as working for national organizations. She's organized animal rights and vegan education campaigns, conferences, festivals, protests and programs on both the grassroots and national levels.
With childhood and early adult roots in local animal rescue, and many years spent campaigning against fur, foie gras, circuses, rodeos and vivisection, Robin now focuses her main efforts on all-encompassing vegan education, community-building and support. She is co-founder of the Vegan Living Program non-profit organization, and it's signature program, which is now in it's 10th year, 6th city, and 20th program. The Vegan Living Program has helped more than 1,300 people go vegan and stay vegan (and planted seeds in countless others) and has facilitated the building and growth of supportive vegan communities.
Robin's work in the Vegan Living Program organization includes coordinating and co-organizing VLPs in current programs' cities and aiding expansion in new cities, giving vegan education presentations, graphic design of printed and online materials, website and social media, advertising, marketing, and serving as the group's President.
In addition, Robin uses her 25-year experience in graphic design to create print and web materials for other animal rights, vegan, environmental, and animal rescue organizations, helping them further their message for animals and the earth in an eye-catching, professional way.
Speaker Session 1, Program Co-founder
Vegan Living Program Founding Director, Erin Marcus began participating in Washington, DC area animal rights events as a teenager. She led street actions for animals in Baltimore from 2003 to 2017, conducting vegan outreach events and participating in campaigns including Close HLS, KFC Cruelty, and campaigns for fur-bearers and animals used in entertainment. During that time, she also volunteered with labor union UNITE HERE Local 7, human rights organization United Workers, and other social justice groups. In 2011 and 2012, Erin co-organized the Vegtoberfest vegan festival in south Baltimore.
Erin's activist experience also includes co-founding a vegan event venue and food production collective, organizing conferences, nonprofit bookkeeping, developing vegan recipes for foodservice, and writing educational materials for new vegans. She also worked in animal care for seven years. Erin co-organized the Baltimore Vegan Living Program, an education, mentorship, and community-building program for new and aspiring vegans, from the VLP's founding in 2011 through 2017.
In 2016, Erin completed the Changing Our Story Cultural Transformation Course with the Center for Partnership Studies, a cultural change organization rooted in the work of social systems scientist Riane Eisler. Erin counts authors Riane Eisler, Alice Walker, Anna C. Briggs, Jean Houston, Jean Shinoda Bolen and Karen Davis as people whose work has informed and inspired her activism. She credits her rescued canine companion, Endymion, with putting it all in perspective.
Today, Erin is a core member of the Long Island Vegan Living Program organizing team, and she works in conjunction with organizers in other cities to present Vegan Living Programs in their communities.
Session 1, Cooking Demo
Chef Dani spent 30 years as a research scientist. She earned a BS in Chemistry and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. She then moved on to do a post-doc in Molecular Biology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle followed by work in Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut and at UCLA.
However, she found research in the medical field to be unsatisfying. Much of the research focused on trying to find new drug combinations to treat symptoms rather than focusing on disease prevention, and relied heavily on animal models that did not truly replicate human disease or animal products to enable cell culture.
To bring joy back into her life, Dani changed career and became a vegan chef. She approaches each dish as an opportunity to experiment in the kitchen, trying new techniques and flavor combinations to produce delicious and exciting dishes. She hopes eating her food brings you as much joy as she experienced making it.
Matt Ruscigno, RD
Speaker Session 2
Matt is a vegan of 23 years and a leading expert in nutrition. He has a Nutritional Science degree from Pennsylvania State University, a Public Health Nutrition masters degree from Loma Linda University, and certification as a Registered Dietitian- one of the only professional nutrition credentials. In addition to working with vegetarian clients and athletes, Matt is the Past-Chair of the Vegetarian Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He is a co-author of the No Meat Athlete book with Matt Frazier, Appetite for Reduction with Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Plant-Based Sports Nutrition: Expert Fueling Strategies for Training, Recovery, and Performance with D. Enette Larson-Meye.
Speaker Session 3
Demosthenes serves as the Communications Director at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY, where he has been employed since 2009. Demosthenes has worked in the field of environmental and public policy since 1989. He began his career with the Long Island Neighborhood Network, the New York region’s largest and most active environmental advocacy organization. There, in addition to many successful efforts, he campaigned for the two most significant pieces of pesticide legislation in New York State history - the Neighbor Notification of Pesticide Spraying law and the Safe School Grounds law.
With the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, Demosthenes is part of a team that provides community education and fosters informed debate on key issues related to sustainability. His work also includes integrating concepts of sustainability, environmental ethics, and veganism into the curriculum, operations and culture at Molloy College and the larger Long Island community. He is the Sustainability Institute’s lead organizer of the annual Long Island Vegan Living Program, and is on the Vegan Living Program's Board of Directors. In addition, he hosts the Sustainability Institute's Sustainable Living Film Series that boasts an entirely vegan menu at each screening, and makes the ethics and environmental benefits of veganism a central focus of each event. He is featured in the 2014 documentary film, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret that is streaming worldwide on Netflix.
Panelist Session 3
Cristina went vegan at the age of 16 in response to a pamphlet from Vegan Outreach and never looked back. After four years of animal rights activism as a student at UC Irvine, she went on to complete outreach tours with both peta2 and Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) to educate college students across the country about animal agriculture and veganism. She is currently reprising her role as a writer for happyhappyvegan.com while starting her own companion animal care business.
Panelist Session 3
Maria Maisto went vegetarian nearly 30 years ago (not an easy task as a teenager growing up in NJ to an Italian family). She came to California where she received her B.A. in Kinesiology from USC, and later after studying Mindfulness and receiving her meditation instructor certification (CMI) over ten years ago, she made the transition to veganism.
Maria is owned by two rescue cats, Mina and Max, and is a regular volunteer at Kindred Spirits Care Farm in Los Angeles, where you can usually find her cuddling her favorite goose, Wilbur.
Panelist Session 3
Patricia Todd is the founder, coordinator and facilitator of VegHelp101 Vegan Education and Support Group. She is a longtime vegetarian turned vegan in 2010. She is certified by Dr. Will Tuttle to facilitate courses on and to share the principles of The World Peace Diet – Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony.
She has facilitated National Issues Forums upon receiving training at UC Davis campus. Patricia is also available for local speaking presentations and to table at health, vegan, animal rights and welfare fairs and festivals.
Noé Rubén Chávez, PhD
Panelist Session 3
Noé, along with his wife and daughter, went vegan 2 ½ years ago. Noe is Assistant Professor in Community Psychology at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, located in South Los Angeles. His transformation to veganism was not easy and it continues to be challenging at times, however, the alignment with his commitment to social justice and holistic perspective tied to his youth empowerment and community health equity research is a constant reminder of why he continues to be vegan. Also, seeing his daughter grow up healthy, her love of animals and Oh yes, her inheritance of a better planet, is also reaffirming.
Speaker & Tour Guide Session 4
Karen Snook is the Executive Director and founder of Kindred Spirits Care Farm. After 20 years in the corporate world where her last role was Vice President of Leadership Development for Countrywide Financial Corp., she decided to follow her heart and work in the non-profit world. She got her undergraduate degree from UCLA and her MBA from Pepperdine. She has been the Executive Director for three other animal advocacy organizations and learned a lot from each experience. She earned her Permaculture Design Certificate from Larry Santoyo, and enjoys designing super-efficient multi-function gardens. Kindred Spirits Care Farm is the fulfillment of a dream for her.
As of this writing, so many of her dreams are coming true. For the last 5+ years she has been working with John R. Wooden continuation High School to develop their care farm on the grounds of their school and working with at risk youth. Now Kindred Spirits Care Farm has also a ranch of their own. In December 2019, they purchased 6.5 acres in Chatsworth so they can help more people and be more available to those who can benefit from a care farm situation. And they are starting to work with more schools and adding more programs. It just keeps getting better and better.
"I recommend this excellent program to anyone who is interested in learning more about the vegan perspective. The presentations are informative and practical. Myths are dispelled here. Yes, it is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet, and vegan food can be delicious! More importantly, people who care about the impact they have on their fellow beings, and on the environment, come together to explore the possibilities for change."
~ Pamela Kenley-Meschino
Vegan Living Program participant, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL LIST
Stay updated on news about our Vegan Living Programs!