Tell us a little about yourself
I live in Newberg, Oregon and have worked as a licensed veterinary technician since 1995 at a mixed animal hospital. We treat dogs, cats, and farm animals. I began working in the environmental movement back in the 90s and worked as a licensed wildlife rehabber also, volunteering at the Audubon Society of Portland. In 2008 I moved onto my grandparent’s farm where I spent a majority of my childhood, and in 2012 founded Wildwood Farm Sanctuary and Wildwood Conservancy of Oregon an Eco-Animal sanctuary dedicated to promoting compassion and education on animal and environmental issues.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
I became vegan about 10 years ago after being vegetarian before that. My decision to become vegan came about because I have spent most my life rescuing animals and working as a veterinary technician with dogs and cats as well as farm animals, seeing how similar they are, also making the connection that I could no longer work to save animals as a vet tech then go out and eat animal products contributing to their suffering and death.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
Phasing out animal products was not that difficult. I just began paying more attention to food and clothing labels. With so many alternatives to animal products, it’s easy to make the switch.
Do you make any exceptions?
Our household is a vegan household. Sending vegan lunches to school, asking questions about what type of food is being offered at family and friend gatherings so we can be prepared helps a lot Creating fun, yummy vegan meals for kids is not that difficult and getting my kids involved in preparing meals, talking about why we choose certain ingredients instead of animal based products helps them understand more about what they’re eating.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
I think it depends of the age of children and their maturity level. Most children are born compassionate and loving of animals. Keeping them on that path in a world that that tells them to view animals differently is the challenge. Children are like sponges and look to family members and adults around them on how to behave. Setting examples of compassion and empathy for all life, and talking with our children is the best way to keep them on that path.
What does being vegan mean to you?
Being vegan to me not only means I’m no longer consuming or using animal product because of animal cruelty, but rather living a life of compassion for all beings, human and non human that we share this planet with. I’m a big believer in living a life of practice and not perfection. I think many people return to a
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
Living vegan is a form of activism in itself. It’s probably one of the most impactful and important forms of activism we as people can do.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I can be compassionate and empathetic towards non vegans because at one time I was where they are. People have the ability to change. Presenting yourself as a positive representation of how it is to live a vegan life will bring more non vegans in to our circle.
Any recommended Vegan books?
I highly recommend “This Is Hope- Green Vegans And The New Human Ecology” by Will Anderson. I’m a firm believer that being vegan is not just about avoiding contributing to animal cruelty but how our actions affect animals, environment, and ecology of our planet as a whole.
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
Wildwoodfarmsanctuary.org I also recommend watching the movie, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. It definitely makes the connection on how our diet affects not only animals but our planet.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Blossoming Lotus in Portland, Oregon.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Any type of vegan blueberry pancake recipe!
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Congratulations on your vegan journey! Seek out groups and mentors in your community. Stay connected with other likeminded people and get involved where you can and feel comfortable in your own journey.
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
Newberg, Oregon is mostly rural so the vegan scene is pretty limited but more restaurants and grocery stores are now offering vegan options which is a plus. We even have a local vegan group called, Newberg Vegans.
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Social networking is great! There are so many online groups you can join. The key is to stay connected. Find meetups in your area, attend a VegFest or conference. It seems nowadays there’s always some sort of veg event or gathering.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
The Herbivore Clothing Company, most Paul Mitchell hair products are vegan, Ecotools makeup brushes, Nature’s Gate hair products are also great.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
There was a time recently when I struggled with my veganism. Being online in the vegan community can definitely have its benefits, but there can also be a downside to being exposed to so many opinions and ideals put out by people on how they think vegans “should” live their lives and think on different matters. This can get overwhelming and it’s easy to feel like your not living up to the ideal. I believe finding a balance and not comparing yourself to others, doing what works best for yourself, and surrounding yourself with positive, supportive, like-minded people will keep you on track with your beliefs.