My Vegan Life
I went vegan on New Year's Day 1996 with my then-partner and now best friend Megan Shackelford and have never looked back since. By 1998 I was enmeshed in the Rochester vegan community and was serving on the board of directors of the Rochester Area Vegetarian Society (RAVS). Moving to Northampton, Massachusetts in 1999 I began to put my talents as a photographer and web designer to work for the movement. I created the web site Veganica.com which launched in 2000 as an online community for vegan artists and musicians (now out-dated and on the back-burner). In 2001 I began photographing events and animals for Farm Sanctuary and also became the photography advisor for VegNews magazine. My photographs of sanctuary farm animals have since been published in dozens of magazines, newspapers and books all over the world. Many of the them will be featured in the new book Ninety-Five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs by No Voice Unheard press.
In 2005 a community radio station called ValleyFree Radio launched in Northampton and I decided a show about veganism would be just the thing. In October of 2005 Vegan Radio made its debut and featured me and my co-hosts Megan Shackelford and Scott Lahteine. Together we covered news stories and events, interviewed vegans and animal rights activists, and played music by vegans. The broadcast shows were digitized and made into podcasts. Vegan Radio was one of the earliest vegan podcasts and remains one of the most popular today. In December of 2005 I received Farm Sanctuary's Outstanding Activist Award.
2006 was the year that I got the Good Egg Award from Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the "Friend of Farm Animals" Award from Farm Sanctuary, honors I will cherish for the rest of my life. I also began to work part time as a vegan baker and vegan brunch chef at Cafe Evolution in Florence, MA, which I continued doing until the end of 2009.
In late August of 2006 I went to the Burning Man festival and was inspired by the amazing artworks and abundance of creativity among the participants. This event grows in size and scope every year and is shaping culture and art all around the world. I realized the potential that bringing a vegan message to the event could have and in an epiphany came up with the concept of a veggie-powered school bus that would be a vehicle for doing education and outreach about veganism - the Vegan Bus.
In April of 2007 a group of vegan friends and I began fund raising and by August had purchased a full sized school bus and converted it to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO). We took the bus on its maiden voyage of 6000 miles (round trip) from Massachusetts to Nevada to attend the 2007 Burning Man Festival, where we joined with an organization called Vegcamp that did outreach and education at the event.
I moved to New Orleans in January of 2010 and wrote a column at Examiner.com as the New Orleans Vegan Examiner. I also created the website for the NOLA Veggie Fest, and gave a talk on yoga and veganism at the event in 2012.
In April of 2012 moved to New York City to work for Jivamukti Yoga as the Web Editor of their new web site, launched in December of that year. Jivamukti Yoga promotes the practice of non-violence towards all beings (Ahimsa) as one of the most important aspects of a spiritual path. The website has blogs and discourses promoting veganism and compassion, and is followed internationally.
In NYC I began teaching yoga in the vegan community. I taught yoga at the 2012 & 2013 Vegan Spirituality Retreats in Philadelphia, at the NYC Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals, at the 2013 The Seed event in NYC, and at the 2013 & 2014 Farm Sanctuary Hoe Down in Watkins Glen, NY.
Our Hen House
In 2015 I was featured on the Our Hen House TV show in Brooklyn NY. Our Hen House’s TV show, a co-production with Brooklyn Independent Media, ventures into the under-explored world of animals rights with a sense of humor, a passionate heart, and more than a few opinions on the state of animal rights. The show features me playing Big'Ole Vegan Mountains on ukulele, photography of farm animals, talk of yoga (including a handstand demo!), and tasting of vegan nut cheeses that I made.
The Big Ole' Vegan Mountains
I created new lyrics about a vegan paradise (instead of a hobo one) to the tune of the folk classic Big Rock Candy Mountain. It is making its way around the vegan subculture...
Check out this alternate audio only version of The Big 'Ole Vegan Mountains (mp3 version on guitar with animal sounds)