Twin Cities Veg Fest!: Interview with Unny Nambudiripad

Happy Wednesday, readers! I’m really excited for today’s post! I had the opportunity to interview Unny Nambudiripad, the Executive Director of Compassionate Action for Animals , the organization hosting the upcoming Twin Cities Veg Fest, which is happening in Minneapolis this Saturday, July 14th, 10am-5pm at the Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota campus

Unny answered my questions about what you can expect if you attend the festival, and also a bit about his own journey into veganism. Enjoy the interview, and if you live in the Twin Cities area, I hope you’ll stop by the fest!

RGK: What’s the mission of Veg Fest?
UN: Our mission is to help animals by encouraging people to eat more plant-based foods. Animals in modern farms are treated with such cruelty. We want people to be aware of what’s going on with animals and also know about the vegetarian alternative. Animals’ fate is determined every time we eat!

Who should attend Veg Fest? What can they expect to see and do?
Everybody should! I’d really like to see folks that are curious and would like to get more resources. Don’t know what vegan products to try? Come try our samples of Field Roast or Dandies. Want to know more about vegan nutrition? Attend the talk by dietician Suzy Sorensen, RD.We’ve got three places selling excellent vegan food:

  • The Seward Cafe will be selling excellent American-style vegan food
  • Pure Market Express offers innovative raw food
  • Asase Yaa serves up flavor-packed global fare.
We have a kids area, more resources, and most importantly: fun, compassionate people!
How did you first get involved with a vegan lifestyle?
My ancestors were vegetarian for generations, but when my parents came to the United States before I was born my dad started eating meat. My mom remained a vegetarian and my brothers and I ate all-vegetarian food at home. We ate meat at restaurants, friends’ houses, and at school. I didn’t think about it much.

As an adult my brother and I traveled to India and we explored on our own. I became a vegetarian at that time, it was an unconscious process that I later realized was my way of connecting with my heritage.

After I became a vegetarian, I started wondering about the ethics. I met some vegans, read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, and became vegan and got involved in animal advocacy.

For somebody like me who’s primarily concerned about the morality of our food choices, I see that my path was not very direct. I think that most people have a number of factors that influence their dietary choices, and a powerful force is the culture that we’re around. This festival is about creating a culture where considering the treatment of animals in our diets is the norm. I want folks to have a good time, see that there are other folks who care about animals, and recognize that vegetarians are normal–or strange in a good way!

What are you most looking forward to about Veg Fest?
I’ve been advocating for animals for 15 years and I see this event, and all I do, as steps along the way to change how farmed animals are treated. Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress, but I stay positive because I know that’’s what’’s needed to be successful. I hope that this event will bring more people into the animal advocacy movement. I’m looking forward to hearing folks say, “Yeah, I can try being a vegan.”
What’s your favorite vegan food?
I like what my mom makes for me. It’s not simply that I think it tastes good, is healthy, and is vegan. It’s that the food is made with care and love.

Thanks, Unny!

Will you be at the Twin Cities Veg Fest? If you’re not in the area, do you have a comparable fest in your region?

2 thoughts on “Twin Cities Veg Fest!: Interview with Unny Nambudiripad

  1. Katie says:

    Yeah, Unny! Love that you interviewed such a connector of the vegan community! I bookmarked this blog because it’s in Minneapolis, so I love seeing local stuff on here.

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