If you’ve kept up with the Well Vegan blog over the past couple of weeks, you might have noticed there’s a newbie on the team. That’s me! My name is Kate. I’m a longtime vegetarian, a fairly new vegan, and a firm believer that there’s nothing (vegan) pizza can’t fix. Aside from being a foodie, I’m also a blogger and copywriter based in Los Angeles (which is quite possibly the most vegan-friendly city in America.) Needless to say, I’m really excited to add another dimension to the tasty collection of vegan knowledge nuggets that Katie has cooked up for countless readers like you over the past couple of years.
While many vegans choose to adopt a plant-based diet for the numerous health benefits, there are also a lot of ethical reasons to forgo animal products. With this in mind, I’d like to shine a spotlight on an organization that makes my heart sing: Farm Sanctuary.
According to its mission statement, Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to “protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.” Over the years, Farm Sanctuary has become the nation’s largest and most effective organization of it’s kind, and has rescued and rehabilitated thousands of abused farm animals at its three shelters in Watkins Glen, New York; Orland, California; and Acton, California.
When I moved to Los Angeles from Chicago last month, one of the first things on my to-do list was to volunteer at Farm Sanctuary’s Southern California shelter, which is located about 45 minutes from Hollywood. Not long after I got settled into my west coast digs, I signed up for the Farm Sanctuary Volunteer Work Party and eagerly awaited the day when I’d get up close and personal with my new farm animal friends.
After much anticipation, the volunteer work party finally arrived. The day started with a few hours of volunteer work, which included everything from landscaping duties to cleaning up after the farm animals. Next, the group gathered for a vegan potluck lunch where volunteers shared their inspiring journeys to adopting a plant-based diet. Bonus: You also get to try a bunch of yummy vegan dishes. I’ve already incorporated a few into my vegan meal plan. After lunch we did a bit more volunteer work, and the day concluded with a guided tour of Farm Sanctuary’s Acton shelter.
If you’re inspired to sign up for a volunteer work party at any of Farm Sanctuary’s shelters, here are a few nuggets of wisdom I’d like to pass on:
- Stay hydrated! Drink LOTS of water.
- Bring your own work gloves. I had a blister that wouldn’t quit.
- Apply sunscreen often, especially if you’re in the desert in July. Sunburn = ouch.
- Make sure that the dish you bring for the vegan potluck is, in fact, vegan.
- Bring a camera. Taking selfies with farm animals is simply the best.
In short, I can’t say enough good things about Farm Sanctuary and the experience I had at the volunteer work party. The folks who run the shelters are so appreciative of anyone who has interest in helping them carry out their mission of rescuing, protecting, and caring for farm animals. You can check out the whole list of volunteer opportunities at Farm Sanctuary here. Or, if you’d simply like to educate yourself about factory farming and the ethical side of adopting a vegan meal plan, all three shelters offer guided tours where you can meet the farm animals and learn about their stories of struggle and survival.