Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Assignment: Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary at Kindfood

Kelly Childs & Erinn's Road Trip to Farm Sanctuary 2007

I was so inspired by Kindfood, an amazing vegan restaurant in Burlington, Ontario that I decided to write vegan restaurant reviews on this blog. Vex in the City: Part 1 Kindfood was my very first vegan restaurant review. I have been so inspired by the type of work that Kelly Childs, daughter Erinn, husband Ken, and their crew do with their restaurant. Kindfood is more than a restaurant, bakery, and grocer, it is a cooking school and a community hub for vegan activities.

I was invited, along with other bloggers, by Kindfood to attend a talk with Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. Although Kindfood is located about an hour from Toronto, I decided that this trek was worth it. Plus, I am unable to attend Gene's talk later today. I was surprised with a delicious breakfast of scrambled tofu, sourdough toast, banana muffin, and a Gene's smoothie.

Yummy!!!! The tofu scramble was so tasty, sort of like curried scrambled eggs. As for the banana muffin, very good with chocolate chips.

Now in its 25th year, Farm Sanctuaryworks to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living. It is a home for animals rescued from factory farms and slaughterhouses. From its first resident "Hilda", a sheep which he found on the "dead pile" at a slaughterhouse (yet she was still alive and went on to live for 10 years), rescued and kept in a backyard in Delaware, Farm Sanctuary has grown to house animals in two locations-- Watkins Glen, New York and California. Being moved by this experience and his visits to slaughterhouses, Gene Baur began Farm Sanctuary which also helps to change farming practice in the United States, work on legislation, awareness, and promote vegan lifestyle.

In many of the books I read about veganism and factory farms, Farm Sanctuary is consistently mentioned as a model for farm animal rescue. It gives one a sense of hope that a compassionate place exists for farm animals. Baur says that farm animals are at our mercy, people control their lives from conception until death. Remembering the film Temple Grandin, I am reminded of the lead character saying that farm animals deserve to be shown "some respect".

Gene Baur believes that today we have more food options available than during other periods in history hence, we can choose to eat more consciously. Hunting societies thrived when plant-based food sources were scarce. People hunted and slaughtered animals as a means of survival. In times of scarcity and starvation, people have even resorted to cannibalism. Being a vegan since 1985, Gene recognizes that the way we eat affects other animals and encourages folks to align their values with their food choices. He believes that shutting off compassion towards animals, affects the way we act toward other people. Although he sites the huge environmental impact of the livestock industry and farming industries, he believes that the number one reason people are becoming vegan is for health. Regardless, being a vegan is positive physically, spiritually, ethically, and environmentally.

Kindfood owner Kelly Childs interviews Gene Baur, co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary

Gene speaks from a place of compassion. I am glad that I had this opportunity to meet him and learn about his work. I asked him which books he would recommend that I read. He named three which I have already read but mentioned Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully and, with some prompting, his new book Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food.

Gene Baur and I. He has that Superman smile (bing!)

Empathy Unlimited and the Toronto Vegetarian Association present 10 000 Tastes, 10 Billion Reasons, a two-part event going on today, August 10th, 2011. Free veggie dogs and vegan food will be given away today at Yonge-Dundas Square from 12-6pm. That's right I said free. I like free! As part of Farm Sanctuary's 25th Anniversary Tour, Gene Baur will be speaking later in Toronto.

1 comment:

Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

I am sorry I had to miss the breakfast - looks great!

Gene Baur and Kindfood are doing such great work. Thanks for your report.