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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters

Fall 2001 Issue

COLUMBIA COUNTY CORNER

NEWS FROM THE COLUMBIA-GREENE CHAPTER OF MID-HUDSON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY

By Joan Zacharias

"What’s a nice vegetarian like you doing in a place like this?" people asked when they saw our booth at last year’s Columbia County fair – not exactly the perfect venue for human herbivores. But this was exactly where we wanted to be: in the midst of 65,000 hot-dog eating, monster tractor-loving fairgoers.  People took loads of vegetarian literature, signed up for our mailing list and expressed interest in learning how to eat more healthfully.  Not everyone was thrilled to see us, however, as we witnessed some of our literature being "barbecued" on a grill over at the 4H dairy barn.

Despite living in one of the most beautiful rural areas in the nation – with dozens of organic farms and abundant outlets for fresh-picked fruits and veggies, people are fat and sick here, like everywhere else in America, from eating the standard meat and dairy diet. One look at their school lunch menus and it’s not hard to track their eating habits – or to foresee what today’s child’s arteries are going to look like in a few years.

We knew that we had a great challenge in spreading the word to this community, but we wanted to start small and move slowly. Despite this, we were surprised, and delighted, to see over 100 people who showed up from as far away as New York City and Saratoga to our first event — a July 4th barbecue. They came, proudly bearing delectable dishes – many made with homegrown ingredients plucked from their own gardens.  It was a perfect day.  There were people, and companion dogs, from every generation.  To a steady background of traditional Irish music performed by local musicians, we played Frisbee and basketball, participated in a watermelon seed-spitting contest, and generally enjoyed the good food and happy vibes.  By popular demand, we’ll do this every year.

As this newsletter goes into publication, we’re back at the county fair – a place that didn’t feel so welcome a few months ago when fair organizers told us we were banned after the dairy and cattle farmers complained about our "anti-agriculture" literature. With the help of vegetarians everywhere, local free speech supporters and a good lawyer, we made peace with fair officials and have had our booth this year, just as last year: right across from the American Legion Hot Dog Booth.

Some folks love us, others loathe or fear us, but we feel strongly that people have a right to the full range of information they need to make important decisions about their health.  Vegetarian societies like ours are akin to a great "nutrition underground" – disseminating truth kits against the big fast-food / junk food empire.  What’s frightening to the dairy and cattle folks is that people are starting to see that the emperor has no clothes – and he’s all blubber! People are tired of being sick and tired.  They want to get off their medications and start living again.  That means turning their backs on meat and dairy, which strikes fear in the bellies of those who make a living pushing these products.

In this rural area, we are told that we must choose between animal agriculture and development. In other words, animals must be killed in order to keep our open spaces. But farms like Huguenot Street in New Paltz are thriving by using "green (plant based) manure" and soybean meal instead of slaughterhouse byproducts or animal feces. Not a single animal was harmed to produce their vegetables. Vegan organic farming methods – as old as the ancient Romans – must be taught once again.

Besides our cooking classes, restaurant outings, potlucks and picnics, we hope to encourage dialogue in the community about some of the "traditions" that foster unhealthy attitudes toward animals, including pig roasts, 4H and fishing contests. We will also enthusiastically support Farm Sanctuary’s new campaign for recognition of farm animals as sentient beings.

See about the county fair in News Briefs!

MID-HUDSON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY
Columbia-Greene Chapter
P.O. Box 166
Chatham, NY 12037
(518) 392-VEGI
E-mail: joanzach@taconic.net .

Harvest Moon
Vegetarian Potluck
& Barn Dance

On Saturday, September 29, 5 to 10 PM, Little Brook Farm, Old Chatham, NY: Join the Columbia-Greene Chapter, other MHVS members, and guests in this century-old classic barn to welcome autumn with the bounty of the harvest.  There will be foot-stomping music and a chance to commune with all the rescued animals, including lots of cats and horses who need good homes.

We will also honor the work of two of the community’s most committed animal rescuers: Lynn Cross of B.I.T.S.  (Balanced Innovative Teaching Strategies, an educational riding program to build positive self-image in children) and Katrin Hecker of AnimalKind. (Shh, don’t tell Lynn, but we will also be celebrating her birthday!)

Please bring a vegetarian dish (no meat, dairy, eggs or honey) for 6+ people.  No admission, but suggested tax-deductible donation of at least $20 will go to raising funds for local animal rescue work.

All are welcome, including children and non-vegetarians.

For more information, contact the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Columbia-Greene Chapter at 518-392-VEGI (8344).

Return to Fall 2001 Newsletter

We look forward to hearing from you

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