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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 2007 Issue

MHVS forms new Advisory Board, standing committees

Over the summer, the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society moved to create three new standing committees and an Advisory Board.

The Advisory Board consists of friends and colleagues of MHVS who have unique expertise and experience in several distinct fields related to choosing and living a vegan lifestyle. Members of the new Advisory Board have backgrounds ranging from animal sanctuary work to medical and health expertise and spirituality. All have also demonstrated friendship, accessibility and a great willingness to share their wisdom with MHVS.

The members of the Advisory Board will aid MHVS through their sharing of knowledge, experience and good-counsel as needed. To a large degree, creation of this board formalizes collegial relationships that already exist between MHVS and the individuals named to the Advisory Board.

The Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society Advisory Board now includes:

Harold Brown, outreach coordinator, Farm Sanctuary; Jenny Brown, director, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary; Frank and Mary Hoffman, proprietors, All-Creatures.org; Matt and Mary Kelly, co-founders, Berkshire Vegetarian Network; Milton Mills, MD, internist and advisor to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; and Kathy Stevens, director, Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Brief biographies and photos of the Advisory Board members will run in the Winter edition of Vegetarian Viewpoints.

Standing committees

In an effort to answer concerns and engage the interests of Mid- Hudson Vegetarian Society members, the board voted over the summer to create three standing committees: Health Committee, Environmental Committee, and Animal Advocacy Committee. The committees were created to recognize and respond to the specific interests of members at large and members of the board as well. The creation of the committees is intended to empower members with a specific, focused interest in any one of the three areas of committee concern to work specifically for the advancement of those concerns within the wider community (as well as among the MHVS membership).

It is hoped that the committee structure will foster focused, consistent issue-based advocacy. The three-committee design encompasses, broadly, the three most-commonly sited categories of reasons for which people choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. In most individual “vegetarian journey” one of these concerns led to a lifestyle transition, with awareness and interest of the other reasons following along later.

For instance, Rae Schlecht and Roberta Schiff (foundress and current president respectively) each sited health reasons for their transition. Each later came to appreciate and advocate for animals and the environment with time. Conversely, Jim Van Alstine, vice president, became vegetarian with the dawning of his animal rights ethic while in his twenties. As his twenties have given way to his forties, Jim has noticed the health reasons for being vegan are pretty important, too (total un-medicated blood cholesterol level: 175).

From “Diet for a Small Planet” through “Beyond Beef” and “Diet for a New America” advocates of plant-based diets have long lamented livestock’s impact on the environment and urged revolutionary changes in diet as a key to saving the planet. Mainstream media and the culture at large seem, lately, to have suddenly awoke to the challenges of global warming. While the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization seems to have reached some understanding of the meat and environment problem in its report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, other wouldbe environmental advocates remain largely deaf to the issue. For instance, Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth” avoids any mention of meat’s environmental impact.

Such national and international discourse points to an opportunity for organizations such as the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society to engage the broader community in a discovery of animal agriculture’s impact on the environment.

Similarly, the Health Committee will be well-positioned to engage regional health and wellness professionals, non-profit organizations, and government entities to encourage greater awareness and support of healthful plant-based diets that have been shown to favorably impact health concerns including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The Animal Advocacy Committee will be charged with goal of being a consistent voice for those animals who are most commonly considered ingredients, rather than beings. The Hudson Valley is home to compassionate people, culturally progressive communities, great local produce farms and vegetarian, vegan and veg-friendly restaurants who use the local harvest. The Hudson Valley is also home uncountable pig-roast fundraisers and a growing number of so-called “grass-fed” beef and “freerange” chicken producers; the latter of which strive daily to put a friendly face on the enslavement, slaughter and dismemberment of sentient beings in the guise of boutique meats.

In an effort to be a more consistent and effective voice for change in all three of these key areas of concern for vegetarians, the MHVS is inviting interested members to join any of the three committees. Currently, Jim Van Alstine, vice president, and Alyse Dietrich are serving on the Environmental Committee, Roberta Schiff, president, is on the Health Committee and Judi Gelardi, membership coordinator, is on the Animal Advocacy Committee.

Any member interested in serving on any of the committees may send an email to the following addresses:

Committees@mhvs.org or phone the office at 845•876•2626

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Return to Fall 2007 Issue

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