Thursday, September 4, 2008

These Pleather Boots Were Made for Walking

(and that's just what I'll do...)

We all know that tofutti cuties taste particularly pleasant while watching Late Night Oprah—especially when your girlfriend just broke up with you and you have no other choice but to drown your sorrows in sugar (been there). Yes, of course it’s nice to treat yourself to a mani-pedi after an exhausting day of shopping for a new pair of pleather pumps that will work perfectly with your vintage denim mini. Yeah yeah, me me me. I get it, I do. But for those days when that song gets tired and you realize that there are bigger and better things to fight for than your choice for American Idol, or for moments when you are newly convinced that karma’s a bitch and you’d better do something quick to get some (dairy-free) brownie points, you may be better suited focusing your attention outward—and burning some calories while you’re at it.

Now, with that in mind, what do the following things have in common and why should they matter to you: Central Park in late September; delicious—and deliciously free!—vegan food; stellar live music; and the cutest, sweetest turkeys and cattle and pigs (oh my!) you’ve ever heard of? They are all part of the Walk for Farm Animals, an annual tradition that is not only changing hearts and minds, is not just a fun afternoon in the sun, but also happens to be a totally necessary fund and awareness raiser for Farm Sanctuary.

The Walk for Farm Animals is taking place this year in over 50 cities nationwide, and more than 2,000 people are expected to take part. In honor of World Farm Animals Day on October 2 (and no, unfortunately you don’t get off of work that day), the Walks are held annually throughout September and October. Last year, the national Walk for Farm Animals raised $180,000, with donations going directly to the rescue efforts of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farmed animal protection organization.

Now, let’s talk about the Big Apple specifically. Last year, I coordinated the NYC Walk, and we wound up raising over $40,000 and had over 350 walkers. It was a total celebration of the farm animals, which is what it will be this year too. This year, I’m co-coordinating all of the national Walks, and I couldn’t be more excited to have something so amazing keep me up at night in anticipation (as I watch Late Night Oprah and inhale mint-chip Tofutti Cuties, but I digress).

As truly awesome as the NYC Walk was last year, this year it is going to be even more outstanding. We have two live bands, the most ridiculously-divine food donated by The Groovy Baker, special speakers including the incomparable State Senator Liz Krueger, and raffle prizes that make me wonder if I should leave my job just long enough to be allowed to buy raffle tickets. (Prizes include a stay at the Farm Sanctuary B&B, gift certificates to your favorite vegan restaurants, handmade jewelry by some of the finest artists in the city, and a subscription to VegNews Magazine.) Oh, and once again, I’ll be MCing along with my co-MC (and BFF, FYI), Marisa.

In all seriousness, the issue of farm animal cruelty is one that is very real, and in huge need of both money and empathic ears. Here’s a personal story of Woe-is-(NOT!)-Me that I didn’t think I’d share, but here we go anyway…

Call it my little-sister identity, my Jewish upbringing, my feminist POV, or call it what you will, but from time to time, I have been known to complain…a little. (Insert the eye-roll of at least 2,000 of my closest friends.) So one day, when even I got sick of listening to my own histrionics, I walked to the tattoo place down the street and got the number “267” tattooed in black ink on my left wrist. This number, which was quoted from an article co-written by my amazingly smart and beautiful partner—is the amount of chickens killed in this country for food, EVERY SECOND. Actually wait, I take that back—the number is now 286 (and no, I will not get another tattoo). The point is, I did not get 267 etched into my body because I think I’m bad-ass, rather, it serves as a reminder to me to keep things in perspective, and to not get so caught up in the minor details that I forget about those struggling for their lives every second. It’s high time to get real and get moving. Welcome to the 21st Century, boys and girls—social justice activism is sexy!

The Walk for Farm Animals is a celebration of the lucky ones who managed to escape the horrors of factory farming. It’s a chill day where people from all over come and stand in solidarity with others who are also making a difference (insert starfish story here). If you live in or around NYC, I hope you’ll come to the NYC Walk this year—it SO beats sugar shock, SO beats reruns of Oprah. If you can’t make it, why not register anyway and just send around an email to your friends/co-workers/family asking them to donate to your online page. It will literally take you 10 minutes or less, right now, to do that, and it will honestly make the world of difference (shit—am I starting to sound like the woman from All in the Family?). If you’re not in NYC, check out some of our other Walk locations, and register for one near you. And if you’re so inclined start your very own Walk for Farm Animals, email me at and I'll get you set up.

Below is the info for the NYC Walk. When you register, you’ll also get a really cool t-shirt, and you’ll get a subscription to Sanctuary Magazine—for $15 (in advance; $20 day-of). That’s less expensive than getting just one hand manicured at a so-so nail place!

New York City Walk for Farm Animals

Date: Sept. 28
Time: Registration 10 a.m., Walk 12 noon
Location: Columbus Circle
Local Walk Coordinator: Cody
Phone: 917-670-0347

I’ll leave you with this: Here is a quote I like. Looking forward to seeing you at the Walk for Farm Animals!

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.”—Samuel Adams