Welcome Vegans and Vegetarians!The Vegetarian Network of Austin is Austin's longest-serving family-friendly social and educational vegetarian group, active in promoting vegetarianism in Austin since 1996. We aim to make it easier for new people to find out about vegan and vegetarian resources, businesses and activities in Austin.
We have at least two meetings each month, a potluck dinner held at one of our members' homes, and a restaurant visit for lunch or dinner a local vegetarian or vegan establishment, or at least one with a vegetarian-friendly atmosphere and menu. We also sometimes have food classes, film presentations, and tabling efforts at local events.
We produce a newsletter for Austin's vegan/vegetarian community five times a year, Austin Vegetarian Living, that's mailed out to our directory and distributed around town at various eateries and shops. We also produce a podcast on roughly the same schedule.
If you're interested in helping support the VNA's efforts, we encourage you to consider joining us as a VNA Director. Directorships have different levels to fit your level of interest, and we offer Directors several benefits.
You don't have to be vegan or vegetarian to attend our events, but we ask that you bring a vegan dish to our potlucks and order vegetarian at our restaurant visits.
december 7 2013
Our monthly potluck for December will of course be our annual Holiday Potluck and "White Elephant" Party. It'll be held next Saturday, December 14th. Once again Nancy Woolley has graciously offered to host us at her home in west Austin. The White Elephant gift exchange is always a ton of fun and sometimes even gets a little rowdy, so come join us! Check the Calendar page for details.
Holiday Potluck and "White Elephant" Party in one week!
november 25 2013
The VNA is hosting a very special holiday dinner at Clay Pit, the downtown contemporary Indian restaurant. We've reserved the Wine Room for a three-course vegan (and completely gluten-free) family-style dinner service. The cost is $22, and will cover your food, tax and tip. Beverages and alcohol is not included. Seating is limited to 30 attendees. If you'd like to come, go to our Meetup group, and when you RSVP, you'll be able to pay through PayPal (including with a credit card). If you aren't a member of our Meetup group and don't wish to register, please email the Communications Director for instructions on how to pay in advance. Paying in advance is required—it's the only way we can make sure all the meal costs are covered, because the VNA would be responsible for paying for anyone who does not attend. RSVPs will close 24 hours in advance.
Special Holiday Dinner at Clay Pit next week
If you are a dues-paying member (a Director) of the VNA, you get a 10% discount. Please do not RSVP and pay below as Meetup's system doesn't enable us to give discounts here. Instead, please send an email to the Communications Director about how to pay using PayPal (credit cards accepted). You will then be added to the RSVP list.
If you'd like to join the VNA (and get the 10% discount), please go to our Join page to sign up, and you can choose to pay for your dinner along with your membership. Individual memberships are only $20 a year, and households are $30. Plus, as an added bonus, if you join now your membership will run through February of 2015. Benefits also include a discount on the official VNA t-shirt, entries for door prize drawings at our holiday party on December 14th, and a subscription to the VNA newsletter, Austin Vegetarian Living.
november 20 2013
Next week, on Wednesday the 27th, we'll once again observe our annual Thanksgiving tradition, going to Mr. Natural on East Cesar Chavez to partake in their Thanksgiving Eve Vegan Feast. Mr. Natural, the all-vegetarian Mexican restaurant, bakery and health food store, will be serving their special Thanksgiving menu, complete with their own homemade vegan "turkey" (not Tofurkey), vegan rosemary mushroom gravy, a fresh-baked roll and three vegetables of your choice, and a serving of their own orange-cranberry sauce. Check out their Thanksgiving menu at this link. The individual plate is $112. See the Calendar page for details.
Thanksgiving Eve Feast at Mr. Natural next week!
october 27 2013
Our monthly potluck for November will be held this Saturday, the first Saturday of the month, since the following weekend is the annual Veggie Chili Championship here in Austin! Once again Dan Stasiak has graciously offered to host us at his home in north Austin. Check the Calendar page for details.
Potluck this Saturday in north Austin; Chili cook-off one week later!
Now about that chili cook-off: Our congratulations go to one of our newest members, Sarah Saltmarsh, who won the VNA's chili contest at our south Austin potluck in October. It was a closely-fought contest, with three very tasty entries competing, and she won by only one vote! Sarah's chili will be representing the VNA at the 25th Annual Lone Star Veggie Chili Championship, sponsored by The Natural Epicurean, on Sunday, November 10th. Be sure to come out to the Whole Foods Market in south Austin, at 4301 West Wm. Cannon Dr. to cheer Sarah on, and taste all the chilis being prepared by teams from all over Texas. There'll be live music by the Texas KGB, beer of all kinds, family activities, and other vegan food and product vendors.
october 20 2012
Several VNA members are participating this Saturday in the Walk for Farm Animals at Pease Park, as part of a community-wide team called the VegaTexians. You can join the team online or on the day of the event- registration starts at 10:00am at Pease Park, and the walk starts at 11:00. After the walk there'll be live music, food and entertainment. Plus VNA Communications Director Brendan Good will be the guest speaker. Come out and join us for a worthy cause!
Austin Walk for Farm Animals this week
october 6 2013
Chili contest this Saturday in south Austin
Attention all VNA members! If you would like to represent the VNA at this year's Lone Star Veggie Chili Championship on November 10th, then this Saturday you've got a chance to win that opportunity at our annual VNA chili contest and potluck.
This Saturday, October 12th, the VNA will have its monthly potluck at Candace d'Obrenovic's home (see the calendar page for time/place/more info). We encourage anyone who wants to to bring their best chili dish for everyone at the potluck to sample. If you don't want to bring chili, you can bring VEGAN cornbread, salad, side dishes, desserts, or anything else that goes with chili.
You can, of course, bring a chili just for the sake of bringing chili, but if you'd like your chili to be considered as the VNA official chili for competing at the Lone Star Veggie Chili Championship, please register your chili using this form.
Your chili must meet these criteria:
- Only 100% VEGAN ingredients allowed. You'll need to bring a list of your chili's ingredients with you. If you are not yet a VNA member, but you're interested in joining, you can do so at the meeting as well.
- The chili must be at the potluck NO LATER than 6:30 so we can label it anonymously, and others won't see which one yours is.
- The chili must be finished, no active cooking can be performed at the potluck. (You can have it simmering or whatever in a crock pot if you like.)
- This is the most important part: You must be willing to enter the Lone Star Veggie Chili Championship (your entry fee, ingredient and equipment costs will be paid by the VNA), which is in south Austin on November 10th, and prepare five gallons of your chili from scratch on site, with your first batch ready for sampling by the public by 11:30am. (This usually means getting started no later than 8am.)
september 23 2013
Gathering of the Tribes this Saturday!
The VNA will be one of the groups participating in Austin's largest vegan potluck picnic this Saturday! In addition to tons of delicious food and great company, there will be live music, prizes to raffle, and speakers.
There are regularly over 100 people who attend these Gatherings, from all of Austin's veg groups (not just the VNA, but also Vegans Rock, the Progressive Vegetarians, Vegan Parents of Austin, and the Austin Vegan and Vegetarian Singles!). So you know there'll be plenty of food. Come join us, hang out with your veg friends and make new ones at the same time!
This time there is an online registration system for signing up your dish in advance, to speed up the check-in process. Please go to VegATX.com and enter your information there, including what allergens your dish contains, before you come. Please bring a VEGAN dish to feed eight adults- no meat or animal products of any kind (dairy, egg, meat or chicken broths, honey, animal fats like lard, etc etc). Also, please be sure to bring your own plate, utensils, and beverage (no glass)—and don't forget your serving utensil!
september 10 2013
Chef Dan Marek at this Saturday's potluck
We'll be in Round Rock for our monthly potluck this Saturday, be sure to check our calendar page for the details. We have arranged for a special guest speaker, Chef Dan Marek of Whole Foods. Dan was the Healthy Eating Specialist for the flagship store's Health Starts Here initiative, piloting that program before it was pushed out to all Whole Foods Markets. He is now the School Program Educator for the Whole Kids Foundation, whose mission is to support schools and inspire families to improve children's nutrition and wellness. Plus, we'll be celebrating our host Stephanie's birthday! No presents need to be brought, just yummy vegan food. Come join us!
august 17 2013
Rally Against the Circus next week
Next week is the Rally Against Ringling Bros. Circus, organized by Action for Animals. They're asking for as many people as possible to come stand with them on the sidewalk in front of Frank Erwin Center and hold signs protesting their mistreatment of animals—actually, that they use animals at all. This will be a legal and peaceful rally, no confrontations with circus-goers or anything like that. You don't even have to make your own sign, there will be plenty there to be handed out. It's on Wednesday, August 21st, and it starts at 6:00pm and goes until 7:30. For more details, see their event page.
june 11 2013
This week: VegFest Houston and Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
Two big events this week! Tomorrow evening at 6pm will be the third Animal Advisory Commission meeting this year, where they'll again consider a ban on the use of painful devices (bullhooks, prods, etc) that circuses (like Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey) use on animals when they come to Austin. Action for Animals Austin proposed this ordinance with a petition last year, but in order to get the City Council to consider it, it needs the recommendation from the Animal Advisory Commission.
The Vegetarian Network of Austin fully supports this effort, as we told the Animal Advisory Commission in a letter we presented at their second meeting back in April. If you want to show support for this ordinance as well, come to the main meeting room at the Austin Animal Center (6:00pm, Wednesday June 12th). It'll be the last item on the agenda, so it may not come up until closer to 7:00. You can also send an email to the commission members to express your support. Their email addresses can be found on the City of Austin website.
Then, this Saturday June 15th, Houston will be having their third annual VegFest, featuring Houston's superb vegan restaurants, exciting guest speakers, live music from veg musicians, a Kids Zone and crafts, vegan food demos, free product samples, educational films, and prize giveaways. Admission is free and it'll run from 10am to 5pm. The location is at Pershing Middle School campus, 3838 Blue Bonnet Blvd. in Houston. Vegan Society of Peace puts on a great event each year and it's definitely worth the drive down. For more info, see their website.
june 5 2013
June news and events update
Yesterday, the VNA's Communications Director, Brendan Good, had the pleasure of speaking to the staff at the Texas Campaign for the Environment during lunch at their office on South Congress. They had invited us to come tell their staff about the reasons why "going veg" can be so beneficial to the environment, as well as to animals and our own health. For instance, did you know that it takes approximately 1800 gallons of water to raise a single pound of beef? The beef industry gives a more conservative estimate of 400-500 gallons, but even that number is a lot more than the 100 or so gallons to produce a pound of corn, or 25 gallons for a pound of wheat.
June has a number of events in store for the VNA, starting this weekend with our monthly potluck. Join us in south Austin on Saturday evening and enjoy a ton of great vegan food and some friendly vegan company. Then, on Sunday the 23rd, we'll be having another hike at Bright Leaf Preserve led by Nancy Woolley. We had our first one last June and had a number of requests to do that again. The hike has limited space, so you have to RSVP for it on our Meetup page.
After the hike, we'll be having lunch at the Tarrytown location of Austin Java. This location is special because, unlike the other Austin Java's, it's all vegetarian and has many vegan options. Even if you don't want to go on the hike, you can still come have lunch with us.
We look forward to seeing lots of people at all these events!
may 30 2013
New local healthy-eating magazine published by high school students
Last week a new local magazine, called simply "zest!", was published by students at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School of Austin. The magazine is focused on local food, health food, and vegetarianism and veganism, and the debut issue features an interview with Brendan Good and Stevie Duda, the VNA's Communications Director and Newsletter Editor respectively. The interview was used in a feature by Megan Pratt about the health and environmental benefits of vegetarian and/or vegan diets. The magazine is available from HP's MagCloud service, in print form for $7.20, or in digital form for free. You can download the magazine at this link; you will have to create a MagCloud account in order to "check out", even though the cost is $0.
may 24 2013
Austin declared to be "Most Vegan-Friendly City" by Paul McCartney and PETA
Yesterday was the second of two concerts Paul McCartney held at the Erwin Center this week. Before the show, McCartney (along with PETA senior vice president Dan Mathews) presented Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell with the award of "Most Vegan-Friendly City", as designated by PETA. Apparently we beat out Portland, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
No word on what specific criteria were used by PETA. But in the letter PETA sent to Leffingwell, McCartney wrote, "The influx of forward-thinking musicians and techies, the thriving university, and the food trucks all over the city run by young veg-friendly hipsters have made Austin the absolute cutting-edge place for green eating." Oddly, PETA did not post this announcement on their own website.
may 19 2013
Dinner at Java Noodles this week
may 6 2013
"Most Veg-Friendly Trailer Park", Longhorn Food Court, closing this week
This is something we've heard has been in the works for awhile now. After we found out (and reported in our last newsletter that Kristen Davenport's Capital City Bakery would be getting a brick-and-mortar store on East Cesar Chavez sometime this summer, we asked her what she planned to do with her trailer. She told us she'd love to keep it and have it stay open as well, but she'd have to find a new place to put it, as the site where it currently sits, the Longhorn Food Court, would be closing soon. Workers have been seen coming and going taking measurements and making preparations for the inevitable new apartment building coming to that lot. Obviously such a valuable property so close to UT couldn't stay a trailer park for long, since developers are gobbling up locations to fill the ever-growing need for student housing.
So it happens that the end has come rather quickly, and the place we've come to celebrate as the "most veg-friendly" food court or trailer park in Austin, where Conscious Cravings, Moses Falafel and Capital City Bakery have been feeding us for so long, will actually be closing this weekend. The trailers themselves aren't closing, but we do not know yet where they're relocating to. Since we've still got time, we're coordinating with Vegans Rock Austin and Austin Progressive Vegetarians to have a "One Last Hurrah" at Longhorn Food Court!
Come down and join everyone this Friday evening at 5:30pm. You can eat at Conscious Cravings, or if you get there before sundown, at Moses Falafel. You can also get dessert at Capital City Bakery, but they close at 6, so arrive a little early and get your sweets first. Rabbit Food Grocery will have a pop-up shop there too.
Hang out with us at the picnic tables and reminisce about the good ole days of the most veg-friendly food court in Austin!
may 4 2013
Potluck dinner with special speaker next Saturday
We'll be having our monthly potluck dinner for May in one week, at the home of Liz Bruns in north Austin. Liz was a long-time member of the VNA who served in just about every officer role we have, but she's been away from us for awhile. So we're very happy to have her back, and especially grateful that she's asked to host this potluck! Arttemis and Krystalle Keszainn from New Earth Center will be speaking on the benefits of juicing and detoxing. Some of you may remember that they spoke to us at one of our potlucks a couple of years ago about structured water. Come join us!
april 27 2013
Austin's World Wide Vegan Bake Sale tomorrow
Austin's vegan community has been putting on bakesales for years now, and every time they get a little bit bigger, the offerings become more elaborate, and the amount of money donated to animal rescue organizaitons gets a little bit heftier. For the first time ever, tomorrow's World Wide Vegan Bake Sale will be in TWO places: at MonkeyWrench Books at 110 North Loop (corner of Avenue F), and at Counter Culture at 2337 E Cesar Chavez St (corner of Clara St.). It'll run from 11am to 2pm. There will be cupcakes, whoopie pies, ice cream sandwiches, cookies, and of course sugar free and gluten free items for sale.
All proceeds will benefit Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary in La Coste, and Southern Animal Rescue Association Sanctuary in Seguin. You can contribute to this event in two ways:
- Come buy some delicious vegan baked goods! It's by donation as the goods are not priced, so please be generous.
- Bring your own vegan baked goods to donate to the bake sale! Or just come volunteer to help out at the event itself. Sign up to do either this form.
april 22 2013
VNA at Austin Community College Earth Day Fair today
At the last minute, we've gotten the opportunity to participate in Austin Community College's Earth Day Fair today. From 11am to 2pm today at the Round Rock campus, the VNA will be tabling at the ACC 2013 Earth Day Fair. If you, or any of your friends or family, are a student, staff or faculty member at the Round Rock Campus (4400 College Park Drive), come to the lawn behind Building 2000, to meet with and learn about lots of environmentally-friendly vendors and organizations. We'll be there with sign-up sheets for the Veg Pledge and can give you a starter kit, restaurant guide and recipe booklet right there in person!
april 21 2013
US VegWeek starts tomorrow
We're proud to be participating in Compassion Over Killing's Veg Week 2013, a campaign to ask people to pledge to give up meat for just seven days. You can take the pledge to "Go Veg!" for this week, starting tomorrow, at Compassion Over Killing's website. If you're already vegetarian, this would also be a perfect time to try going vegan for seven days. And if you're already vegan, what can you do? Sign up a couple of friends who you've talked to about going veg. It's a great way to spread the word and share your experiences, as well as the benefits.
There's lots of stuff to try this week in Austin when you go veg. In addition to all the great vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants and food trailers, the week will be capped off with the Austin edition of the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale. On Sunday the 28th, they'll be holding the bake sale in two places: at Monkeywrench Books on North Loop, along with Counter Culture on East Cesar Chavez, selling cupcakes, cookies, and baked goods of all sorts. And it's for a great cause: to support Sunny Day Farms and SARA Sanctuary, two area animal rescue organizations who could really use the help. You can sign up to donate baked goods for the event using this form.