News Bites from around Vegan Texas

Counter Culture's new Cesar Chavez space

Take a sneak peek at the photos of Counter Culture’s new space in East Austin. There’s so much to work with there.

My friends Crystal and Chris at Food for Lovers have teamed up with vegan crafters to make some unique holiday gifts. I’m not a holiday person, but I never turn down queso.

Dallas Vegan has a review of the Fort Worth Food Park. A year ago, DFW didn’t really have much of a food truck scene to speak of. Now there’s an entire area of vegan-friendly spots.

A possible new location near Llano for Sunny Day Farms

Sunny Day Farms is moving to a location closer to Austin! Don’t worry San Antonio, they’ll still be close to you, too. Brooke is looking at a location in Blanco. This will make it easier for the farm to reach people in both Austin and San Antonio. Sunny Day will need tons of help to relocate all the animals, both physically and monetarily.

The latest rumor is that Sweet Ritual will be opening in January. Crossing my fingers for ice cream in the new year.

Houston can look forward to some new vegan grub in 2012. Ripe Cuisine will be selling vegan food at Urban Harvest Farmers Markets early next year. Ripe Cuisine has been tweeting about Green Chili Burgers, Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Cream Frosting, and a mushroom French dip. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

And dessert for last! After years of hard work, Celeste of Celeste’s Best is selling ready-to-bake (or eat with a spoon, no judgement!) vegan cookie dough at Wheatsville Coop. Right now there’s traditional chocolate chip, but Celeste is planning to branch out into other flavors and other stores in the future.

Sunny Days in Texas

I am so excited to announce the release of our Texas fundraiser zine, Sunny Days in Texas. The zine is part of a massive effort to raise money for Sunny Day Farms, which is struggling with the recent drought and extreme heat and the rising cost of hay. I’m so excited to be able to help the animals at Sunny Day.

My recipe for jackfruit brisket is in Sunny Days in Texas. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

But I’m also excited about the recipes in the zine. There’s King Ranch Casserole submitted by Chris and Crystal of Food for Lovers, Ranch dressing from Spiral Diner in DFW, and, most exciting of all, the first-time-ever release of the Wheatsville Coop popcorn tofu. Popcorn tofu is so popular, it has its own fan page on Facebook. There are a total of 30 recipes from vegan bloggers and restauranteurs including Lazy Smurf, Sue at Counter Culture, Krys of Two Vegan Boys, Wes, Natala of Vegan Hope, Spiral Diner, Christy Morgan, author of Blissful Bites, Ariane Leverett of Vegan Food Porn, Mo of Mo Betta Vegan, Kristen of Sugar Skull, Kristen of Tree Wool Knits, Wheatsville Coop, and myself.

The zine will be available at Vida Vegan Con and also at the bake sale at Monkey Wrench books this Saturday. Eventually it will be available for order online as well.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the zine, and a special giant thanks to Lazy Smurf for putting it together!

Other ways you can help Sunny Day. Donate directly to their hay bale challenge. Buy something at Vida Vegan Con from Panda with Cookie and part of the proceeds will go to Sunny Day. Sponsor Team Sunny Day at the San Antonio Marathon. Or buy baked goods at the bake sale this Saturday.

Sunny Day Farms Fundraisers

Photo from Sunny Day Farms Facebook page

When the drought and heat start affecting our animals friends, what do we do? Roll up our sleeves and bake!

A bake sale benefiting the animals at Sunny Day Farms will be Saturday, August 27, from noon to 6PM at Monkey Wrench Books at 110 E North Loop. You can sign up to bake something vegan or volunteer to table on this google spreadsheet. At the same time, Sue at Counter Culture, just a few doors down from Monkey Wrench books, will be donating 10% of the day’s sales to Sunny Day. So grab a salad or sandwich before heading to Monkey Wrench for dessert. Not a baker? Come buy some goodies and spread the word about the bake sale on Facebook.


Lots of other efforts to raise money for Sunny Day are in the works, too. There’s a group running in the San Antonio marathon in November (respect) looking for sponsors and runners.

And a group of people who will be out of town for the bake sale are putting together a zine of Texas recipes. More on this soon.

The bar has been raised. What are YOU doing to help feed the animals at Sunny Day?

Happier than a Pig in Mud

Carmen and Brooke keeping cool in the mud hole at Sunny Day Farms. From Sunny Day Farms’ Facebook page

I don’t have to tell you that it’s been a super hot and dry summer in Texas. So far Central Texas has had 51 days over 100 degrees, and pretty much the entire state is in an exceptional level drought.

The heat is hard on our bodies and our lawns, but it’s also hard on our animals. The Austin Town Lake Animal Shelter is waiving adoption fees for some of its at-risk dogs which are housed outdoors in the extreme heat. And Sunny Day Farms desperately needs money for hay. The animals at the sanctuary in La Coste, Texas, aren’t able to eat grass as usual because of the extreme drought, and hay prices have doubled this summer. Sunny Day is struggling to cover feed and veterinary costs.

Pig in the grass at Sunny Day Farms back before the extreme drought and heat. From Sunny Day Farms’ Facebook page

Please consider helping out these animals. You can donate to Sunny Day Farms (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit) through pay pal. Your donation, big or small, will make a huge difference in these animals’ lives.

Edit. The paypal link is spotty. If it’s not working you can donate through pay pal using Sunny Day’s email address which is info (at)

Edit 2. You can donate by clicking this link on Sunny Day’s Facebook page.

Two Exciting Events at Sunny Day Farms

Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Sunny Day Farms, the farm animal sanctuary just outside San Antonio, has two great events this May. This coming weekend, Saturday, May 21, Sunny Day is hosting a day of workshops on gardening topics, including hydroponics, rainwater harvesting, permaculture, and composting. There will also be special events for kids. See Sunny Day’s post on Facebook for more information.

Photo by Adrien Nier. Licensed under creative commons

Later this month, on May 28 at 11AM, Sunny Day is throwing a Summer Kickoff Party featuring vegan BBQ. Bring your favorite vegan food to throw on the grill. (I have a post about vegan grilling on my other blog if you need food ideas.) RSVP on the Facebook event page so Brooke knows how many people to expect.

Farm Sanctuaries in Texas

Sweet Pea, from Sunny Day Farms. Sweet Pea was lucky enough to be found by the kind folks at Sunny Day Farms, rather than “euthanized” with a pick ax by workers at E-6 Cattle Company. Photo from Sunny Day Farms

Farm animal abuse videos are really important. There’s evidence that they decrease the amount of meat people eat. On average, people who see these videos don’t just switch from, say, beef to chicken, but actually reduce the total amount of meat they eat.

But they’re hard on animal advocates, who already know all the terrible things that can happen to animals raised for commercial use. I really admire the people who can take these undercover videos, since I can’t bare to watch even thirty seconds of them, much less experience it in person.

Confronting images of animal abuse can get you down if you’re already doing what you can to end animal cruelty. I think it’s a good idea for animal advocates to recharge through positive experiences with animals. Farm animal sanctuaries are a great way to do that. They allow people to interact with animals, learning that, yes, a pig does have a personality, just like a dog or cat. And they have the added benefit of not making you want to curl up in a ball in your bed for a week.

Texas has three farm animal sanctuaries devoted to caring for abused and unwanted farm animals. I’ve talked a lot about Sunny Day Farms in La Coste, outside San Antonio. A big part of Sunny Day Farms’ mission is to introduce kids to farm animals. You can schedule a school field trip or Farm School, an age-appropriate introduction to life on the farm through stories, activities, and interaction with the animals.

Willey at Serenity Springs Sanctuary. Photo by Serenity Springs Sanctuary

There’s also Serenity Springs Sanctuary in Forestburg, Texas, northwest of DFW. Serenity Springs has a variety of farm animals at their sanctuary, though they specialize in pot bellied pigs. These pigs are increasingly kept as pets, and often owners find out quickly that they’re not up to caring for a pig.

Chester at Dreamtime Sanctuary. Photo by Dreamtime Sanctuary

Dreamtime Sanctuary is just outside Elgin, a little east of Austin. Dreamtime Sanctuary began when Nancy Jensen-Case and her daughter wanted to help abandoned horses in a neighboring pasture. With a little help from a sanctuary in Arizona, Dreamtime is now the home of 14 horses, 3 burros, 30 sheep, 8 goats, 18 pigs, 8 dogs, and 14 cats.

All three organizations encourage visitors and volunteers, though it’s a good idea to schedule a visit ahead of time. Volunteer with some friends. Take your favorite kid to pet the animals. Or plan a bake sale to raise money for your favorite sanctuary.

2011 Austin Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Do you live in Austin? Do you like to bake cookies? Do you like to eat cookies? Do you like photos of cute rescued farm animals?

Donkeys at Sunny Day Farm Animal Sanctuary. Photo by Ross Abel

Austin is throwing a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale to raise funds for these adorable animals at Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary in LaCoste, Texas. The sale will be May 1, from noon to 6 PM at Monkey Wrench Books on North Loop, near Counter Culture. Thank you to the folks at Monkey Wrench for letting our community use the space. Monkey Wrench is a cooperatively run bookstore, and their animal rights and vegan cookbook sections have a lot of great books you won’t find anywhere else.

Austinites, we need your help! Sign up to bake something. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers about the bake sale. Send them photos of adorable mud-covered pigs and say you won’t stop until they are passed out in a sugary coma.

This pig is not passed out in a sugary coma. You can visit him and the other animals at Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary in LaCoste, Texas, just outside San Antonio. Photo by Ross Abel

Sign up to attend or bake for the Austin sale on the Facebook page. There are now five Worldwide Vegan Bake Sales in Texas, in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. Sign up to help at any of them, or start your own.