The Rochester Area Vegetarian Society has been active and thriving this autumn and winter, as more and more people seem eager to hear about the benefits, and how-to, of a vegan diet.

At our November meeting, we welcomed John Wagner and Kathy Gill of the Rochester T’ai Chi Ch’uan Center, who discussed the benefits of T’ai Chi and gave a brief demonstration. Anyone interested should contact the center, which has a free open house before the beginning of each 10-week cycle of classes. Our December meeting was a delightful Winter Solstice Party with music and other merry-making. And in January, 85 people turned out in the cold and snow to hear Sherry Colb, J.D., Professor of Law at Cornell University and author of Mind If I Eat the Cheeseburger? talk about the social challenges and opportunities of being vegan in a meat-eating world.

We will hear from a panel of organic farmers and other sustainable farming entrepreneurs in February, and in March,  our own Ted D. Barnett, M.D. will report on his testimony before a nutrition committee in Washington, D.C. Please read the schedule carefully for April and May events, as we will not be meeting on our usual 3rd Sunday in those months. In April we will have our fund raiser dinner at The King and I restaurant, and our traditional 2nd night seder on April 15; in May we will welcome Susie Coston, Director of the Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen, New York Shelter.

OUTREACH:  In December, RAVS had its usual table at Metro Justice’s Alternative Fair. Thanks to staffers Carol Barnett, Handy Cowles, Joan Entwistle, Carol Hope, Tina Kolberg, Ken McBride, Rhea McBride, Barbara Savedoff, Sue Taylor, Joy Vandling, and John Van Savage. Thanks also to Ellie Cherin, Handy Cowles, Katherine DaCosta, and Darren Mrak for providing delicious vegan baked goods; and to Tina Kolberg for selling her art work and sharing the profits with RAVS. Tina’s nature- and animal-themed work may be viewed at; Tina will do paintings on commission.

Also in December, RAVS had a table at the First Unitarian Church’s Benefits Boutique. Thanks to Carol Barnett, Tina Kolberg, and Martha Sullivan for staffing the event, and again thanks to Tina Kolberg for sharing her beautiful art work.

A PLANT-BASED DIET: EATING FOR HAPPINESS AND HEALTH will be offered again at the JCC for the 5th time by our own Ted D. Barnett, M.D. with recipes and food samples by Carol Barnett. Already, 190 people have taken this six-week course which will be offered on six Tuesdays in a row, from March 4 to April 8, from 6:45 – 9:00 PM. For further details see p. 8 and visit and click on “Course Resources.”

The INTEGRATIVE HEALTH CONFERENCE, on the topic of Women’s Health, will be held at Rochester General Hospital on Saturday, March 22. The general public is most welcome; call Ginny Ruderman at (585) 473-7573 for a registration brochure.

RAVS FUND RAISER DINNER will be a vegan banquet at The King and I restaurant on Sunday April 6, with cash bar followed by dinner at 6:00 PM. This year we will not be having a silent auction at the event. The chef at King and I has agreed to cook the dishes with no added oil, though a couple of the curry dishes may contain some coconut milk. We hope this will please those of you on Esselstyn-type and low-fat diets. Please join us!

RAVS SEDER  The 21st annual RAVS vegan seder will be held on the 2nd night of Passover, Tuesday, April 15; see p. 8 for time and location. RULES FOR THE SEDER: Bring a dish that is vegan and also conforms to the Passover tradition. No wheat is allowed (no pasta, bread, crackers or cookies) except matzoh and matzoh products such as farfel and matzoh meal—but no egg matzoh because it is not vegan. This tradition is a reminder that the Israelites had time only to prepare unleavened bread (represented by the matzoh) when they fled Egypt. Beans, potatoes, veggies and fruits are fine to bring for this meal. You don’t need to be Jewish to come and enjoy this very beautiful commemoration of freedom and liberation from oppression in all of its forms.

OFFERED TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER:  Ellie Cherin has kindly donated to RAVS her collection of VegNews magazine from its beginnings through 2013 (About 50 magazines). Each issue contains dozens of cutting-edge vegan recipes as well as great articles. Starting bid is $25.


Chef Nick Bovenzi of Natural Oasis Restaurant at 288 Monroe Avenue  was profiled by City Newspaper as one of the “Rochester 10” (for Food, of course) in its 1/1/14 issue. For dinner, Bovenzi offers a rotating 13-item all-vegan menu with fresh ingredients, French technique, and each item costing only $4. Chef Bovenzi can easily accommodate gluten-free.

Don’t forget Rochester’s other all-vegan restaurant, The Red Fern at 283 Oxford Street (at Park), run by Chef Andrea Parros. It’s a vegan paradise: any mention of meat or dairy in the menu refers to vegan versions!

Cipolla Romaine is a new catering and event planning company which includes the Lettuce B. Frank food truck offering vegan carrot sliders. Cipolla Romaine will be catering the vegan lunch at the Women’s Health Conference (see p. 8). Visit or contact

Pudgy Girl Bakery is an all-vegan bakery offering cheesecakes, truffles, gluten-free items and more! Visit; you can also contact or call (585) 678-1603.

Carol Barnett