Our vegetarian society keeps on growing in influence, as the advantages of a vegan diet become more apparent, and ever greater numbers join our group and attend our meetings, outreach events, and classes.

In February, Bill Labine of Airtight Services, an expert in all forms of green energy including conservation, talked to us about the advantages of super-insulating one’s home. At our March meeting, Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D. talked to us about animal sentience and emotion, and   showed us how recognizing what we share with the animal world can reinforce our vegan way of life. April brought two events: the 20th annual RAVS 2nd night vegan seder, shared with the Jewish humanist group and led by Barry Swan; and our annual fund raiser dinner at the Natural Oasis Restaurant, 288 Monroe Avenue, Rochester’s only vegan restaurant, where we made merry, enjoyed food prepared by chefs Nick Bovenzi  and Andrea Parros, and raised money by auctioning a number of goods and services. Items generously (and creatively) donated included an evening of sailing, a small business consult, a teaching game of “Go,” a massage, and a vegan chocolate cake.   Thank you to our gracious donors: Wizard of Clay Pottery, John Atwater, Mary Anne Banke, Carol & Ted Barnett, Marlene Caroselli, Johanna Connelly, Steve Foster, Kimber Gorall, Noel Nichols, Yetta Panitch, Mike Rudnick, and Jonathan Smelts of Wellness Massage Center.

In May we will welcome John Morlino of The E.T.H.I.C. as he talks about something we could all use more of: compassion. In June we will hear Dr. Michael Greger’s Nutrition Update, and a panel of RAVS members will share their vegan cooking secrets. And in July we will enjoy a summer picnic. See the calendar on p. 8 for details.

In addition to our meetings, RAVS has had a number of outreach events which gave us an opportunity to meet new people interested in the benefits of a vegan diet and way of life. Once again, for the third time, RAVS Coordinator Ted Barnett, M.D.  gave his course on “Plant-Based Nutrition” at the Jewish Community Center, with recipes and food samples provided by Carol Barnett. This brings to more than 150 the number of people who have been reached by this course.

Here is a list of other RAVS outreach events in the last three months, with the names of those who staffed them:

  • Showing of the film “Escape Fire” at the Little Theatre by the Monroe County Integrative Health Committee (Q&A afterwards by Ted D. Barnett, M.D., Mary Coan, M.D., Lesley James, M.D., and Julia Stein, M.D.)
  • Rochester Central School District Health Fair at East High School (Tina Kolberg)
  • Great American Meatout Event at Midtown Manor apartments  (Katherine DaCosta)
  • Nazareth College Health Fair (Carol Barnett, Honey Bloch, Nancy Hallowell, Ken McBride, and Yetta Panitch)
  • Great American Meatout event at Univ. of Rochester (Carol Barnett)
  • Green Initiatives Fair at Greenovation, new “green” store located at the site of the old Vietnam Vets building, 1199 East Main St. (Tina Kolberg)
  • Earth Day Fair, Univ. of Rochester Grassroots environmental group (Carol Barnett)
  • SUNY Brockport MetroCenter (St. Paul St.) Health Fair (Carol Barnett)
  • Sierra Club Environmental Forum at Monroe Community College (Carol Barnett and Martha Sullivan)

VEGETARIAN SUMMERFEST The North American Vegetarian Society’s Vegetarian Summerfest will take place July 3- 7, 2013 (Wed. – Sun.) at the University of Pittsburgh’s campus in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A weekend package (Friday evening through Sunday) is also available. This conference/festival is an unforgettable experience, and we can’t recommend it more highly. Visit vegetariansummerfest.org/ for more information.

NUTRITION AND THE BRAIN This international conference, co-sponsored by George Washington University School of Medicine and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. on July 19-20, 2013, is a continuing education event for health care professionals. For more information, visit pcrm.org.

RAVS BOARD OF DIRECTORS BALLOT will be sent to all RAVS members by email. To save paper and postage, please vote for the Board by email, rochesterveg@gmail.com, or by phone, (585) 234-8750. RAVS members who do not have email access will receive a paper ballot with this newsletter.

IN MEMORIAM  On April 27, 2013, Bud Burdick, RAVS member and RAVS Board member since 2010, died. Bud was only 28 years old. He had been stricken by acute myeloid leukemia and, although his hospital treatments allowed him a brief remission from the disease, it finally claimed his life.

When we first met Bud, he was a student at Monroe Community College, and he went on to graduate from SUNY Brockport with a major in business and dance. Bud embraced a vegan diet once he heard the reasons for it, and he went on to persuade others to go vegan as well.

Bud was a practical guy who would have made his mark in the business world if he’d had the chance.  He took it upon himself to design and order RAVS T-shirts carrying the motto: “VEGAN: for life, for health, for the animals, for me.” The shirts sold like the proverbial hot cakes, and Bud donated the profits to RAVS.

Bud was a practitioner of capoeira, the vigorous dance-like Brazilian martial arts practice, and he performed with a group in all the places that he lived.

In recent years, Bud moved to Brooklyn to live with and help his aging grandmother. But he wanted to keep his connection with RAVS and he stayed on the Board, offering his support and advice long-distance.

We know many others in our group share memories of Bud; and most of all, we share sadness at a life ended too soon. Bud, we will never forget you.

Carol Barnett