The newly-renamed Rochester Area Vegan Society (formerly the Rochester Area Vegetarian Society) is celebrating  its 25th anniversary this year with activities that are reaching an ever-greater number of people in the Rochester community.

Meetings: Our August meeting was a delightful picnic at the home of Kimber Gorall in Pittsford on the Erie Canal. In September, we welcomed law professor Gary Francione, who spoke about the future of veganism to a large crowd. And in October, on almost the exact 25th anniversary of the very first meeting of our group, John Morlino of The ETHIC spoke about “Vegan Values” and the legacy of Stan and Rhoda Sapon, the founders of RAVS. See more about the history of RAVS and the vegan values set forth by Stan Sapon on p. 6 of this newsletter.

In November, our speaker will be African-American physician Milton Mills, who will speak on parallels between the civil rights movement and the vegan movement. In December, we will have a holiday gathering and also a discussion among ourselves about the challenges of being an activist. And in January 2015, we’ll have a showing of “COMFORT ZONE,” an environmental film by local filmmakers.

Outreach: In early August, RAVS had a table at the first-ever Buffalo area Vegfest. Several RAVS members attended: Maggie and Daryl Odhner had excellent times in the Tofurky Trot race, and Darren Mrak won the prize for the best costume, as a vegan guerrilla fighter armed with carrots.

In September, Kristin Corser Smith was the organizer of the local Farm Sanctuary Walk for the Animals, and Ted Barnett was the speaker. That same day, RAVS did a vegan tasting at the Rochester Public Market featuring roasted veggies, scrambled tofu, and Gypsy Soup. Thanks to David and Jenn Cherelin, Ellie Cherin, Scott Wagner, and to Darren Mrak who baked carrot and lemon-blueberry cupcakes.

Later in September, RAVS had a table at the 4th annual Greentopia Festival in the High Falls district of Rochester. Despite battling cold and rain for part of the day, the event was a big success. Thanks to staffers Carol Barnett, Ted Barnett, Beth Garver Beha, Sue Brunsting, Nancy Hallowell, Carol Hope, Carol Manuel, and Sue Taylor. Thanks also to VegFund for sponsoring our vegan tasting, and to Jenny Johnson for providing delicious vegan cupcakes.

Other outreach events this late summer and fall were health fairs at the Millard Latimer funeral home, the longest established African-American business in Rochester, staffed by Carol Barnett and Kimber Gorall; health fairs in Penfield and in Pittsford for town employees; and a University of Rochester Veg Challenge kick-off, in which students pledged to go vegetarian or vegan for a period of time (all staffed by Carol Barnett).

For the 6th time, Ted Barnett, M.D. gave the course on Plant-Based Diet at the JCC, with Carol Barnett assisting with recipes and food samples. About 45 people took the course, including 5 physicians  and other health professionals who signed up for continuing education credit. The course has now been taken by approximately 300 people.

WE MOURN the passing of RAVS member Alan Kusler, who died on July 15, 2014. Our condolences to his sister and to his longtime partner, Bill Cox.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the Lake Affect magazine vegan recipe contest. First and second prizes went to RAVS members Selma Berger and  David Cherelin; best dessert went to Plant-Based Diet graduate Mary Buckley.

THANK YOU to The Red Fern restaurant and Vive Bistro and Bakery for providing delicious samples of their fare at our meetings in September and October.

NEW VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT! Thanks to Carol Manuel for alerting us to Hettie’s Delites, a cafe in The Shops on West Ridge (3200 W. Ridge Rd. in Greece). Owner Heather Paola has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free offerings, and does catering as well. Visit, or call 748-9866.

PAST RAVS NEWSLETTERS AVAILABLE In celebrating our 25th anniversary, we have put together binders of the posters,  photos, and newsletters that we have generated over our history thus far. If anyone is interested in a set of newsletters, contact A modest donation to RAVS would be appreciated. Set of VegNews also available.

RAVS IN THE NEWS (and RAVS Coordinators Getting More than their 15 Minutes of Fame!)

On Tuesday September 9, the Democrat and Chronicle ran an article by Karen Miltner about RAVS celebrating its 25th anniversary and changing its name, which included an interview with RAVS Coordinators Ted and Carol Barnett.

Also in early September, through the generous support of an anonymous donor, RAVS was able to launch an advertising campaign with WXXI radio, so you may have heard radio spots identifying RAVS as a sponsor (and you will hear more in 2015). As part of this campaign, RAVS had an information table at the live “Political Junkie” event on September 28, at which our name and logo were also projected on the screen behind the speakers.

On September 20, Ted Barnett was interviewed about vegan diet by Michael Warren Thomas on his show “For Love of Food” (Ted called in from San Diego, where he was attending a national medical conference on plant-based nutrition.) And on Wednesday, October 1, he was a call-in contributor to the Evan Dawson show “Connections” on the topic of going vegan.

The fall 2014 issue of the American Vegan Society publication American Vegan  has an article on the Rochester Area Vegan Society, the first of a series on local veg societies, with photos of the Barnetts as well as one of Sandy Baker, and it’s written by Rebecca Barnett, who is an Assistant Editor of the magazine.

Ted Barnett was profiled on the back cover of the Summer 2104 issue of Good Medicine, published by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Since then, from 10/26 to 11/3, Ted traveled on behalf of PCRM to the Republic of Macedonia (at the request of the Macedonian government and at their expense), along with another PCRM representative, to consult with public health and medical officials and to promote a plant-based diet. The Health Minister is interested in having Ted and his colleague return to Macedonia in spring of 2015!

Carol Barnett