From the Prez

This February the Vegetarian Society turns 25 years old and we plan to celebrate!

El Paso and VSEP have undergone many positive changes in the last 2 ½ decades. We have grown from a handful of founding members to 65 life members and over 260 supporting members. Make it a goal to recruit at least 2 new members this year and help us grow!

Some of us remember the days of searching for restaurants with vegan options and when finding them, wondering if in fact they were in fact vegan and after some internal dilemmas ordering the salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Have times changed! We now have several vegan-only eateries and many more that have vegan and vegetarian options. We can now find vegan breakfast burritos, donuts, coffeecake and other delicious dishes at Savage Baked Goods (by the way, if you haven’t tried it yet, join us there for a special restaurant hopper later this spring). You can also order vegan treats from Sane Treats, Brenda’s Baked Goods, and Orange Peel Bakery. For lunch and dinner options, there is the vegan Lick It Up food truck outside the Monarch bar, Eloise’s Meatless Monday’s discount, and Whole Food’s Monday vegan burger and beer special.

Vegetarian and Vegan values associated with treating animals more compassionately are also permeating El Paso’s culture. We now have a dedicated crime unit working on animal abuse issues – making sure those that abuse animals are held accountable. Although it is sad to read the articles about the abuses, it is reassuring to know that our community will not continue to tolerant them. There is also talk of our shelter becoming a no-kill facility. This will be a challenge given the number of companion animals that are abandoned each year in our city. Each year when animal control releasing the number of animals that are euthanized, it is a wake up call for the need to continue education efforts on the benefits of spay-neuter programs and the need to end back year breeding. On the bright side, it seems that the tide is changing and most El Pasoans are treating their animals as companions rather than possessions that can easily be discarded and replaced. Continued education and providing positive role models are the keys!

We will coordinate with UTEP’s Environmental Advocates for a tabling event along with Animal Place’s Brave the Cage campaign on the UTEP campus on Feb 28- Mar 1 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (contact vsep.reserve@gmail.com to volunteer).

One way that we will we be celebrating our 25th Anniversary year is by hosting a community event. We will be hosting a workshop, Training the Chefs. This event will feature a internationally renown chef trainer who will provide vegan menus and preparation techniques along with dietary and other information to a variety of El Paso chefs representing restaurants, hospitals, schools, and assisted living facilities. The workshop will culminate with the chefs preparing a vegan dinner. We have applied for a grant from the Pollination Project (we will hear the results March 9th) but regardless of the outcome, we are going forward with this exciting project. Keep an eye out for updates and ways that you can engage.

Join VSEP for a vegan bake sale at Ardovino’s Farmers Market in April to celebrate Earth Day. If you would like to bring baked goods to sell, help man our booth or just stop by and enjoy some delicious vegan desserts send an email to vsep.reserve@gmail.com. We will try to a have a few gluten-free options as well.

Our Spring Dinner of VSEP will be a fiesta! On May 5, Cinco de Mayo, we will enjoy a Mexican dinner at the Holiday Inn Sunland Park. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Brooke Goldner, an M.D., a psychiatrist and author of the book Goodbye Lupus. Dr. Goldner was diagnosed with systemic lupus nephritis with stage IV kidney disease at 16 years old and made a startling recovery from her disease at 28 years old by embracing a vegan diet. Now, she educates physicians and patients on how to heal and achieve vibrant health using foods available from any supermarket.

As usual, we will be having a variety of restaurant hoppers, including one at Gallery 3 Kitchen, throughout the Spring. Check out our calendar of events at www.vsep.org for details.

Once again, thanks to all of you for helping VSEP a successful organization – we can’t do it without you! Please join us at our monthly board meetings, volunteer, host a potluck or attend one of our events. New ideas are always welcome.

Here’s to a peaceful, compassionate, earth- and heart-healthy spring!

Liz Walsh

VSEP President

P.S. Have some extra time this summer – volunteer with VSEP! See our open positions by going to vsep.org and clicking on the VSEP leadership link.