Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community

Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.
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Volunteer Spotlight: Charley Korns

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June 22, 2009

Interviewed by Wendy Gabbe Day, NW VEG Coordinator

Charley Korns has done it all: From being the organization's first president to webmaster to "E-bits" editor to event coordinator to outreach volunteer, Charley's extraordinary support and devotion to NW VEG is not only in immeasurable volunteer hours but also in tangible results. Charley is a joy to work with, and we can't thank him enough for all that he does!

How long have you been veg and why?
I was veg briefly at 17, inspired by a Swami's teachings. Years later I read John Robbins and quit red meat. I ate my last chicken in '94 after getting sick at a barbecue. (I) had my last fish in '96 after reading Gandhi's life story. I've been mostly vegan since 1999 for reasons to do with animal suffering.

What's on your dinner plate?
I love baked yams and sautéed kale. With more time and more veggies, I'll make a stir fry. I love pasta on occasion and make a tasty pesto. For heavy protein I like the vegan "sausages" from Turtle Island and Field Roast. Eating out, I'm a fan of seitan, crusted tofu, and mashed potatoes & gravy.

How has being veg impacted your life?
I don't have a particular religious or spiritual path, but try to embrace compassionate choices. Thinking about the source of food and its karma, whether it be at a restaurant or grocery, is important to me. Were animals or humans harmed in the process? Being veg is not so easy in certain areas of the U.S. or in other countries, but it just means I need to plan well and refer to resources like

What has been your most memorable NW VEG volunteer experience?
A retreat in 2003 when a group of us decided to establish NW VEG—without any seed money—is quite memorable. We came up with a name and mission while in the sweet surroundings of Cannon Beach. There is a special bond among those of us who have worked many years for the veg cause. I also have great memories of our VegFests—always a powerful culmination of extensive volunteering by a small group of extraordinary individuals.

What is something about you people should know?
My dream job would be to front a rock band, just like Bono but with a vegan component. I'm growing veggies in my backyard like never before, and I'm planning to replace my front lawn with a variety of native perennials. What encourages me about life is passionate, loving, harmless expression.

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