May 29, 2012
We are thrilled to have Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan, co-founders of Our Hen House present “THINK VEGAN: Ten Tips to Get You Started,” at this year's VegFest, September 22 and 23.
Q. Tell us a little about "Our Hen House" and how it has evolved over time, and what's coming next?
A. Our Hen House is a multimedia hub of opportunities, ideas, stories, people, inspiration, everything we can think of -- all focused on helping everyone find their own way to change the world for animals. We started as a weekly podcast and have produced over 125 consecutive weekly episodes so far! We quickly added a daily blog full of ideas, and then started producing videos. It’s grown so quickly in such a short time that we’re about to transition to a full-fledged multimedia online magazine. People really devour this information, and really want to see big changes!
Q. How long have you been vegan and how has it changed your perspective on life?
A. I went vegetarian when I was a teenager but not really out of any serious thought process – I just thought it was a natural extension of being a theater student, like wearing all black, or smoking clove cigarettes. Then, about 8 years ago, a friend showed me footage of factory farms, and everything changed. I remember thinking, “How could I not have known?” Especially when it comes to the cruelty in the dairy and egg industries – it’s utterly horrific and so masterfully hidden. Once I found out, there was no turning back. My worldview, but also my life’s mission, radically shifted. I could not live in a world in which that kind of totally unnecessary, and totally hidden, cruelty exists, without devoting myself to eradicating it.
Q. You're coming to Portland for 6 months. What brings you, and do you have any additional plans or dreams for your time here?
A. My partner, Mariann Sullivan, who is a professor of animal law at several New York law schools (and is the other protagonist of Our Hen House), was invited to Portland to be the first-ever visiting professor at Lewis and Clark’s Center for Animal Law Studies. While we’re visiting, I’ll be continuing to publish Our Hen House from right here in Portland, and taking advantage of all of the amazing resources, people, and food that the Northwest has to offer.
Q. You will be presenting a talk entitled "10 Tips" at this year’s Portland VegFest. Can you elaborate a bit on what your talk will entail?
A. Going vegan is so easy, but it seems so daunting for those who haven’t done it yet. Here we try to boil down some of our favorite tips for making it as easy, and life-affirming, as it can be. We hope to have something to offer for everyone at the Fest, whether they’re vegan-curious, vegan-skeptical, or already part of the vegan choir.
Q. What else are you looking forward to at VegFest?
A. The food!!!! Portland has some of the best vegan food in the country and we aim to try it all. Plus, we hear there are going to many other amazing speakers like Ginny Messina and Milton Mills. We always love to hear what’s new – there’s always so much to learn.