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: Jen Macartney

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May 29, 2012

Jen Macartney is a wonderful volunteer and supporter of Northwest VEG. We are so grateful to have her as a key member of the VegFest planning committee. Thank you for all that you do, Jen!

Q. How long have you been veg and why?
A. I was a pescatarian (vegetarian diet plus fish) for about 8 years. In hindsight, I was a vegan waiting to happen. I loved animals; I volunteered at animal shelters, fostered kittens and didn't eat cows, pigs and birds, but I was blind to the full picture. When I started dating my now fiancé about 2 and a half years ago, he opened my eyes to truth about dairy and egg production. When I confessed my addiction to cheese and omelets, he told me about pus in milk, veal crates and the fate of male chicks. With his example, I realized it was possible to thrive with a healthy vegan lifestyle without feeling restricted or deprived. I transformed from calling his diet “extreme” to purging my shelves of animal products in about two weeks as I researched the truth for myself.

Q. How has being veg impacted your life?
A. Adopting a vegan lifestyle has had a great positive effect on my life. I finally feel like my morals and ethics are in line with the purchases I make and the foods I consume. I learned to cook after becoming vegan and have now explored more foods and sampled more varied cuisines than I ever had while consuming animal products. I am also healthier than I ever was, and when I visit the doctor my test numbers reflect this. I regularly work out with Ed Bauer, vegan bodybuilder at his PlantFit training studio, and can safely say I am stronger than I ever was as well. I believe being a happy, healthy, positive person is one of the best ways to promote the vegan lifestyle.

Q. How did you get involved with volunteering for NW VEG?
A. I moved to Portland 6 months ago and immediately searched for a organization promoting the vegan lifestyle to get involved with. NW VEG quickly emerged as the right place to put my efforts. Not only does it organize large events like VegFest and Race for the Animals, but it also regularly holds potlucks and dine-outs with interesting and educational presenters. I want to be involved with an active group that has a lot to offer the community, and NW VEG fits that bill.

Q. What has been your favorite or most memorable NW VEG volunteer experience?
A. I have really enjoyed working with other volunteers to organize VegFest. The volunteers and employees at NW VEG are all passionate, interesting people with varied talents, and it's been a pleasure to work side by side with them. I also really enjoy tabling for NW VEG. I like meeting new people and getting the word out. You can rarely change a person's mind with one conversation, but I feel like we are planting seeds that over time can blossoming into greater understanding and personal evolution. (I also like thinking of new and unique ways to answer the question, “But where to do you get your protein?” My current answer is “the same place an elephant does.”)

Q. What is your favorite veg meal, either homemade or from a restaurant?
A. I have had the good fortune to do a bit of traveling since I became vegan. I have had fabulous vegan food in some usual and unusual places. I can recommend a delicious raw salad in Copenhagen, vegan haggis in Edinburgh, a great hummus place in Istanbul and an unforgettable meal in NYC (Caravan Dreams followed by dessert at Lula's Apothecary), but when I think of my favorite meals, they would have to be those I cooked with my Mom at my parent's home in New Jersey. After years of a meat and potatoes lifestyle, she has embraced vegan cooking after I shared what I learned with her. Give me a homemade seitan stew made with my Mom any day!

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