The first time I met Josh Hooten, master of irony and king of veganism, he was dressed as a hot cop. It was last year’s New York Hoe Down, and Josh had confused weekends with his gig in Vegas, so he had the wrong attire, and… Oh never mind, you had to be there.
After our presentations, Josh and I (along with some buddies) decided to meet for a delicious vegan dinner at Stonecat Café. (I later forgave him for being over an hour late, but I digress…)
Josh Hooten – founder of Herbivore– has been vegan for about 10 years. In that time, he has published a veg culture magazine, started a line of clothing (that makes up a large chunk of my wardrobe), spoken out against factory farming in a variety of indie and mainstream media venues (just Google him, seriously), and opened a Portland, Oregon storefront in the world’s first vegan mall! Now – since Josh obviously has way too much thumb-twiddling time on his hands – he has decided to ride his bike 600 miles as a way to raise funds and awareness for Farm Sanctuary. (Though, sadly, he won’t be wearing his Hot Cop uniform for the trip.) Josh will start his journey in Portland in early May, and end up at Farm Sanctuary’s Orland, California shelter, just in time to MC the California Hoe Down!
Oh yeah… And did I mention that Josh’s goal is to raise $10,000 for Farm Sanctuary in the process? $10k feeds a lot of chickens and piglets and cows. As I write this, he’s already raised $6,855.86. Help him reach his goal.
Before we veer off-course of talking about bike-riding, also check out my friend, Greg Straight Edge, of Exercise Compassion. He’s planning a bike-ride around the lower 48 states while emphasizing that “being vegan is simple.” What is it with these fabulous tattooed vegan bike-riding men finding their way into kind hearts everywhere? They are helping to support our cause, while making awe-inspiring sound normal. Let’s support them back.
In addition to exercising compassion, Greg is a phenomenal photographer, as demonstrated by the many awesome photos he’s taken of the residents of Farm Sanctuary. Here’s one of my favorites:
The Hoe Downs are perhaps my all-time favorite Farm Sanctuary activity. They are full of delicious vegan food, the most amazing community you could ask for, and inspirational, fun workshops that will leave you with tools to make you the best farm animal advocate ever. The best thing by far is that you also get to schmooze with farm animals – the ultimate in cool. These animals are the true ambassadors. They emit hope and survival, and spending time with them is otherworldly.
(Oh, and I know that they’re still looking for volunteers for the California Hoe Down, so you pretty much have no excuse.)
Since I’m blogging about Josh Hooten and once-in-a-lifetime conferences, I should mention that Josh is a co-founder of an upcoming once-in-a-lifetime conference. According to the website, Let Live is a conference for “first-timers, experienced activists, and anybody in between who hopes to make a real difference for animals and build a stronger, more effective community and animal liberation movement. This conference is for anybody who wants to live and let live.” The speaker list at Let Live is groovy. Some very cool movers and shakers are on that list (including Josh!), and the workshops they have planned are geared toward empowering your own personal activism. According to their Facebook page, the mission of Let Live (which is also a non-profit organization) is “to inspire activism for animals through community based events that are both inclusive and inspiring.” That’s my kind of language! If you’re there, say hi. I’ll also be presenting a few activist-building workshops at the conference.
It’s important to mention that as activists, we have got to take good care of ourselves so that we can be in it for the long haul. (This is something I really really like to talk about.) Attending conferences, spending time with your fellow animal advocates, and talking/listening to your peers openly and without judgment is such an important form of self-care. So is eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and yes, even exercising! Do remember, however – and note to self – that as much as we want it to be true, online Scrabble does not count as exercise.
Unless, of course, you ride your bike several hundred miles to your computer.