Hipster locavorism goes one step further – to hipster no-carnivorism – at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s ThanksLiving event. Animal rights supporters, vegetarians, vegans and those who love them have been coming together under one literal and metaphorical tent on a farm on the outskirts of Woodstock, NY, for the past four years.
Last Sunday the event was hosted by Dan Piraro – sanctuary board member, “Bizarro” cartoonist, stand-up comedian and retro-sartorial wonder. Veganism was done as a soft sell but given that Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s founders, husband and wife Doug Abel and Jenny Brown, are film and television veterans and vegans, the warm and fuzzy short films about their rescued farm animals hit hard. Especially when set to the low, mournful tunes of Brooklyn-originated, now Catskills-dwelling indie rock band Ida, who played live.
As an alterna-Thanksgiving, it wouldn’t be complete without a feast. Guests mingled and enjoyed hors d’oeurves from NYC restaurants (and Moby-spotting locations) Blossom and Candle Cafe and some local spots. The Dr. Cow tree nut cheese on a crostini with tapenade mimicked top-notch goat cheese, from the pleasantly sour bite to the creamy texture. A sea of vegan appetizers is a rare thing and they were accordingly devoured before everyone settled in for a dinner that included a Tuscan farro salad speckled with greens and butternut squash and blue corn-crusted seitan with chimichurri sauce. Vegan Treats delivered on its name with peanut butter mousse bomb cake, death by chocolate cake and pumpkin cheesecake.
ThanksLiving is the prime fundraiser for the sanctuary, which rescues abused and neglected farm animals. Throughout the event, guests browsed raffle and silent auction items that ranged from high-end vegan shoes from Olsen Haus to a signed copy of My Morning Jacket singer and vegetarian Jim James’ first solo effort, which benefits the sanctuary and is a tribute to vegetarian George Harrison. Meanwhile, the crowd heard from Mercy for Animals’ executive director Nathan Runkle and John Phillips, co-founder and executive director of the New York League of Humane Voters, who spoke with the earnestness, humor and manner of Michael Cera about holding politicians accountable for their stands on factory farming and other issues.
With its message of peace and love toward animals and a gentle nudge toward taking action, ThanksLiving shows that change can still grow out of a muddy field outside of Woodstock.