First Vegan Sunday in at Karma Kitchen Berkeley!
Karma Kitchen is an amazing experiment/experience in gift economy service. I had been to Karma Kitchen several times and dined at the host restaurant, served by volunteers and went there with Christian for the first time together about 3 years ago. I had never mustered the energy to volunteer, given all the other priorities to which I gave my attention.
In early November, when Christian read one of the many inspiring recounts of a Karma Kitchen Sunday, he was moved to action and exclaimed: “We should volunteer!” And the time was ripe. Since the last time we had come to Karma Kitchen we had the surprise pleasure of hearing Nipun, Bhoutik, and other ambassadors of generosity from Charity Focus speak at the 10th Anniversary celebrations at JCNC. That celebration also featured Gary Francione, Will Tuttle, Vaidya Priyanka and Bob Linden, and we were there serving vegan treats to the attendees. Inspired by the Charity Focus panel’s energy to “be the change”, Christian and I affirmed our intentions to do just that in a way that continued after the event and hence, this website was borne. And serendipitously, our friend Saurabh from Washington DC who we met at JCNC told us that Karma Kitchen DC had already had some vegan days. So I joined Christian in his excitement to volunteer at Karma Kitchen. In the glow of our recent experiences, we hatched a proposal to change the menu from vegetarian to all-vegan, just as we had been asking the Jain community to consider in their own diets, for reasons of compassion that we talk about all over this site.
When we approached the core coordinators and host restaurant about a vegan day in Berkeley, they were all for it if we were ready to take the responsibility to coordinate it.And so we began to plan in earnest for the first vegan Sunday in Berkeley!
An awesome vegan Jain family, Shilpa, Keyur and kids, based in Fremont made more than 500 samples of this yummy kulfi that they handed out during the JCNC celebrations in August. Here is the recipe:
Vegan Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream Recipe)
Features: Sweet, creamy frozen treat, with no pretentions of being a health food, but a lovely taste of Indian ice cream on a hot day.
Our first event was at the Jain Center of Northern California on Aug. 7-8 2010, where vegan speakers such as Gary Francione, Will Tuttle and Bob Linden discussed the practice of ahimsa in a vegan diet. The link to Prof. Francione’s lecture from JAINA in Los Angeles in 2009 is here. Bay Area Vegetarians helped us to plan and present literature and products for display during lunch and afternoon tea. Since Jains are traditionally lacto-vegetarian, we focused on the non-dairy alternatives. We addressed lots of nutritional questions, and will try to continue to do so here at this website. We also had a special handout placed in the event attendees’ bags (Vegan Jain brochure) that focused on veganism for Jains, and had the JAINA Education Committee’s Book of Compassion in both English and Gujarati, (click here for the pdf). We gave out samples of yummy products donated by Turtle Mountain, store bought Whole foods soy yogurt, home-made kulfi (Indian iced dessert), and home-made almond milk. We ended up with a multi-faceted expression of the vegan lifestyle, from formal talks to food tasting, to informal conversation with Jain vegans, to discussion of materials produced by Jain leaders at the national level and other vegan groups. We’ll expand on different elements of the event here and in succeeding posts.
I just returned from the 10th anniversary of the Jain Center of Northern California in Milpitas. Lots of vegan speakers, and great discussion about ahimsa.
Here are some pictures from the event.