We’re halfway through the spring semester, which means it’s time to check in with our fearless activists on the road with our 10 Billion Lives campaign! The first crew you’ll hear from are Todd & Erica with the Southwest Tour, who have been educating college students all over southern California.
Greetings from a very sunny southern California! We can hardly believe the tour is already half way though and we wanted to give our friends and supporters an update from the road. We’ve met so many passionate people at the many schools we’ve visited, eaten at a plethora of amazing vegan restaurants and connected with other passionate activists doing awesome things for animals!
Our first weekend happened to line up with a celebration of former 10 Billion Lives Alum Stephanie Frankle’s first year anniversary of the Humane League’s San Francisco office. It was such a fun event full of celebrating the many wins for the animals they have achieved. Attending this event gave us an opportunity to bond with FARM’s 10 Billion Lives Program Manager, Ryan, who’s based in the Bay area. His family was beyond hospitable in accommodating us that weekend. We headed south with many baked goods from the Frazier family for the road! Valentine’s Day brought another fun opportunity to meet fellow activists and meet some farmed animal friends! We jumped at the chance to volunteer at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres event, where the public could visit the sanctuary and meet some of their rescues! There are so many great people and groups out there, and we both feel lucky to be able to play our part with FARM!
Southern California is home to so many wonderful vegan restaurants (60 at last count) and we’ve made it our mission to eat our way through them as time and our stomachs allow! Some of our favorite places have been Sage Café, Real Food Daily and Native Foods Cafe. The Native Foods nachos are not to be missed, nor is brunch at Real Food Daily! Erica still finds herself daydreaming about the spinach basil ravioli she had at Sage. We’re already salivating at the thought of 9 more weeks of delicious food and supporting vegan businesses!
It hasn’t all been good times and gluttony, though. We’ve been putting in long hours each day and have reached over 5,500 students in the last 8 weeks! Interacting with so many students has lead to meaningful connections for them and us. Being on tour and living in a van is hectic and stressful, but every day we talk to students who are ready or interested in going vegan and that makes all the late nights and headaches worth it. We’re both loving the Southwest Tour, for Todd it’s a chance to see the progress on campuses he’s visited in the past, and Erica is loving the opportunity to see all the beauty that Southern California has to offer! There have been some standout student run groups at the campuses too! The Bronco Animal Rights Network (BARN) at Cal Poly Pomona and Vikings for Animals at Long Beach City College really stand out in our minds. We both see that good things are to come from the awesome people that organize these groups! FARM’s new Southwest Outreach Coordinator and 3-time Tour operator, Angie Fitzgerald, is helping us reach out to students interested in starting new clubs. She’s a great resource for assisting sometimes-overwhelmed students to get clubs going on their campuses. Thanks Angie!
Last and anything but least, we must give huge shout outs to both Beau Broughton, our Tour Coordinator and Ryan Frazier. Thank you both for everything you do, being so selfless to your operators and always being available 24/7!
THANK YOU to Todd & Erica for this great update and for all their hard work on the road. Please leave a comment with some words of praise & encouragement for them & our other 10 Billion Lives activists (whom you’ll hear from soon). Also be sure to follow along their adventures on Twitter and Instagram!