The Farmaste speaker’s tent will feature talks on healthy plant-based eating, effective advocacy, what we can learn from animals, and religious approaches to helping animals. Check out the exciting line-up below!

Many of the speakers will also host round-table sessions in our new community tent (schedule coming soon).

Programming in the Farmaste speaker’s tent is supported by Farmaste, a sanctuary that rescues farmed animals, and brings them to live out their lives on their farm as someone not something, as well as by generous donations from individual supporters.


Lauren Plunkett

Lauren PLunkett
Lauren Plunkett RDN, LD, CDE,  Owner at LP Nutrition Consulting

Plant-Based Nutrition for the Aspiring Vegan

11:40am – 12:20pm

Learn the basics of plant-based eating and how to develop a foundation of delicious foods that give you all the nutrients you need and more!

About Lauren Plunkett

Lauren is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, public speaker, and sports nutrition educator for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She works as a nutrition consultant in the areas of weight loss, sports nutrition, disease prevention, plant-based lifestyle, and general wellness with age. She is an indoor cycling instructor, enjoys cooking plant-based meals, and is passionate about supporting animal rescue organizations. She has also lived with type 1 diabetes for 25 years and credits her vegan lifestyle to living an active healthy life.

Cam Awesome

The Right Way To Be Right

12:30pm – 1:10pm

Cam Awesome
Cam Awesome, Vegan Athlete and Inspirational Speaker

Learn to express effective ways of sharing your passion for a vegan lifestyle while remaining inclusive and maintaining likability.

About Cam Awesome

Originally from Long Island, NY, Cam Awesome is a 5 time USA National Champion, a 4 time Golden Gloves National Champion, 2 Time Olympic Trails Champion boxer and Captain of the USA National boxing team. Bill and Ami Mackey aka “BlAmi” (known in the boxing world as his “Vegan People”) were the ones that introduced him to the vegan lifestyle. Cam says: Why am I vegan? Eh- I don’t care to share why. Do I think it would be beneficial for others to be vegan? Of course! Would I like if the entire world became vegan? Yup. Will I force it on others? Nah. I’m not the stereotypical vegan. I’m not what people think about when they hear “Vegan”. I’m not white, I don’t do yoga, I’m not frail, and unlike the peaceful people you think of when you think vegan, I get road rage from time to time. He has twisted the perspective of his failures and used them as stepping stones to success. His career as a boxer has given him enough material to be a successful standup comic and has given him life experience to be a keynote speaker. His resilience has taught him the importance of hard work and gives him the credibility to share his story. Cam has developed simple but effective techniques to becoming a champion in and outside of the ring.

Presentation of the Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award

1:20pm – 2:00pm

We’ve created this award to recognize a person, organization, or business in our community whose amazing work is pushing the ball forward for animals. This year, in honor of Compassionate Action for Animal’s 20th anniversary, we’re giving the award to Matt Mackall, Unny Nambudiripad, and Dave Rolsky. All three were founders of CAA and have been critical to the growth of the organization and the animal rights movement, both locally and nationally.

Learn more about their work and the award here.

Kelly Tope and Shannon Kehle-Forbes

Kelly Tope and Shannon Kehle-Forbes, President/Founder and Vice President at Farmaste Animal Sanctuary

Lucky few: Helping spread the message of compassion

2:00pm – 2:40pm

Comparing and contrasting the lives of animals in industrial farms to the lucky few who find sanctuary.

About Farmaste Animal Sanctuary

At Farmaste Animal Sanctuary we rescue farmed animals, and bring them to live out their lives on our farm as someone not something.



Mark Berkson Ph.D.

Mark Berkson Ph.D., Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University

Religious (and Non-Religious) Approaches to Helping Animals

2:50pm – 3:30pm

This talk and discussion will focus on the resources for improving the lives of non-human animals available in religious traditions originating in the Middle East (with a focus on Christianity and Islam) and traditions originating in South Asia (with a focus on Buddhism and Hinduism). We will look at the differences in the views toward animals in these traditions, and we will also see that the world’s religions, despite their many differences, all have ways of moving us from seeing animals merely as resources to be exploited to seeing them as relatives worthy of our moral concern, compassion, and respect. Finally, we will briefly discuss the importance of non-religious perspectives for protecting animals, focusing on the notions of non-human animal personhood and animal rights.

About Mark Berkson

Mark teaches courses in East and South Asian religions, Islam, and comparative religion. He frequently addresses topics related to non-human animals and teaches a seminar entitled, “Resources or Relatives: The Ethical Status of Non-Human Animals.” Mark’s scholarly work has addressed topics such as Confucian and Daoist thought, death and dying, religion and non-human animals, and interfaith dialogue. His work has been published in numerous books and journals. He has released two DVD/book lecture series with The Great Courses. Mark has organized panels on animal activism, presided over a roundtable session entitled “Teaching about Animals and Religion” at the annual American Academy of Religion conference, and given multiple presentations on religion and animals at CAA’s “Their Lives, Our Voices” and Veg Fest events. He also serves as Faculty Advisor for the Hamline Animal Rights Club, a student organization.


Christine Coughlin

Christine Coughlin
Christine Coughlin, Minnesota State Director for the Humane Society of the United States

Why you are the right person to help animals

Think that one person can’t change the world for animals? Think again! Come learn how to harness your unique gifts and about the big and small (and in between) actions you can take to make our world a more compassionate place.

About Christine Coughlin

3:40pm – 4:20pm

Christine Coughlin is the Minnesota State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. A native Minnesotan, she has been active in the field of animal protection since 2002, with a focus on grassroots legislative campaigns and electoral advocacy. Christine has served on animal welfare policy task forces for the City of Minneapolis, initiated the biannual publication of MN’s Humane Scorecard, and founded Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, serving as executive director until 2014. She is vice president of the board of Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare and also serves on the board of Friends of MN Scientific and Natural Areas. Christine is the recipient of Compassionate Action for Animals’ 2017 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award, created to recognize a person, organization, or business whose work is pushing the ball forward for animals.