Author Archives: monicaharwood

2019 Resolution: Show Love

“Don’t forget to show love!” Austin Perine reminds us, as he distributes food across the nation to homeless individuals. “President” Austin’s caped crusade to help the homeless is going global, but was launched from his living room couch:

“This whole thing started when we were sitting at home watching Animal Planet, and a baby panda was abandoned by its mom,” Austin’s father, Terance, recalls. Austin was confused, and wondered what would happen to the panda. “Just to give him an answer, I told Austin that the panda would be homeless. Then he asked, ‘Well, are people homeless?’ and I said yes. That sparked an idea for him to want to go and feed the homeless, so here we are.”

With a sponsorship from Southwest Airlines, Austin travels to communities across the country to feed the homeless, and his campaign has gained national attention. CNN selected him as one of the five most inspiring people of 2018, Google featured him in their “Year in Search,” he appeared in an Apple Music video, and Steve Harvey surprised him with a trip to Disney Land on his talk show.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Austin is traveling to Gaithersburg from Birmingham, Alabama, for the first-ever #ShowLove Fest on Sunday, February 10th. While many folks are left feeling like Grumpy Cat during this frigid time of year, Austin’s simple, straightforward message will inspire compassion among the community.

In partnership with the Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS), the event will feature a Q&A with Austin and presentations from the city’s homeless services division, then culminate in a feel-good, funny animal video festival. Attendees can share their favorite animal videos in advance on Facebook and Twitter @ArtsontheGreen using #ShowLove for a chance to be a part of the show.

MCHS will also be collecting shelter supplies for homeless animals onsite. Pet-themed gifts and art work by local artists will be for sale starting at 6pm. A portion of all sales and ticket proceeds will benefit MCHS.

The press release is available here. Tickets to this event are available at To learn more about Austin’s campaign, visit:


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by | January 3, 2019 · 12:24 pm

The Snooty Vegan says…


I hate to perpetuate the stereotype of the heretical herbivore, but every vegan has encountered the following conversational situations. I usually will respond to these comments with a polite smile and an unprovocative rebuttal. Here’s  a chance to hear what the condescending misanthrope is actually saying in my head when I get faced with these conversation-enders.

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To a Friend that I Will Dearly Miss

An early gift from Santa, one we certainly didn’t anticipate.

It’s hard to believe that now, almost 17 years later, this glowing personality we celebrate.

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My Experience Volunteering: Strawberries and Salad Greens Day

The D.C. Farm to School Network hosted its third annual Strawberries and Salad Greens Day yesterday. Fresh, locally grown produce was served at dozens of schools throughout Washington, D.C.

I had the pleasure of helping to run a “Where Food Comes From” table in the cafeteria at a charter school in Northeast D.C.

Equipped with lettuce seedlings, strawberry plants, seasonality charts, a handful of trivia, and of course, stickers, two school volunteers and I attempted to explain local food to K-8 graders.

I was surprised by the fact that most of the students, even the older ones, had never heard of the term “locally grown.” Thankfully, I was able to hold their attention (with the promise of a sticker,) so that the students could point to local farms on a map of D.C. and understand that the local food comes from farms not too far away.

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Vegan Recipe of the Week: Comfort Food- Polenta Lasagna

Courtesy of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

I made this recently for the “cannibal” of our show, Tom. Left out the Kale, since he’s not a huge fan of the greens. But he certainly was a fan of this creamy, rich and healthy dish! I used a prepared tube of polenta, which worked fine in thinly cut slices. Hopefully you will enjoy this as well!

Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale

If you use packaged polenta, slice it into 18 thin slices. If you make your own polenta, spread the cooked polenta out on a baking sheet and use a spoon or your moistened hands to spread it no thicker than 1/4 inch. When it has solidified, either cut it in half and use each half as one layer or cut it into an even number of pieces that you can fit together to fit your baking dish.


1 18-ounce package prepared polenta or 1 recipe of Quick Microwave Polenta
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large portabella mushroom, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups, chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch kale (about 8 ounces after trimming), center rib removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (may substitute spinach or other greens)
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
Cheese sauce (below)
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce (homemade or in a jar)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
vegan soy parmesan

“Cheese” sauce:
1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. cashew butter or tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch

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The Foie Gras Ban in California: Helping Us Move Forward

Chefs who are opposed to the foie gras ban that is scheduled to take effect on July 1st of this year will have to learn to live with it.

The foie gras ban was approved in California back in 2004, set to take effect seven years later.

In a last-ditch effort to repeal the ban, the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, or CHEFS came to speak out against the ban. Among these 100 chefs that have petitioned to terminate the ban are celebrity chefs such as Michael Chiarello and Tyler Florence. They propose alternatives to the ban on the basis that simply “regulating” the industry will “reform farming practices around the world.” They claim that the ban will create a black market for duck liver.

No lawmaker has offered to sponsor the opponents to the ban, and the California Legislature doesn’t feel it needs to focus its’ time and attention on their cause.

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Freedom of Speech (Abridged): The Detrimental Effects of Ag-Gag Bills

Missouri’s House has recently passed a bill criminalizing the act of “agricultural production facility fraud,” whereby individuals will be prosecuted who enter agricultural production facilites “by false pretenses…with the intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner.”  Animal welfare advocates who seek to expose the reality of food production and animal cruelty on factory farms could face serious jail time if they do not disclose their original intent on their job applications. The bill also specifies that individuals who “willfully produce a record of an image or sound occurring at the operation… without the consent of the facility owner” will be punished. So not only undercover animal welfare advocates will be at risk of prosecution,  but concerned employees that seek to distribute unauthorized photos or recordings are also at risk of retaliation.

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