Interview with Gene Baur

Gene Baur, the cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, has a great new book out titled Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. Here's a brief interview I did with him the week before the book's publication.

There’s probably never been a time when so many people have been interested in giving veganism a try. What do you think aspiring vegans need the most help with when it comes to embracing a lifestyle free of animal products?
Yes, it feels like there is more interest in vegan living than ever before, and it’s a very exciting time to be immersed in this lifestyle. I think aspiring vegans mainly need simple, practical advice and support for shifting to a plant based life, including information as basic as knowing where to shop and how to prepare vegan food. Humans are creatures of habit, so a big part of making the change involves adopting new daily habits. And, this can be pretty easy, as most people already eat many vegan foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, etc.)

So how long have you been vegan?

I’ve been vegan since 1985.

It’s a whole different world for vegans today than back when you made the switch. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the availability of vegan food over the past decade?

Yes, it’s very different today than it was in 1985, in a good way. Vegan foods are more plentiful than ever and vegan awareness is making its way into mainstream consciousness. Over the past decade, the availability and convenience of vegan foods has skyrocketed. Supermarkets are selling plant based alternatives to cows’ milk, and plant based “meatless” meats are widely available, even at places like Walmart. New vegan restaurants are opening and expanding, and non-vegan restaurants are adding plant based options to their menus. Vegan businesses have been established, vegan chefs are creating amazing dishes, and plant based athletes are demonstrating how human bodies can thrive on plants. We are experiencing a convergence of issues and interests, encompassing ethics, earth and health. Momentum is building, and it’s a very exciting time for the vegan movement.

So tell me about your new book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. Who is your target audience, and what are the main things you hope your readers get from the book?

This book is for people who are interested in good health and who want to live responsibly and compassionately, especially in regard to their food choices. Practically everyone shares these aspirations, but some people are more aware and concerned with our broken food system, and more inclined to pay attention, and that is the target audience. The key takeaway message is that each of us makes daily food choices that have profound impacts on our well-being, and on the well-being of other animals and the planet. Eating plants instead of animals represents a win, win, win – for ourselves, other animals, and the earth. And, making vegan choices is easier now than ever.