Our featured volunteer this month is Layne Powell. Layne has been with Liberation BC since the very beginning. I know I first met her in 2006 at a KFC protest on Davie Street, back before we were even an official non-profit! She never fails to impress us all with her remarkable combination of strength, compassion and courage.
How long have you been vegan?
I’ve been vegan for about 10 years, and vegetarian for 32 years before that (since 1971.) Actually, since 1983 I followed a macrobiotic diet, which doesn’t include dairy, meat or eggs, so I think I was largely vegan since ’83.
How long have you been involved in animal rights advocacy, and what made you get involved in the first place?
I can’t remember when I got started with animal rights advocacy, but it was at about the same time as becoming vegan. I was volunteering at Earthsave, and the books, magazines, videos, and people there made a big impression on me. Then I saw an undercover video about the cruelty that chickens are subject to, and that made me even more committed.
How did you hear about Liberation BC, and what made you decide to start volunteering with us?
Again, I can’t recall how I first heard about LBC. But I know that for a while I thought it was a BC branch of the ALF, which had been getting into the news at that time. So I was a bit wary. But then I discovered that the protests were respectful and didn’t involve any kind of violence, and I was drawn to that.
What sort of volunteer activities have you done with Liberation BC, and what’s your favourite form of outreach?
Do you have any particularly fond memories of a specific event, or a great story to share?
I think the film showings have been very influential. I remember that after seeing Forks Over Knives I bought about five copies and lent them to anyone who seemed receptive. The results have been gratifying, as people –friends and friends of friends– have become vegan, or at least very interested.
What is your full-time job?
My job is being a piano teacher. I try to incorporate animal rights into it. For example, the students love to watch my chickens that are outside the window. And whenever there is a piece of music about hunting or fishing or squishing a spider (believe it or not, there are such songs for children) I make a point of getting the student to make up new titles and words. The kids enjoy doing this. I have served vegan cookies at their little recitals, and made sure they were called that.
What do you do for fun in your free time?
In my free time for fun I love to see friends, read books, go to films, take walks, and try out new recipes from my new 1000 Vegan Recipes book.
And lastly, what is your favourite vegan-friendly store and/or restaurant in Vancouver?
It’s hard to say what my favourite restaurant is — probably the Naam. I’ve been going there since it was just a little room with a long table and a blackboard for the menu. For a while I played the piano there and even cooked (I burnt the cookies!) As for shopping, I guess Whole Foods is the best for vegan selections and variety. I regret their stance on happy meat, so there is some ambivalence there.
Thank you, Layne!