BFF logo and Unny

My New Role

I’m thrilled to announce my new position as the Movement Building Director at the Better Food Foundation! I begin on March 20. I’ll tell you more about the organization and the position, but first let me tell you about some of my process to get here.

When I was 20 years old, I decided that I would devote the rest of my life to social change organizing. And when I was 21 years old, I decided that animals were my primary cause. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I felt in my heart that this was my life’s calling. I co-founded Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) shortly after deciding to devote my life to animals. Over the next two decades, CAA was my primary vehicle for my efforts (and for several years my primary employer), and at the same time I engaged in many other social movements.

When I left CAA seven years ago, I said “I’d like to consider new strategies and turn my focus to influencing institutions, such as food service providers and the government. I’m also interested in having my work more closely align with advocating against racism, sexism, and other ways that our society exploits humans.” And I’ve been exploring since then, and by exploring I mean angst-ridden meandering.

Meandering has included wellness and planning retreats and meditations, promoting racial justice in animal protection, and advising conferences (see you at the end of July in Los Angeles!). I’ve been fundraising for worker’s rights and most recently on a statewide elders justice initiative and for a new low income BIPOC-led housing cooperative, and I’ve coached and trained fundraisers. In this process I came to appreciate community care and wellness, learned how to hold space for anger and provide empathy (definitely a lifelong process), and met so many inspiring changemakers locally and across the country – and some across the world. This sounds great in retrospect, but I struggled with understanding where I was going. I wondered: what’s the thread that holds this together and where in animal protection could I contribute something very substantial?

As I got to know the Better Food Foundation over the last few years, I felt like it was a great fit. They care deeply about human justice, they work on institutional change, they are engaged in spiritual and religious communities. I could see bringing many of the aspects I’ve explored recently to my work here.

In my new position as Movement Building Director, I’ll be fundraising for BFF, mentoring organizations on fundraising and nonprofit management, and helping to grow the entire movement by educating funders about diverse animal advocacy strategies and how they connect to better-funded movements like climate change and public health. My position is mostly remote; I’ll work from home and travel to conferences. It is half time position, since about four hours per day is the greatest amount of hours I can do.

These are the main three projects The Better Food Foundation does:

  • We shape the food policies of institutions and governments in order to shift the meals they serve to plant-based meals, which multiplies their positive impact on animals, the environment, and public health. This helps shape the food norms of large numbers of diners by sending the message that plant-centered eating is delicious and easy, and inclusive of their respective communities.
  • We promote plant-based defaults as a primary strategy to drive diet change in settings where large numbers of meals are served. Our evolving research program leverages the data from institutional partners who have adopted plant-based defaults in order to better demonstrate the impact of this strategy
  • We build the capacity of leaders and organizations transforming food norms in their own communities—community-based activists, faith-based institutions, and authors who are reshaping how we think about food through their writing.

This new position brings together many of my beliefs, interests, and passions.

Please follow along! You can sign up for our email list at the bottom of this page and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

P.s. CAA has been moving in a great direction since I left; I donate monthly and I hope to see you later this month at the 25th Anniversary Banquet.

6 replies
  1. Melissa Pelland
    Melissa Pelland says:

    This is so wonderful! Congrats to you Unny! I love that you found something that fits exactly who you are and what you want to do. You are inspiring. Lots of gratitude for the work you do. Thank you!

  2. Peggy Thomsen
    Peggy Thomsen says:

    Congratulations! I know your dad through a shared passion for the health of our planet.
    Just a plug that switching an emphasis towards native plants is another lower level that will support the greater goals of your organization.
    Healthy eco-system supports the insects and soil health, and conserves water . . . all required to more justly supply food for every part of the food web -including animals & humans too!

    • unny
      unny says:

      Hi Peggy, that’s neat that you know my dad! Yes, he has been a supporter. Definitely, native plants are very important for all the reasons you say! I hope and try to support those efforts too!

  3. Leila Midelfort
    Leila Midelfort says:

    I am really happy and excited for you. Advocate on and continue to make the change we need. I admire you so much for doing and living this work.


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