Kathy Freston
by Ali Berman
Categories: Events
Tags: , .
Photo: Lesley Marino/Farm Sanctuary

Kathy Freston was in attendance at the 25th Anniversary Farm Sanctuary gala as both a guest and an honoree. She was given the Healthy Living Advocate Award.

The veganist looked stunning in white and was so moved by the event that she was in tears when she approached the stage to accept her award.

We were able to catch up with the author in the VIP section early in the evening. Check out the interview below. And for those who want to know what Ms. Freston was thinking when Martha Stewart took out honey during the vegan episode, you’ll find that out too.

Ecorazzi: How did you get involved with Farm Sanctuary?

Kathy Freston: Farm Sanctuary to me is the best place to see the animals up close and because I’m a vegan activist I’m always trying to get people to see the light on why not to eat animals. I think that Farm Sanctuary is the best place to go to see who these guys are, who the little critters are and then once you get to know them you don’t want to eat them.

Ecorazzi: Have you been to either of the farms?

Kathy Freston: I haven’t been to the farm yet but I feel like I know a lot of the animals because I look at the emails and the videos that Gene sends out and it’s like a big family. They are so close to every one of their animals so I feel like I know them even though I haven’t been up there.

Ecorazzi: Can you talk a bit about what is a Veganist?

Kathy Freston: A veganist is someone who is intensely interested in all things vegan, all the effects of being vegan just like a violinist is someone who wants to get better and better at the violin. A veganist is someone who wants to go further in their understanding of all the implications of going vegan.

Ecorazzi: There was a bit of controversy in the vegan world when Martha Stewart whipped out the honey. What were you thinking at that moment?

Kathy Freston: I’m a real believer in progress, not perfection. I think it’s so fantastic that Martha Stewart was talking about vegan. She devoted a whole show to being vegan. So I was thrilled and I certainly wouldn’t want to call someone out just because of one ingredient that’s not totally pure because I think it’s all about leaning into it. And as ambassadors for animals and as ambassadors for the vegan movement it’s our job to be kind not only to animals but to people as well.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

View all posts by Ali Berman →
  • J.P.

    “There was a bit of controversy in the vegan world when Martha Stewart whipped out the honey. What’ were you thinking at that moment?”
    – I can tell you what I was not thinking. In the unbelievable crazy reaction some “vegan” had. For christ sake it is honey!!!! It is not a pork chop. Some people is just nuts…

    • stephanie

      Yeah….and a “little” rape and a “little” heroin are ok. I mean…it’s not like you do it ALL the time…

      It’s the same thing as people that are “vegetarian” but eat fish. I cannot tell you how many time I have go places, said I was veg and then was given fish (at a wedding) or suggested fish at restaurants.

      • S

        yeah, comparing rape/heroin and honey is definitely a reasonable comparison.

  • http://www.soulveggie.com Mark

    I think Kathy copped out big time. She was, in effect, representing all vegans, and owed it to all to gently let Martha know that honey isn’t vegan.

    She looked like a deer in the headlights, too afraid to stand up for vegan principles instead of the silly “veganish” and “lean into it” attitude. That perspective wouldn’t have gotten us very far in the past, and thank God more people don’t try to re-define something well-defined.”Veganish” is a stupid term that belittles veganism and blurs important distinctions in vegan attitude, philosophy, and lifestyle.

    She even twists what Dr. Esselstyn says. She has tweeted that that she “luvs added oil” and that you only need to worry about it if you have heart disease.

    That’s a gross mistatement of both Ornish’s and Esselstyn’s research.

    Finally, she has the audacity to call herself a “health expert” in her bio. She promotes a protein-centric vegan meal on Huffington Post (another urban myth) and recommends Gardein, without noting her (and her husband’s) financial connections with that company.

    Kathy needs to develop a spine and some intestinal fortitude. She’s a lousy and careless spokesperson for the vegan movement.

    • stephanie

      I agree 100%

      There isn’t a need to FREAK OUT, but there is a need to MAKE IT CLEAR what a vegan is.

      • http://www.soulveggie.com Mark

        Tks… this idea that “veganish” defines her nutritionally ignorant husband who eats “vegan” at home and meat/dairy when not at home, is offensive to me.

        I mean, couldn’t we consider him “meatish?”

        Just linguistic BS. He’s a carnivore, she isn’t, and it doesn’t matter where he’s “leaning.”

        But then, Freston is lamenting a lack of “protein-centeric” vegan dinners when she eats out at restaurants while drinking martinis & doesn’t point out the conflict of interests with Gardein when she writes about this “problem.”

        What a vapid shill.

  • Suasoria

    She’s right, being on that show was a great opportunity – and she fumbled the ball. It would have been easy to say “That looks delicious! Since I’m vegan I don’t eat honey but it’s easy to use maple syrup or agave instead. There are so many other options that taste great.”

    Really the blame needs to start with Stewart’s producers, who didn’t do their research and put honey on the menu.