In the abillionveg Spotlight Series, we’re getting the inside scoop on the people who believe in abillionveg’s mission and who are doing incredible things for sustainability. Meet Dave Osborn (second right, "Kale'd It"), a Point Reyes activist who is living and fighting to bring awareness to mindful eating and animal rights.
Dave Osborn (second from the right in Kale'd It, rocking plant-based shirts with family in Hollywood.)
Point Reyes in Northern California is an easy pick for a holiday retreat, located just a stone’s throw away from San Francisco, complete with an idyllic lighthouse for visitors to tour.
Lesser known about Point Reyes is the dominance of the dairy and beef industries in this small community. Animal agriculture is the main industry here, going back some 3-4 generations. Dave Osborn (@daveoz) is a local master chicken barbecuer turned vegan activist. His work brought him to the 2018 Sonoma VegFest where he met abillionveg intern Will Harding (@wharding) in 2018.
Dave’s vegan journey begins long before the Sonoma VegFest however. A decade ago, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and chose a plant-based lifestyle change over medical intervention. What began with food percolated into a transformed world view.
Dave before and after his plant-based transition; 80 pounds lighter! Image: Dave Osborn
“I was worried about being in this prison of a healthy diet and not being able to eat what I wanted to eat. What it turned out to be was enjoying being plant-based instead of eating a Standard American Diet.”
By reading books on protein and nutrition, global depletion, and other works by the likes of John Robbins and Howard Lyman, the connections between our drug and food systems and the environment began to spark. Being raised as a hunter meant that the lives of animals were never very high on Dave’s priority list, so it was only when he watched Called to Rescue, a documentary about how farm sanctuaries are working to help people see farm animals as their own beings, that the final piece of animal rights fell into place.
The highly-rated, positive documentary about farm animal sanctuaries can be watched online. Image: Called to Rescue
“You start to realize this whole mindset of being a meat eater is very much like racism. You don’t think of it until you’re made aware of it. When I saw how much we were mistreating animals, that had an intense impact on me. There’s always this separation you know, between the dog or cat on your sofa, and the pig on your plate.”
Going vegan extends beyond Dave’s personal life. One of Dave’s main projects has been organizing the Mindful Eating Food and Film Festival in 2019. Big names like Kip Andersen of Cowspiracy spoke at the event and Miyoko Schinner (vegan cheese maker, see the reviews!) of animal sanctuary Rancho Compasion co-organized the event with Dave.
Miyoko Schinner and Naomi Call at the Point Reyes Mindful Eating Film Festival. Image: Dave Osborn
The controversial film, The Shame of Point Reyes, showed the practices of dairy farmers in the Point Reyes National Seashore and stirred up commotion in the local community with images of sewage flows into the ocean from the 5,100 cows in the region. Dave himself co-owns a ranch described as “in transition” to soil regeneration, with animals living as residents, not to be sold for food. One of Dave’s goals was to promote discussion between animal agriculturists and animal rights activists.
“That’s what the Shame of Point Reyes was about. Showing how the baby calves are crying for their mothers, for 3-4 days. People were very shocked at the film festival when they saw that.”
Despite the conversations started at the film festival, government regulations in Point Reyes only allow ranching, not agriculture. Based on one of Dave’s interviews with a dairy farmer, the Point Reyes Park Service doesn’t want a conversion to plant-based crops because they don’t have the same “aesthetic” appeal for tourism as grazing cows on an open field. Leases in Point Reyes are written to allow only dairy operations to continue.