Seth Tibbott, on the annual Tofurky Trot
Thanksgiving morning 2012 starts early for me when my alarm goes off at 6:07 in the morning. Gathering myself I remember why I awoke at this most ungodly hour: it’s the running of the Tofurky Trot Portland, OR, a 2 hour drive away from my snug bed. Driving down the near deserted interstate, the weak November sun is just coming up over the mighty Columbia River and the wet forests of northern Oregon. I’m not a morning person so the beauty of this hour is both rare and striking. The earth feels alive with magic.
Pulling into the Refuge parking lot it’s most reassuring to see that there are coveys of joggers already stretching in the cold of the day. Stepping out of my car there is an immediate and profound sense of community hanging in the air. I hardly know anyone yet I feel like I know everyone. For on this day, when America sits down to give thanks for the bounty of our lives, there is also the ever-present underlying sadness of how that bounty has been achieved at the expense of some 44 million sentient avian lives. And we all feel it. But somehow this sadness unites us and gives us all the more reason to gather in hopes of nudging the world a little bit more towards the compassion (and understanding) we all feel.
Today we run for ourselves and our own health, but we also run for 2 other causes: Portland’s Vegan Food Bank, “Food Not Bombs” and to support the relief efforts of the Cinnamon Snail, a vegan NYC food cart giving out free food to victims of hurricane Sandy. I put on the giant Tofurky Roast box that I made for the occasion and hang a poster announcing this historic Trot for everyone to sign. We say a few words, laugh, take some photos and then start off on our 3.9-mile course laid out by Sarah Cruse and Jasmin Singer of the Lewis and Clark Animal Law program. Some walk, some jog, some almost sprint but we’re all feeling high and moving about, passing out Happy Thanksgiving greetings in our bright new Tofurky tee shirts. I run and talk with several fellow trotters, which is not only fun but also unusual since my sporadic runs at home are always alone.
We finish to cheers some 50 minutes later, I pass out Tofurky Roasts to all and we go our separate ways to assorted gatherings of family and friends. Most of our gatherings will be omnivorous and we Tofurky eaters will likely be in the minority. But as we go off we feel strong. Strong not only from the runner’s high but also from the sense of community that enveloped us and left behind over $600 for the Snail and a big box of food for Food Not Bombs. We leave nourished in both body and soul, moved forward by a shared glimpse of a compassionate future created by our fellow Tofurky Trotters.
And friends, I say to you that this Tofurky Trot on Thanksgiving morn 2012 was not the last of it’s kind. It’s a magical thing, being out and about early on deserted city paths and streets, running and raising money for some good causes with fellow plant lovers. It’s so good we want to spread the spirit of this first historic Trot throughout this world in 2013. We are taking what we learned from this day and creating Tofurky Trot kits that we will send out to others in their local communities.
In 2013 we say a Tofurky in every pot and a Tofurky Trot in every town! If you are interested in being on our mailing list of people wanting to help organize a Tofurky Trot in your hometown, send your name, phone and email and snail mail addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org
To all who are interested I say, let’s raise some money for some good causes and have a great time doing it!
And to my 43 fellow Tofurky Trotters on this inaugural run I say thanks for putting the “Thanks” in my Thanksgiving!
– Seth Tibbott- Founder and Chief Poobah at Turtle Island Foods