Before starting SFRAW in 2003, I was part of a group affectionately referred to as Meat Madness (since half of us involved were vegetarians/vegans!)
History of Meat Madness (skip this if you just want to get to the point/proposal…):
Back in 2000-2001, I was the founder of a local dog advocacy group called District 5 Dog Owners & Guardians that worked to promote off-leash recreation, responsible dog handling, the AKC CGC program, held monthly park clean-ups in Alamo Square and other D5 parks like Duboce & Buena Vista, and held a fun annual dog festival that promoted advocacy and access to open spaces for SF dogs. Alamo Square was the first park in SF to go through the grueling SF Dog Policy program to become an official DPA. D5DOG worked tirelessly for two years, amidst a lot of controversy and with a mountain of challenges, to successfully establish Alamo Square as the first official new Dog Play Area (it had been de facto off-leash forever, but was at risk of being closed entirely to off-leash dogs at the time).
Anyway — one of the things I did with D5DOG was organized health and nutrition seminars (of course! LOL). For the first seminar, we invited Cathy & Tiffani from Feed This! (they had just launched their business) to speak about raw feeding. Those that attended wanted to switch to raw after the seminar, but were a little uncertain of doing it themselves. In response to this, I organized monthly food making get-togethers in my apartment that put people to work in an assembly line with different food prep stations so that at the end of the day we all had a month’s worth of food packaged into individual meal packs for our dogs and divvied up the costs to pay for everything combined, by the pound. I organized the menus/recipes, ordered/picked up the ingredients, and we all worked together to provide the labor for set-up, making the food & clean-up, and we all had a really good time together/lots of laughs – those were some pretty fun days. We did this for about two years; had one person move and one dog pass away, and three new people added during this time — when I started SFRAW, almost everyone from Meat Madness joined the new group and many are still members to this day. Good times – fond memories!
Bringing Back The Madness to SFRAW (the proposal):
I was thinking this am that it would be pretty cool if we started doing Meat Madness styled “food prep parties” here at SFRAW. With the warehouse location, and having access to such an abundant and amazing variety of better food and better equipment, etc. — a lot more space than my tiny apartment kitchen and rear garden (where John and Matt wildly chopped up meaty bones using a big cleaver – haha!). I think it would be pretty fun and collectively, with a fair division of labor, we could get a lot done here in just a few hours. I am considering putting together Meat Madness food making parties specific to dog sizes (tiny/small, medium & large/giant) and having a separate event for cat food making parties. I will organize the menus, etc. and then end of day, we’ll all pay for what we made by the pound. You can bring your own containers, or we can add this into the cost.
One of the many things that distinguishes SFRAW from other groups or companies is the incredible community and unique support we have within our membership. Building community through mentoring/support and the sharing of how/why we feed fresh foods with fellow members – sharing stories about our dogs and cats with members that understand our loving commitment and care, as well as the special magic that happens between humans when we spend time together preparing food, and sharing our love and commitment to our beloved animals – these values and experiences are at the very core of SFRAW’s mission and founding/guiding principles.
How many of you are interested in this sort of thing? From past experience with Meat Madness get-togethers, I am confident this will be a fun way to turn a chore into a party! Being involved will allow for you to not have to think much about making the food/menu planning and the social and fun aspect is really one of the best parts about it, IMO.
SFRAW is really about community and the Meat Madness program would foster this community while making a regular chore less work/drudgery by dividing the labor with your fellow SFRAW members; preparing your pet’s meals in the warehouse will leave your home free of dog/cat food making mess, too!
If you’re interested, please let me know by commenting below or sending an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll consider organizing our first event ASAP. I hope we can make it a regular thing. Let me know what size/age/number of dogs or cats you have and what days and times work best for you. I’m thinking we just need 3-4 people for each session and we’ll be able to knock out quite a bit of awesome “home-made” raw food pretty quickly.
Hope to hear from you!