The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Greta Lorenz Receives $5000 VRG college scholarship

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Congratulations to Greta Lorenz from California, who is one of our $5,000 college scholarship recipients for 2013! Greta wrote:

Like many, I became a vegan for what I perceive to be moral and ethical reasons. Although my parents, sister, and I have long been a part of a committed spiritual tradition, neither of my parents were vegetarian until I ‘converted’ them several years ago. Subsequently, both became vegan. This was my first experience in promoting ‘kindness on a plate’ and it left an indelible mark that has given me the confidence to promote within a wider sphere, including my middle and high schools. Just before entering high school I was awarded an Environmental Stewardship grant of $1,000 for my research and presentation to the student body on the subject of meat eating and the enormous ecological drain it creates. My presentation included statistics on water and land usage, the grain needs, and methane gas emissions, to name a few. As a result of the award, I was asked by the headmaster to represent my school in the U.S. Green Schools Fellows program. Although I was unable to attend the training program in Virginia for financial reasons, nevertheless, I was honored to be chosen as my school’s representative. The communication that had been established between the principal and myself emboldened me to ask for a meeting in which I presented my idea of showing the documentary “Peaceable Kingdom” (after seeing, which, I became vegan) to the high school. I gave a copy to him, which to his credit he viewed, but ultimately felt it might be too disturbing for some of the students.

I am proud to say that my nickname has been “vegan” all through high school and I wear the mantel seriously … For the last 2 years, I have been an active participant in L.A.’s annual “Veggie” parade, in which I dressed as a carrot.

My involvement in preparing and serving food for homeless shelters consists of first making the food at home. It is always vegetarian … After preparation, I transport the food and then serve it every other Sunday at the Women’s shelter and every Wednesday and/or Thursday afternoon a the H.O.P.E. facility. I have been helping make (meals) and serve at H.O.P.E. for over four years and doing the same at the downtown women’s shelter for the last two years. I am a staunch, but hopefully not too obnoxious vegan and so I always try to make the meals vegan; however, I understand that many of our clients really like dishes made with dairy … I make many dishes with tofu and use tempeh and seitan when I can afford it or get it donated. I make mashed potatoes using Earth Balance and one of my most popular dishes is baked cauliflower with soy cheese. Because I am aware that many of the homeless community really crave ‘comfort food,’ I try to make that as much as possible. Also, it is important that they get sufficient protein so I always make sure that happens. I make a lot of pasta dishes with tofu, tempeh, or seitan, as well as beans and rice burritos. I also make PB&J sandwiches to pass out to anyone who wants to take them for later. What I’ve found interesting over my many years of doing this, is just how many of the people I prepare food for and serve, say that they are already vegetarian! Startling, because when you don’t often know where your next meal will come from, it takes a real commitment to adhere to a vegetarian diet. I am always humbled by that.

I’ve been asked by Mother’s Kitchen to cook and serve (vegetarian of course) food at the Topanga Earth Day celebration. They have an annual
booth there and I’m honored to be asked. I have done the same for them for the last 2 years.

I have spent time in an Ashram in southern India, where my job is to cook and bake for enormous numbers of people. All dishes are vegetarian. The trips to India were initially funded by my parents until 2009, when my father became ill and could no longer work (He passed away in 2012). I baby sat, dog walked, and began working at Starbucks in order to pay for my plane ticket. Having visited an orphanage in Paripally, India, I became aware that the children were sleeping on metal bed frames with no mattresses. On returning to the U.S., I made jewelry and sold it, making $600, which was used to buy mattresses.

I’m thrilled to be accepted to UCLA. In addition to being an amazing university, they have a very active club called Bruins for Animals that promotes among other causes, Veganism and cruelty-free farming. I’m intending to be their most vocal member.

To donate towards our scholarship awards or needs based interns, or to underwrite sending Vegetarian Journals to applicants, go to www.vrg.org/donate; call (410) 366-8343, or mail checks to VRG, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203. Please indicate your wishes.

For information about applying for the 2014 scholarship, see https://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm

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  1. Julia F says:

    Congrats, Greta! Your essay is great and inspiring. Super lucky to win!:)



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