25 years vegan and counting. Sandy Miller on animal advocacy, southern hospitality, and running a vegan B&B

Sandy Miller with Hamish

Sandy Miller is the proprietor and host of The Cherokee Rose Inn (now serving only friends and family as of 2018), a delightful and cozy vegan bed and breakfast nestled in the Sunnyside neighborhood of inner Southeast Portland, Oregon. Sandy has been a vegan and animal welfare advocate for nearly 25 years and is an active member of Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants, a local grassroots organization whose mission it is to “end the captive breeding and halt the acquisition of elephants from the wild and free the elephants to sanctuary.” Sandy is the mother of a son and daughter who also live in Portland. She shares her home at the Inn with Hamish, an adorable, attention-seeking seven and a half year old American Eskimo dog, who she adopted from a shelter in San Jose, CA and Bill, a four year old black kitty who is a bit camera shy. She also has four parakeets she adopted from the Oregon Humane Society and Exotic Bird Rescue.

Cricket (CC): Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I wanted to interview you for a few reasons. One is that I think it’s really amazing that you have this beautiful vegan bed and breakfast and I wanted to get more insight into what inspired that. I also know you’ve been involved in animal rights activism for a good portion of your life, so I wanted to get to know more about you. I’ve talked with your daughter, Laura, and she said, “I think my mom is the most interesting person I know.”

Sandy (SM): Oh, no. Oh really… [Laughs]

The Cherokee Rose Inn
The Cherokee Rose Inn
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Veganic farming with Bonnie from Spoke and Leaf Farm


Bonnie holding Munch | Photo: Portland Pictures

Bonnie Hildebrand lives on 43.5 picturesque acres in the North Plains countryside just 18 miles West of Portland, Oregon. She currently grows all of her beautiful veganic produce and flowers on a 1/2 acre plot. Bonnie shares her home with eight furry friends: Meowgi (the cat) Munch (the pug), and 6 rescue goats: Violet, Earl, Alexa and Alexa’s three babies, Tonk, Pluto and Chrystalia. Violet and Earl were first rescued by Out to Pasture Animal Sanctuary before joining Bonnie at Spoke and Leaf Farm. The others were rescued by Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue prior to joining the gang. Two stray cats have recently made an appearance and both are available for adoption!


What inspired you to become a farmer?

I think it’s just been an adult life of learning about food and where it comes from and how it’s handled and where it’s grown and I started getting serious about it in 2010. I went to a permaculture conference and it opened my eyes further. And I was gardening; I was growing stuff here and there with moderate success. Then I heard about the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship. That first year I wasn’t able to go because I was working full time, but fortunately I got laid off from my job and was able to apply to the second class of 2012. I was accepted and went through an eight month intensive urban farming program and that really did it. I did an internship with them in 2013 and worked for another farmer in 2014.  And then when my dad bought some property and he said, “come start your farm,” so it gave me the opportunity in 2015 to start my farm. Read More

Veganuary: An Interview with Andrew Warren


Andrew Warren, January 16, 2016

It’s January 16th 2016 and I’m here with Andrew Warren — who happens to be my younger brother — and I’m interviewing him about his participation in Veganuary.

Is this your first time participating in Veganuary?  No, I did it last year as well. Last year was the first time I heard about it. I think I had the intention of not doing it this year, but then you came and visited for the holidays and you remotivated me. Read More

Connecting the Dots: How social justice advocacy led me to animal rights


Photo courtesy Tambako the Jaguar

I was about nine or ten years old when I started reading Zoobooks magazine. It was a gift subscription from my grandma, Laverne. Zoobooks is a children’s magazine that explores the anatomy, habitat, social behavior and ecological role of a specific animal or animal group, or sometimes features categories like “baby animals” or “endangered species.” It was established in 1980 and is still in publication today.

I would eagerly await the magazine’s arrival each month and after reading the issue cover to cover, I would gently tear along the perforated lines to retrieve the centerfold poster and add it to the collection hanging on my bedroom wall.

I was fascinated with this whole world of amazing creatures that shared the planet with me. I was especially drawn to elephants and big cats and one of my most prized possessions at the time was a small, stuffed white snow leopard I got on a trip to Marine World with my family.

Beyond fascination, I felt genuine empathy and love toward animals — the way most children do. Read More