A Day in the Life of a Vegan and Passionate Activist

Debby Rubenstein and friends

Meet Debby Rubenstein, the Founder & President of two non-profit organizations: Wagner Farm Rescue Fund and its sister organization, Have A Heart Farm.

Wagner Farm Rescue Fund works to protect all animals associated with the Glenview (IL) Park District’s Wagner Farm.* In the past 10 years, we have rescued and transported 13 cattle, 65 chickens, 2 geese and 2 big farm pigs to life-long sanctuary. These animals would have otherwise been sent to immediate or eventual slaughter. We also address daily welfare issues at Wagner Farm as necessary and are working to address welfare issues connected with their 4H program.

Have A Heart Farm is working on establishing our own multi-species animal rescue/community service sanctuary for domestic animals, farm animals and wildlife with a focus on hard-to-place animals. We’re also working with other rescuers to establish a smaller satellite location as an interim location to move animals who need immediate, emergency relocation. These animals would then be fostered, adopted or moved on to our larger sanctuary. We also work in conjunction with other no-kill rescue sanctuaries.

Where do you live? Glenview, IL

How long have you been vegan? I will just say “for a long time”.

Wake up: When I hear the glorious singing of the wild birds greeting the day.

Breakfast: A soy shake with fruit and/or peanut butter mixed in. If I know I won’t get to lunch until late, I’ll have a lunch-type food for breakfast, such as a vegan burger.

Activities/work: First I check messages to see how many new animals are in need of placement. Then, I always check on the welfare of the animals at Wagner Farm in Glenview, where I go virtually seven days a week, at least once a day depending on if there are any issues that have to be addressed immediately; for my non-animal related work I do small business office work and child care. I also do animal-sitting, write animal related news blogs, and I’m writing a book about my rescued animals, which will benefit my rescue organizations.

Lunch: Usually part of the breakfast that I end up not having time to finish in the morning.

Activities/work: Other miscellaneous work for my organizations or animal welfare in general, and finishing up other morning work.

Dinner: Some favorites choices are pizza, falafel, pasta, vegetables, rice, & salads.

Activities: Since I’m looking for property to establish an animal rescue sanctuary, much of my evenings are spent looking over and evaluating real estate listings collected during the day. Also, phone chats with various rescue colleagues are often at night as well as planning for the next day. I always cap off the evening by expanding and reading my “focus” book that I’m creating. The book helps me plan for the sanctuary. Every page features a different aspect that I intend to establish at the sanctuary, such as deluxe animal housing units, organic gardening, etc. I focus on it every night to help it physically manifest.

Lights out: Between 10:00 and Midnight, but lights are never really out completely as I remain available 24/7 should one of our organization’s animal caregivers need to reach me.

What’s the best part of being vegan? Knowing that every day I contribute positively in some way to all humane aspects of life.

What else do you want people to know? I also have a state teaching certificate in early childhood education and a graduate degree in early childhood special education. One of my goals is to have education programs at our sanctuary in animal and environmental welfare.

Also, we have our own organic/fair trade coffee brand for sale, Bart’s Blend. The proceeds support our rescue work. You can support Debby’s efforts by purchasing Bart’s Blend coffee. Email Debby directly for purchasing information at Debby@HaveAHeartFarm.org.

*Glenview, IL Park District’s Wagner Farm is a working and interpretive farm supported with tax-payer dollars. There are animals such as those in Wagner Farm’s Glenview Clovers 4H program who are sold for slaughter when no longer wanted for this program. Debby’s organization has offered to purchase these animals at or above market prices in an effort to rescue them from slaughter. These offers have been denied.

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