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FVA’s 1st Spring Fling Potluck and Awards Picnic!

On May 14 th , FVA held our Spring Fling Awards Picnic at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor. We enjoyed a delicious array of potluck dishes, heard an interesting talk by Ron Knaus, DO, on plant-based lifestyle medicine, and gave out several awards! So who were the recipients of our 2021 Animal Hero, Lifetime Achievement, and FVA Business Supporter awards?


This Year's Winners!


The 2021 Animal Hero Award Goes to Tom DeSilva!

Please join us in congratulating Tom DeSilva, the recipient of the Animal Hero Award for 2021.

Heroes step up to help animals in a variety of ways, and Tom has managed to cover most in a single year! Ways that include volunteering at sanctuaries, protests, and county hearings on

animal welfare, to rescuing lost dogs and turtles during his lunch hour.

No opportunity to act is overlooked by Tom. On a leisurely walk with his furry companions, he retrieved a large foaming bag of hand soap that was contaminating a stream. He also helps

other humans to better the lives of our fellow animals, such as by building a step for an elderly dog to get up onto the bed. It takes a kind heart to help a friend fix a fence, to prevent his dogs from wandering the streets.

But it takes courage to knock on the door of a stranger and offer that same kind of help! Tom DeSilva is an everyday guy, living a life of kindness and compassion. He is an inspiring example of what it is to be an everyday animal hero. Thank you, Tom!


The 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to Marilyn Weaver!

Marilyn Weaver was presented with FVA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of being an amazing animal activist. She became an FVA original founding board member in 1989 and served until 1997. During that time, she was an incredible activist who attended countless protests against animal cruelty, wrote many letters on behalf of animals being exploited and spoke up for animals almost every day. Her actions included being one of our best petition signature gatherer on behalf of the many pregnant pigs who suffered in Gestation Crates in Florida.

Her hard work gathering literally hundreds of signatures was vital in the successful

campaign to pass Florida’s first constitutional amendment in 2002, which prohibited the

housing of pregnant sows in gestation crates. Many meetings and vegan Potlucks were held at Marilyn’s house. She has personally helped rescue many companion animals and was co-founder to MEOW NOW – the 1st non-profit TNVR (Trap Neuter Vaccinate & Return) organization in Pinellas County. Marilyn is also the founder & Executive Director of the Florida League of Humane Voters (Florida LOHV). She is still going strong according to many activists, including Cathy Unruh & Renee Rivard, who offered accolades to be read at the awards ceremony:

Marilyn's dedication to animal welfare has saved the lives and suffering of countless animals. Her decades of hard work and dedication to the animals has set an example for us all and taught us to persevere.  She is my mentor, a great friend, and a second mom.  Congratulations to Marilyn on a well-deserved award!” wrote Renee Rivard, last year’s Animal Hero Award recipient.

As the founder and Executive Director of the Florida League of Humane Voters, Marilyn’s influence reaches across our state, informing and motivating citizens and lawmakers to create and enact laws that protect and better the lives of animals. The hours she logs on her computer and phone to extend this reach and promote the best outcomes possible is dazzling. Nothing stops her! No opposition from others, no obstacles, no adversity: this is one determined woman."

Currently, Marilyn is assisting with a Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) program for

Manatee County. Her energy is awe-inspiring, and her activism has changed countless lives for the better. A longtime committed vegan, Marilyn spreads the word about animals as sentient someones, not somethings, with every meal and recipe she shares. And she is pretty well skilled at casually introducing veganism into conversations, too!

– excerpts from comments submitted by Cathy Unruh, Journalist, Author & Animal Advocate.


The 2021 FVA Business Supporter Award goes to Green Culture!

This year’s FVA Business Supporter Award went to Green Culture! Green Culture hosted our last Have-A-Heart Fundraiser in March 2020. They have also hosted board and Tampa Bay Veg Fest volunteer meetings. Furthermore, they have given a free FVA booth at the Solid Rock Health Fests for the past two years.

If that isn’t enough, they also offer discounts at Green Culture for FVA event attendees! They also support FVA by having paid for more than one year of ads for both Green Culture and Solid Rock Community School in our FVA Newsletter and they have offered to do joint billboard, which is being planned for this year.

A little about Green Culture:

Their motto is “You are what you eat!” At Green Culture the food is plant-based, fresh, healthy, cruelty-free, and tastes amazing! Our dishes are made to order. We provide modern plant- based foods and beverages that offer a positive benefit to your mind, body, and health. We are an

eco-friendly restaurant that offers a casual dining experience.

Green Culture is not just about serving great plant-based food but we are an edu-restaurant out to spread a message that eating plant-based foods is better for our planet, sustainable, and healthier for you. ANIMAL RIGHTS merchandise & messages are prevalent in the dining area. Plans for another location are in the works!

Michele Fasnacht, who along with her husband Eric are the owners of Green Culture, received the award. Michele is also the founder of Solid Rock Community School (SRCS), a 501c3 non- profit, tax exempt, co-educational K-12 private school. emphasizes individualized, whole-child development. SRCS is dedicated to providing a challenging educational program that meets our students’ academic, social, physical, and emotional needs. SRCS is invested in making the world a greener place, starting in its own school community. With a seed to table garden and all vegan lunch program, daily fitness classes, and a focus on environmental stewardship we are teaching our students to become healthy, involved citizens who can contribute to the greater good of society and be good stewards in the world in which they live.


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