The Gentle Barn.

After having already experienced the joy that is The Gentle Barn a few years ago, I was lucky enough to share this beautiful place with Matt and his daughter, Bella, on Sunday. For those of you who don't know, The Gentle Barn is a farmed animal sanctuary with a different agenda than most - this safe haven for formerly abused and discarded animals also serves as a place of healing for at-risk, developmentally disabled, and other groups of children and adults, by providing tours and volunteer opportunities during the week to allow for connection between the animals and humans they encounter. While GB 100% supports a plant-based diet & vegan living as the #1 action humans can take to help our Earth, this sanctuary also wants to leave a legacy that bridges the emotional, physical, and psychological difficulties so many people face with the extraordinary transformation the cows, chickens, goats, turkeys, pigs, and other creatures at GB experience. The best part? This transformation is all a result of the love, kindness, patience, and compassion of their GB human caretakers. 

Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn
Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn, gives regular speeches on Sundays before people are allowed to enter the upper areas of the sanctuary. In this rousing speech, Laks encourages every interested person visiting - child and adult alike - to remain gentle with the animals they encounter, a quality that is inherent in every aspect of her sanctuary. It was captivating to watch an entire audience of such a variety of people unite with Laks' words, especially that one main word - "gentle". I decided to look up the word "gentle" in Merriam-Webster and found the top definition to be: "having or showing a quiet and kind nature; not harsh or violent." I left Laks' speech with a renewed love of what it means to be a gentle being in this world. I left the sanctuary that day with a renewed commitment to the animals and humans I honor every single day with my vegan living. And man, was it fun to introduce this kiss-worthy place to Matt and Bella.

Below are some pictures capturing the day. I encourage all Southern LA residents and beyond to take a Sunday to visit this extraordinary place. 

Bella and I with Buttercup, a rescued cow. 

Matt meeting Lela, one of the sanctuary residents.

Bella & her new friend Zeus, after she gave her very first pig belly rub!

Me with Ellie Laks and her daughter

I couldn't resist giving a belly rub to Zeus myself! 

McKenna, one of GB's turkey residents

Faith, a blind rescued cow who gives new meaning to the word "faith"

Belly loved brushing the cow's hair!

For more information, please visit