The Founders

Below you can learn some background about the Founders of Vegans of New York. We would love for you to join our online Facebook Community! Feel free to contact us, as well:

 Photo: Michael Whitley

Photo: Michael Whitley


Marc S Wood

I was brought up in a small fishing village called  Eyemouth, in the South East of Scotland, where the air was fresh, the water was clean, and all the food we ate was organic. Dreaming of a better life, I headed off to live in Madrid at age 19 to teach English, and then onto London which would become my home for over 6 years. It was there in London at age 23 that I had my first experience of what animal rights was all about, and what would be the start of my journey towards Veganism.

One day in Earls Court, the equivalent of Madison Square Gardens in New York, I went to see an animal rights convention. It was here for the first time that I was made aware of the suffering and cruelty that animals are subjected to, be it for consumption, entertainment, or for research in all sorts of aspects (medical, cosmetics, etc). This was to be the turning point in my life, and from that day forward I gave up eating meat. That was 22 years ago. Several cities later, and with a plethora of experiences, my journey finally led me to New York City. I have lived here now for 17 years, and am still in love with this city as much as I was when I arrived back in 1996. I eventually turned Vegan after meeting with a Vegan friend, who educated me in the dangers of dairy and the cruelty of the dairy industry, so for me it was an easy step from vegetarian to Vegan.

This step proved to be the single most important choice I’ve ever made.

Always interested in helping people, I volunteered with The Hospice of New York for a few years which was a profound experience. Witnessing people suffering from diseases, mostly cancer, ebb painfully and slowly out of this world, got me thinking about why is it so many people in the western world die from cancers and heart disease? Does it have to be this way? I began to educate myself about the causes of such diseases and I studied the T Colin Campbell course on Plant-Based diet through Cornell University and received my Family Health Coaching certification from Dr Sears Wellness Institute. These courses helped everything come together for me. Health, animal advocacy, and the environment all are affected by what we ingest, and being a Vegan has a tremendously positive impact on all three subjects.

Enter my love for cooking healthy food for myself over the last 20+ years, add to this the knowledge from the course, and I started helping others by going into their homes and giving lessons on how to cook tasty and nutritious plant-based meals.
Now many happy and healthier clients later, I continue to educate myself and feel blessed to have found this lifestyle and to have the honor of sharing it with you, another profound experience.


Jill Carnegie

Veganism is the moral compass for every choice that I make! Thanks to my mother, I was "incubated" vegetarian (in other words, born of a vegetarian pregancy); lifelong vegetarian; vegan since 24 years old. That's right, lifelong vegetarian. I can count on one hand the number of times that I've ingested meat, and all but two of those times were accidental (1 hot dog as a 3-year-old, one cold-cut sandwich at about 4 years old). That means that, 25 years ago, I was in second grade explaining to some other 7-year-old that, no, vegetarians don't eat fish or chicken. Really. 

Once I learned the truth about the dairy and egg industries, the change was immediate. No, I've never had any nutrient deficiencies, and I've never really been a fan of supplements. I don't obsess over what I eat. Though I am a Certified Nutrition Counselor, I still enjoy some french fries and beer when I feel like it!

Education-based activism, as well as any activism that engages people in a unique and emotional way, are my priorities and what I strive to effectively contribute to these efforts in the Animal Rights Movement.

Proud to be Managing Partner of NUMU Vegan Cheese, currently enjoying its launch phase!

Lots of Wellness Pro info can be found here:

Izzy Jacobus (founding former member)

I am vegan for the health of the entire biosphere.  I believe in making a positive impact on the world and all of its inhabitants. I have found a new purpose in this stage in my life and I will not be silent.

I found the power of food through searching to regain my health after years of ailments, injuries and minor surgeries. I found the truth about the effect of animal agriculture through documentaries and the writings of vegan philosophers and environmentalists. I found the compassion to fight for equal rights through the experience of learning about how beings truly exploit each other and why it is unacceptable.

Growing up in New Jersey and living in New York for most of my adult life, I am interested in building a vegan network and resource for this area. I am a life-long artist, actor, writer, musician, designer, cook, activist and conspirator. I am a self-taught nutrition and fitness expert and I am highly interested in promoting wellness for myself and others.

I am a firm believer that there is no excuse to not be vegan in New York City. During the time I was sick, I chose to abandon traditional medicine and drugs in favor of the healthiest diet possible and extreme dedication to exercise and proper rehabilitation, on my own. I began to further my nutrition education which led me to documentaries and books about food and food production, then about the environment and finally about animal rights. This experience was only a matter of weeks and I instantaneously transitioned from meathead, omnivore, consumer to conscientious, vegan.

 Photo: Michael Whitley

Photo: Michael Whitley