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Mary Ann

7/4/1941 - 4/21/2019

Mary Ann Lederer passed away Easter Sunday April 21st, 2019 at 7:30 pm at the age of 77. Mary Ann was the life blood of this organization for many, many years. The nurse who was with her at the time of her passing said that she appeared peaceful. Her body, which experienced so much pain, is now at rest, and her mind is free. The celebration of Mary Ann’s life has now been confirmed for July 14 at 2 PM at Clifton United Methodist Church.

MaryAnn Lederer 's personal Facebook page for a beautiful outpouring of reminiscences and photos.
Facebook Paintings Page. She never could get the hang of using Facebook, so all of what's there are posts by her friends.
Video featuring 24 of her paintings

Mary Ann Lederer obituary


I want to live in a world where all the food is freshly grown; where meals are works of Nature's generous abundance and perfection and this is available for everyone; where every living being is cherished and respected; where air is clean and soil is rich; where every house, chair, blanket, rug, pot and article of clothing is comfortable, useful, and wonderfully beautiful; where every child has trees to climb and time to spend on mountains, lakes, and river banks; where parents raise their own children, where they have children because they want to raise them; where neighbors care and share; and where every landscape makes one gasp with excitement for the loveliness of it.
I want to live in a place where people love life, because life is so precious and enjoyable, and people are grateful to be alive.
This is the world I paint.

Mary Ann Lederer


By Bill Messer

Mary Ann Lederer, An appreciation, read at Vegan Earth Day 2019, Burnet Woods Park, adapted from A Biographical Sketch of Mary Ann, written in 2009 by Elizabeth Farians, Ph.D., and a 2011 CityBeat article by Gail Silver.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, the principal moving force of VeganEarth for so many years, and before that EarthSave Cincinnati, Mary Ann Lederer, passed away at Cedar Village Nursing Home. She was 77. You cannot think of EarthSave/VeganEarth and not think of Mary Ann, and it will be difficult to think of it without her.
Mary Ann and my sister were classmates at Walnut Hills High School in the 1950s; that became a touchstone for our relationship, that and art. As a young woman Mary Ann had been very active in many causes including peace, civil rights and welfare rights. Hoping to be an influence in
improving conditions especially for low income people, Mary Ann got a Master's Degree in Community Planning. A few years later a home
intruder shot her twice in the back and left her a paraplegic. During a year-long recovery she learned how to take care of herself, including ziping around in her wheelchair and getting in and out of her car, now refitted so that she could drive with hands alone. She began to work for the disabled and was the first disabled person to work on behalf of
the disabled at U.C., setting up many innovative programs (this was well before the Americans with Disabilities Act). As the years passed, however, her body began to crumble, her health deteriorated and
she became seriously ill. She saw dozens of doctors but nothing stopped the decline. Just a sneeze could break a rib; most of her ribs did break, her leg broke, and her spine began to bend so she cold barely sit up; even breathing became difficult and she was in constant pain.
That’s when she found Dr. Irene Barbasch, a naturopath doctor, osteopath and chiropractor, who believed that her job was to teach her patients how to be their own doctors. For the next 20 years, Barbasch taught Lederer during weekly visits to her patient’s home and countless hours on the phone. Among Barbasch’s nutritional teachings: eat an
almost all plant-based diet, whole foods and no processed or sugary foods. There was juicing, supervised fasting and exercise programs.
As her health improved, Mary Ann became involved with EarthSave Cincinnati (later called VeganEarth), to share what she was learning from Barbasch and to learn more about the environment, health and animals. Later she confessed that she first tried to stop eating animals in order not to upset the people she was learning with and from. But soon, shocked to learn how animals are treated in the food production system, she became strongly motivated by compassion for how much the animals
feel and suffer to become food for humans. She saw it as a natural extension of her fight for human civil rights. “And someday [people] won’t scoff at the idea that animals also have the right not to suffer,”
she told Gail Silver for an article about her in CityBeat in 2011. Mary Ann always credited the nutritional theory of Dr. Irene Barbasch with saving her life and prolonging it. Dr. Irene’s death in 2008, at the age
of 93, complicated Mary Ann’s continuing ability to find appropriate medical care.
Everyone in the peace and justice community knew Mary Ann. She had been active in so many projects and organized many events. Even though
increasingly most of the time she could no longer attend meetings or protests, her influence was in evidence. As an accomplished artist, she generously donated her art work and talent as fund raisers, for posters and program covers, and everyone came to her to make protest signs for the social justice movement. She has made hundreds, many for Mac,
Reverend Maurice McCrackin. And she called hundreds of members of various organizations of the peace and justice community to activate them
about meetings or events and additionally held many meetings in her tiny apartment. At EarthSave and VeganEarth she never wanted to be core group president but always wanted to be a guiding influence, for decades the soul of the group. As a programmer for the monthly potlucks she even
found internationally known speakers. (Many members remember, for example, the talk by Howard Lyman, a.k.a. “The Mad Cowboy,” who
influenced Oprah Winfrey to give up eating meat and so advocate the diet change on her TV program, prompting the meat and dairy industry to sue her, with the result that she was never again able to mention giving up eating animals.)
One of the things about Mary Ann which was very noticeable when one met her was her empathy for the poor and downtrodden. She herself lived in low income housing and tried to help her neighbors, especially the children, as much as she could. For example, every year she collected hundreds of books to give to the children. She was a pen pal to
numerous prisoners, some on death row. She was active in such groups as Justice Watch, Contact Center, Nuke Watch, Peace Works, Inter-
Community Peace and Justice Center and EarthSave/VeganEarth.
Amid all this activity and illness Mary Ann was not content solely to foster the ideas of others in the peace and justice community. She read and studied and meditated and came to some firm conclusions of her own. One of her main theses was about nutrition. She was firmly convinced that what we eat affects not only physical health but also
psychological health, notably tendencies toward violence, depression and stress. She tried to get this message taught and understood, especially among the poor. To exemplify her concern about nutrition she fed anyone who came to her house and offered nutritional counseling and vegetarian cooking classes to anyone interested. She also sought solutions to the difficulty of everyone's having a good diet. Another thesis which Mary Ann taught was about the community of all beings. She was actively aware of the community of life in which we all share and she saw that we humans are just a part of a wider community with none higher nor lower. She cherished the diversity of life and had a meaningful appreciation of it; this led her to a deep compassion for all beings. In her later years Mary Ann saw the interconnected animal-human-earth movement is the most exciting development happening on the planet. For the last
weeks of her life, along with her paintings, Mary Ann had a Vegan Earth Day 2019 poster on her wall of her room in Cedar Village. I have to believe she recognized in it a kind of fulfillment of her own legacy in educating so many people about the role of plant-based eating in sustaining the planet and all life on it.
Here is a small paragraph of writing by Mary Ann that speaks more eloquently than I can about her beliefs and feeling.
THE GARDEN: by Mary Ann Lederer
One day in late spring my friends lifted me from my wheelchair and set me in my vegetable garden. Usually they do all the gardening for me. As I sat with my arms near elbow deep in soil, a great spirit took hold my hands and pulled me close, injecting me with life force, connecting me with all humanityand to all life forms. I could hear the earth calling
me to care for every living and natural thing, every leaf and herb, insect and rock. That day I think I first loved insects, and maybe I needed to love insects in order to love humankind all the more. How incredibly unique and in balance is Nature when left alone. What power the earth holds for us who let it. How wonderful it is to rub the hands in soil. There is magic in the soil!

obama garden

MARY ANN's 2011 SPEECH and 12 Principals of Health

The July 2011 potluck party was one of the best in our history. If you missed Mary Ann's birthday speech you can read it below.

Mary Ann's 70th Birthday
Celebrating 70 – Healthy Food and Lifestyle for Survival

by Mary Ann Lederer

It hasn't’t been easy for me to get to 70, so I’m celebrating.  Thirty-five years ago I was shot in the back.  I was 35 at the time, so this September will be a turning point when I will have spent half my life paralyzed.  And this July I turned 70.  So I’m celebrating.

When I was shot 35 years ago, I had a near death experience, was in a coma and then woke up.  I was soon asking myself some questions which I’m told are the questions most women ask when they have been severely injured.  Who will care about me now?  Who will love me?  Who will be there for me when I need help?  It was very scary the not knowing.  But then I went through wonderful physical therapy and learned to take care of myself.

 And in spite of the horror of my situation, this has turned out to be an amazing – sometimes even miraculous – 35 years.

 The first five years in the wheelchair were actually fun for me– sort of an enjoyable athletic event.  I learned to jump curbs and dance on my back wheels.  I took up painting as a hobby.  However, by the sixth year my health began to deteriorate.

 By the tenth year – that was twenty-five years ago – I could barely sneeze without breaking a rib.  My hip broke, my leg broke, most of my ribs broke and my spine began to bend.  I could barely sit up any more.  Eventually breathing became difficult.  I wrote a will and prepared to die. I consulted many medical doctors, but they could figure out nothing.  I sought help whenever I could and finally pleaded for my life, shouted, screamed, begged, cried and prayed.

 Then miraculously I met Dr. Irene Barbasch, naturopath, osteopath and chiropractor, who taught me how to turn much of my health around.   For many years Dr. Irene Barbasch was involved in the Natural Hygiene Movement.  She was a friend of many of the great nutrition writers of the times such as Ann Wigmore, Paul Bragg, Paavo Airola, Bernard Jensen, and possibly Max Gerson.  Her approach to health is now practiced at the Hippocrates Institute, Hallelujah Acres, and many more.  She believed that her job as a doctor was to teach her patients how to be their own doctor. 


 One of the first things she did (something all doctors ought to do) was to have me write down everything I ate.  In fact she asked me to write down everything I put in my mouth, supplements, prescription and over the counter drugs, etc.  And she had me write down how I felt periodically throughout each day.  And she wanted a detailed description of bowel movements. Since the majority of health problems are probably caused by what people put in their mouths, those doctors who don’t ask about this will inevitably not find out what is actually wrong.  These doctors may mask the symptoms with drugs causing further problems later on.

 Dr. Barbasch on the other hand spent a great deal of time searching for answers, although in my case she discovered many of the causes of my problems very quickly.  Within 6 weeks to 6 months I was back out driving around resuming my life much as it had been.  That was 25 years ago.  For the next 20 years she taught me by phone (for hours every week) and by weekly visits.  She taught me as much as she could to prepare me to take care of myself.  She died 22 years from the day that we met.

 Once my health was stabilized I became involved with EarthSave Cincinnati, now called VeganEarth.  Part of my purpose was to learn about all the things I didn’t know -- about animals, environment and health.  But part of my purpose was to share with people what I had learned from Dr. Barbasch.  I have been involved in planning over 140 programs with potlucks over the last 12 years.

 Dr. Barbasch taught me principles for healthy eating and living.  I would like to share some of these with you.  (See chart on the wall.)

 Principle #1:  Eat from the garden.  The less time that passes from when the food is picked until it is eaten the better.  Food quickly loses its potency.  Once corporations get hold of it, it becomes of very little value.  According to Jack Lelane, “If man made it, don’t eat it.”

 So early in my knowing Dr. Barbasch I got the idea that I needed my own vegetable garden.  One day I was sitting in the New World Food Shop.  A woman – I don’t remember her name – sat down with me.  I told her I wanted my own garden.  She took out a pen and paper and wrote down a name and phone number.  “Call this man,” she said.  “He will build you a garden.”  So the next morning I called Gordon Maham. We talked for an hour.  A half an hour after we hung up, I heard a noise at my front window where I thought a garden could possibly be.  It was Gordon.  For the next 5 to 10 years he built me a vegetable garden every spring, summer and fall.  When Gordon stopped doing the garden, Cathy Hale, Karen Arnett and others continued it for 10 to 15 more years.  Then Nicholas and now Mona. And for many years Bill Lipsky has provided starter plants so that I am eating from my garden much sooner than had I waited for the seeds to produce.  I have had a beautiful delicious garden again this year.  I thank you, wonderful gardeners! (Oh and thank you Chico.) (And Alan Weiner for compost)

 Principle #2: According to Dr. Barbasch all illness is toxicity or deficiency or both.  The Standard American Diet – SAD – is poison.  It’s both toxic and deficient.  There is no avoiding health disasters if you eat this way.  And unfortunately when most people get sick, instead of discarding the Standard American Diet, they go to doctors and get toxic drugs which add toxicity to an already toxic situation.    You can’t solve toxicity with more toxicity.  The drugs suppress symptoms only temporarily and then more health problems are inevitable.  Instead of drugs, upgrade your diet.

 Principle #3: Dr. Barbasch categorized health problems as acute and chronic.  Acute problems include about anything that is discharging toxins, such as colds, fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.  She called these ‘healing crises.’  I remember the first time I got a high fever, over 102 degrees.  She was so happy. “Children get high fevers.  Shows vitality,” she said.  It was a good sign. 

According to Dr. Barbasch, the medical field specializes in using drugs to suppress acute problems or healing crises, and this causes the problems to become chronic.  Cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, allergies, etc. would fall under chronic problems.

 Principle #4:  Eat whole foods. 

 Principle #5: Eat as organic as possible.

 Principle #6: Eat mostly raw foods.  Raw foods are cleansing, cooked foods are building but raw are building too.  Because of the amount of illness in our society from toxic, filthy food, eating the most cleansing diet possible seems to me a real good idea.  Raw foods have more oxygen.  Cancer cannot live in oxygen.  The Standard American Diet is causing terrible oxygen deficiencies.  Also raw foods have more water, which is good for cleansing.  Raw foodists will tell you that cooking kills enzymes, an important point to consider.  If you want to feel as alive as possible, eat living foods.

 Principle #7: Fasting is Nature’s great cleanser.  Cats do it.  Dogs do it.  Animals don’t eat when they’re sick.   We can learn a lot from them.  Fasting gives the body a chance to rest.  Every time I experienced a healing crisis – fevers, colds, etc. – Dr. Barbasch put me on a fast.  That made good use of the healing crises.  It always worked.  I always got better and was much improved for having fasted.

 Dr. Barbasch considered fasting to be scientific.  You need to study it.  If you’re real toxic, a water only fast will be too much for you.  When you drink only water, the toxins in your body go into the blood stream and out the kidneys.  This can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.  There are places around the country where people pay a lot of money to be fasted.  If you do it right, it works and you get healthier than ever.

 Principle #8: Juicing.  You can supplement your meals with powerful fresh juices.  Or you can use juicing as a milder fast.  If you want a milder fast, a slower cleansing, stop eating and drink fresh raw juices.  Bottled juices are not any healthier than any other processed corporate concoctions.

Principle #9: Sprouting is a simple easy way to grow living foods indoors all year long.

Principle #10: Drink lots of water.

 Principle #11: Chew your food a lot.

 Principle #12: Edible wild foods are a powerful and free source of nutrients.

 Finally, there is a raging debate about whether to be vegan for health or vegan for animals.  Here is my position.  I think we should be vegan for animals.  The unprecedented cruelty against animals necessitates it.  However, people also need to eat for health.  Eating animals is toxic to human health, but eliminating animal foods from the diet while continuing to eat poisonous, unhealthy highly processed vegetables and fruits just doesn’t make sense.  Eventually it will take the joy out of life.

 If you’re afraid that your health will decline if you give up animal products, then simply upgrade your diet.  All of us can periodically upgrade our diets.   None of us are perfect. Just follow Dr. Barbasch’s principles.

 Now nobody here today is an unkind person.  None of us would deliberately inflict hideous suffering and cruelty on any being whether human or not human.  The cruelty of the worst kings, queens and tsars of history as well as all the psychopathic murderers pales in comparison to the suffering our animal industry creates.

 Watch the undercover videos taken by Mercy for Animals.  These are the rule, not the exception.  And please don’t say, “I can’t watch that,” and then continue on your merry way.  If you’re eating animals, you’re endorsing an industry which is psychopathic. And you’re participating in psychopathic cruelty.  Come on. We’re all too decent to behave like that.

 There isn’t enough room on the planet to raise animals humanely and feed the numbers of people who think they need to eat them.  If there were such a thing as truly humane animal agriculture, then we would need a class system just to decide who qualifies to eat them.

 What we do need badly is a critical mass of vegans.  In all other progressive social movements, once a critical mass of people has made the shift, change accelerates with increasing velocity.  It is my dream that we get to this point as quickly as possible and cease to cause such suffering to animals.

 Many people have helped me get to age 70.  In fact before I became a paraplegic 35 years ago, I had no idea how helpful people can be.  Now I live in a state of gratitude and awe for those who jump out and help others when they are needed.  Many of those who helped me did it as though it were a privilege for them.  To those people I am deeply grateful. And to those who helped me, I thank you for providing me with the most important of life saving emotions.  You have given me gratitude and awe.

I thank you.






























The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
-Mahatma Ghandi

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
-Albert Einstein

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings we are still savages.
-Thomas Edison

* Factory Farm animals * Unseen they suffer, Unheard they cry, In agony they linger, In loneliness they die.



VeganEarth is a Cincinnati, OH based all volunteer nonprofit dedicated to teach and supports ways to eat and live that are healthful, sustainable, and compassionate toward animals, people and the earth.

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