Baseline of vegan awesomeness at Vida Vegan Con

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Another jam-packed day at Vida Vegan Con. I feel really good right now; very inspired by this creative group of vegans!

We started the day with a beautiful breakfast buffet (how’s that for some nice alliteration?) Chia pudding, pancakes with maple syrup, biscuits and gravy, tofu scramble, oh my. It was the kind of spread that makes you want to try just a little of everything—and you end up with an overflowing plate with about twice as much food as you usually eat. Anybody who knows me knows that I can put away a good amount of food for my size, and ordinarily, I get hungry every 20 minutes, no matter how much food I shovel in. However, today, I don’t think I’ve actually been hungry once since breakfast. Any vegan who has ever been to an ordinary conference knows that the only thing they can typically scrounge up for breakfast is possibly a plain bagel or toast, fruit, and coffee or tea without cream. And the lunch meal is even more grim. Being at a conference in which the experience is totally opposite from this is such a treat.

The keynote was delivered over breakfast, which was nice, because it was taking me a while to finish all of that food, and Laura Beck gave a funny but humble opening talk. Then we were off to the photography workshop. It was cramped, and a little less hands-on than I would have liked, but I did pick up a few food photography tips. {We also were able to record the session with the Zoom—albeit from the back—remains to be seen how today’s recordings turned out}. It was great to meet cookbook authors Isa Chandra MoskowitzTerry Hope Romero, and also Susan Voisin, who is the food photographer for a couple of Nava Atlas‘s cookbooks, including the upcoming Vegan Holiday Kitchen. {Want!} Susan gave me some photography tips and was so nice and down to earth. In fact, they all three were very friendly and approachable. It was also good to catch up with Wendy Gabbe Day (NW Veg wondergirl and author of Scatter Vegan Sweets).

The Podcasting panel was fantastic—a good mix of different personalities and podcast styles—we heard from Colleen Patrick Goudreau (Vegetarian Food For Thought), Jasmin Singer (Our Hen House), Webly Bowles (Stumptown Vegans), Erika Larson, and Jordan Pattern (Cosmopolitan Hour). {We were able to record the session up front, so it should be a good one.} I already enjoy all of these podcasts, except for Erika and Jordan’s, which I somehow have missed, and which egregious error I intend to remedy very soon. I’ve always especially liked Colleen’s podcast, which I’ve listened to for several years now, even before becoming vegan. It meant a lot to me to meet Colleen and find she is just as approachable in real life as she is in her podcasts and cookbooks. (I found Colleen later on and got a signed copy of Vegan’s Daily Companion, which makes me smile).

The rest of the day was spent on the Vegan Battle Royale game show / The Accidental Journalist panel, another fabulous buffet meal, and the Small Town, Represent! panel, which I liked very much because it gave us a chance to brainstorm with other activists from small towns. Colleen Patrick Goudreau topped off the day with her inspiring Planting Seeds of Compassion talk {we also recorded this talk, but from the middle of the room, so it remains to be seen if it’s audible). We also checked in with the VegFund folks, ran into journalist Grant Butler (who we interviewed earlier this year), I was able to say hi to Dietician Ginny Messina and let her know how much I appreciate Vegan for Life, and we interviewed That Pain in the Ass Vegan, who told us about how she won her trip to VVC!

It’s very late and we have another full day tomorrow, so the Vida Vegan Con Galarama and post Galarama vegan mini mall activities wrap-up will have to wait.

We made so many new contacts (and hopefully new friends) today. A lot of people were pretty star-struck, and I admit to some of that myself. The perks of a small conference are that the more well-known people are very accessible. The key is knowing and respecting that they are people just like you and me. But the best perk of this conference so far is just knowing that there is an implied baseline of vegan awesomeness in every person you meet. You already have that in common and you can jump-start any conversation from there.

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