My inner monologue has changed from “I can’t wait” to “I can’t believe it’s over!” Or maybe… “I can’t wait until the next one in 2013…”
To really sum it up, this weekend’s Vida Vegan Con was an incredible and inspirational experience. The organizers (and the other volunteers!) did such an amazing job bringing all of us together and making it all happen.
It was a whirlwind of vegan activity. Surrounded by 200+ vegans at breakfast and lunch was exciting and nearly unbelievable. The speakers were fantastic, the food at the conference and the surrounding area was delicious (I’m looking at you HomeGrown Smoker) and I feel like I’m leaving with both a renewed excitement about blogging and a sense of joy at the real life connections I made with the people that attended. I left with a new list of people to follow on twitter and countless new rss feeds to add to my regular google reader rotation.
After breakfast I started day one slowly, spending most of my morning trying to figure out how to get back to Toronto within a reasonable time frame, but I did catch the end of the nutrition panel with Wendy Gabbe Day, Bryanna Clark Grogan, Gena Hamshaw, and Ginny Messina. These are some of the people I’ve been following and reading on and off the net, in some cases for years. The works of Bryanna Clark Grogen have frequently appeared in my cookbook collection (as well as my mom’s), so it was really cool to see the face behind all those recipes I’ve prepared in the past, and now I have new blogs and cookbooks to seek out!
Then it was time for another talk I was really looking forward to. The Accidental Journalist with Vegan on the Move Gabrielle Pope, Vegtastic Voyage(r) Michelle Truty, and Vegan Moxie, Dawn Quinn. They offered great tips and tricks, advice and suggestions for developing style and voice, common spelling and grammar issues, as well as info on navigating into other avenues like writing for magazines/books (Query Letters are Important!) They also mentioned something I’m terrible at – transition sentences between paragraphs.
Finally, it was time for lunch, a northwest picnic consisting of a big slab of bbq tempeh, roasted veggies, orzo salad, kale, other salads and spreads, raw vegetables, pesto potato salad, and coconut bliss bars for dessert. I went back for more once (or twice) especially the orzo salad and pesto potato salad (and more kale… because who doesn’t like kale). Yum.
After our colourful Northwest Picnic lunch, I went to another panel I was looking forward to (who am I kidding, I was looking forward to all of them): Vegan Parents! With the hilarious Ben Grossblatt (of Suicide Food), MamaPea Sarah Metheny, Sayward Rebhal, aka Bonzai Aphrodite, and Joanna Vaught, it was a fun group. I was kind of hoping for more talk about blended veg/omni families, but I know that was outside the experience of most of the panelists. Even though I’m not pregnant, or planning on it anytime soon, I’m looking forward to checking out The Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide (by Sayward Rebhal) because it sounds like a potentially awesome resource.
I was gifted a copy (thank you!) of Sarah Metheny’s new cookbook Peas and Thank You this weekend (& I do intend on reviewing it properly when I get the chance to cook again) but flipping through and reading the stories about her kids made me laugh out loud (several times) on the MAX and also miss 5 stops. Which I take as a good sign. So it was nice to see the real person behind the book&blog. I really liked her point about not making her daughters feel self conscious about how they eat, or labeling foods as “good” or “bad”. Especially since we all get bombarded with messages like that enough already.
The main thing I took away from this talk is that as with most things involving children and parenting, you have to be reasonably flexible and have as much information as possible (finding a pediatrician on your side doesn’t hurt either.) Not everyone is going to like your parenting style, or how you raise/feed your children, vegan or otherwise. Ultimately, the best defense is raising healthy happy children!
That night was the Galarama, food, fun, entertainment, dancing, and a silent auction benefiting the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. I missed out on trying the pizza from Sizzle Pie, but I did fill up a waffle cone bowl of Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss and a glass of The Vegan red Wine. Possibly related to the aforementioned wine, I worked up the courage to make a Fliptography flipbook, since I knew I’d want one no matter how silly I looked in it. (And by the way, I totally looked silly, and I still love it.)
I’m sure I’ll get to a day two recap soon, but I’m still thinking about it all. I miss it already!