Monday, April 29, 2013

The Berkeley Vegan Earth Day -- A Review

Last Saturday, April 20, I volunteered with the third annual Berkeley Vegan Earth Day, where there were speakers, vendors, and a showing of the film Peaceable Kingdom.  Even though most of what I did was before the event, writing blog entries about the awesome vendors that were showcasing their vegan wares, I was still busy enough during it that I didn't get to see as much as I would have liked to have seen.  However, I did get to see Will Tuttle, because I'd bought my little sister a ticket and I wanted to make sure she really saw at least one speaker.

Will Tuttle, as many readers may know, is the author of The World Peace Diet, which, although I've never read it, I first heard of because Robin Quivers, the former Howard Stern co-host, cited it as her inspiration for becoming a vegan.  Then I heard him on Our Hen House and his name would come up in other ways, because you know how that goes -- once you've heard of something, it seems to pop up all over the place.

His speech was just as good as I could have hoped, and no doubt something that it was important for my sister to hear.  I want everyone to go vegan, I'm not shy about saying so, and nothing would make me happier than if my family would be among the forefront.  I have no doubt that this movement is growing, and that veganism and all its associated concerns are the key to, as Will Tuttle puts it, world peace.  I'm convinced that getting people to shift their thinking into a place where they understand that it is not acceptable to use any other being for our own purposes as though they belonged to us is the vital ingredient to all social justice movement.  This is not to mention that it would almost solve our global warming and other environmental problems, and it would no doubt solve our health care issues.

I was really glad that Will Tuttle's speech gave fair space to the issue of overfishing.  Although many vegans are beginning to talk more about the empty ocean, I get the feeling often that even vegans do not quite understand the severity of this crisis.  I'm glad that vegans are talking more about the fact that fish feel pain, and that is also important.  But just as many vegans will not use palm oil for sustainability reasons (I'm doing my very best to be one of those vegans, checking my soap, not getting Earth Balance, everything), I want fellow vegans to be a major part of spreading the word about fish and not only encouraging others to not eat them any longer, but getting it to be common knowledge that we need more marine protected areas, and we need them now.

The vendors were rad.  I wrote a blog post about Gnosis Chocolate (although, weirdly, they didn't actually show up, which is sad because I think they sound AMAZING and I want to support them!), Simplecare Products (Stephanie, the woman behind these products, secretly slipped me a free sample of the Daily Conditioning Oil at the event and, truly, it is so great and you should get some), Ellovi (you need, like, a tiny dab of Butter to moisturize e'rything), and The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (activists like them are vital!).  I also wrote this blog post about what can be expected at The Berkeley Vegan Earth Day.  If you want to read all that stuff I wrote, wow, thanks, you folks are the best.  There were so many other amazing vendors too.  Beyond Eggs was there, and WTF, their mayo tastes like mayo.  They had some chocolate chip cookies that I ate 1/4 of because I knew they'd go fast and they were the best ones I've tasted in, well, ever. 

I mean, what's really fun about these types of events is being out and open and celebratory about being vegan.  I'm not sure it does a lot in the way of converting people, but nevertheless, it's definitely fun to go to.  There was some of the best food there, I wanted to eat it all, but, actually, the volunteers were fed for free by Nature's Express and it was such good food that was free and I didn't get the chance to spend any money because, damn, free seitan wraps and some of the richest chocolate mousse I ever did eat.

Also, we got some free samples.  What?  Samples?  I KNOW.  SAMPLES ARE GREAT.  Everyone who attended got a bag of bean chips of some sort and also a large delicious unhealthy cookie.  I heard some sadness expressed about the calories but, know what?  Everyone ate them anyway because they were so freaking good.  I hear they're even better heated up, but I don't even want to think about that.  I wish I could remember the names of the companies who provided these, but it was a tad overwhelming, all the goodies.  The best goodie had to be the Sister Rivers Foods Parma.  We volunteers got to take a whole full-sized sample of this vegan parmesan. 

Because I had the Parma, I rushed to make this easy lasagna from Fat Free Vegan that I'd pinned on Pinterest!  When I was younger, I ate Kraft-brand parm cheese piled on top of any type of marinara sauce.  In fact, it was unimaginable without it to me.  When I began to eat vegan, at first, I bought some dairy-free parm (which I later realized is not actually vegan), but then I just stopped doing marinara recipes.  Eventually, though, I simply got over it.  Turns out, parm is really not necessary.  Still, it was super fun and tasty to put this delicious (better than cheese, in my opinion) vegan parm on the lasagna, which, according to my sister, was impressive in how much it tasted like "normal" lasagna.
I didn't cut this into a nice square because I'm freewheelin'
All in all, the Berkeley Vegan Earth Day was a good time, though next year, I think I may volunteer in a slightly different way so that I can take a greater part in hearing the speakers!  Boy oh boy would I have loved to have been able to hear Gene Baur (the founder of Farm Sanctuary) and see Peaceable Kingdom.  But it's OK, it was totally worth it just to have made acquaintance with fellow vegans who cared enough to volunteer.  In fact, one young woman had also moved from Pittsburgh and we knew some people in common, and one young man and I knew people in common from Phoenixville!  I mean WHOA, the world is small.  Sadly, especially the vegan world (all the people we knew in common are vegans), but we're going to grow this world, right folks?

1 comment:

  1. What a fun event! It looks like a great time. There's something really energizing about being around a lot of likeminded people.


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