Report On The First Ever Twin Cities Veg Fest
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With our first-ever Twin Cities Veg Fest, we wanted to share with people where their food comes from, how to be a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and why being compassionate benefits everyone. We're happy to report that it was an overwhelming success!
Note: If you attended Twin Cities Veg Fest, we want to hear your feedback! Please take a moment to complete our online survey.
About 1200 people attended Twin Cities Veg Fest throughout the day. Before the doors opened, there was lots of energy in the air as a huge line formed. The first two hundred guests were rewarded with treats from Alternative Baking Company, Bumblebar, and Mary's Gone Crackers. In all, 1000 people got a swag bag filled with veg-friendly information and coupons.
Inside the exhibitor hall, guests had tons of tasty vegan food to sample; including Field Roast Frankfurters, Upton's Naturals' sandwiches and wraps, Vegan Pockets' various products, Tofurky chorizo, and Primal Strips vegan jerky. Those with a sweet tooth found samples ofEqual Exchange chocolate, Bee-Free Honee, Dandies marshmallows and lots of different kinds of cookies spread out among the exhibitor booths! Peace Coffee offered samples of their locally roasted coffee and Blue Diamond was sampling their chocolate almond milk.
Folks new to vegan food remarked about how delicious the samples were and how glad they were that they had a chance to sample it. Several omnivores told us they'd seek out vegetarian and vegan options because they enjoyed the samples. Vegetarians and vegans talked about how fantastic it was to go to a festival where they could try all the food!
For those whose appetites demanded more than samples, our three food vendors had a wonderful array of food to choose from. Asase Yaa served up delicious Ghanaian food, including plantains and black-eyed peas and curried mock duck sweet potato stew. Pure Market Express served a number of innovative raw food options like lasagna and boston cream pie. Seward Cafe served pesto tofu sandwiches, pasta salads, and iced coffee and tea. Business at the food vendor tables was boomingâ - a couple of the food vendors had sold out of food by the end of the day! Rebecca from Pure Market Express remarked that this was a fantastic festival to be part of and Ben from Seward Cafe reported that the event was a great way to get the word out about Seward Cafe's vegetarian and vegan options!
Once people's bellies were full, there was still lots to see with nearly 40 exhibitors. From animal advocacy groups like Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals, and Action for Animals to veg-friendly businesses like A Frame Forward photography and several stores offering animal-friendly merchandise, guests got a feel for how they could be compassionate through action as citizens and consumers. Move2Veg's booth offered vegan nutrition information. There was something for everyone!
At Compassionate Action for Animals' booth, guests learned more about the organization that put on the first-ever Twin Cities Veg Fest. And, thanks to VegFund, we were able to pay people a dollar to watch a short video which shows the troubling realities of factory farming. Around 70 people learned from these videos about the suffering billions of animals endure each year in the food industry.
In addition to the exhibitor hall, Twin Cities Veg Fest featured a number of educational talks on compassionate actions for animals. Dave Rolsky discussed strategies for effective animal activism and Scott Heiser talked about animals and the law. Erica Meier gave an informative introductory talk titled "Vegetarian Eating 101: Building a kinder, cleaner, and healthier world" and Mark Berkson shed light on the role of animals in a varitery of religious traditions. Suzy Sorenson laid out the important components of a healthy vegan diet and Shannon Kimball gave evidence of the power of humane education programs. The talks were well attended and they sparked lots of questions and conversations!
It was great to see so many families enjoying the event. Just across from the speaker room we set aside a special area for kids. This was a place outfitted with a play set, coloring books, crayons, and even vegan cupcakes ready to be decorated. Of course, kids got to eat their cupcakes once they were done decorating them!
Throughout the day guests remarked about how much fun they were having, how friendly and welcoming everyone was, and what a sense of community the Twin Cities Veg Fest had. The first-ever Twin Cities Veg Fest exceeded our expectations and we're looking forward to doing it next year!
We hope to see you there!
We'd like to thank our Twin Cities Veg Fest sponsors once again for their support of the festival. This even wouldn't have been possible without their generous support.
Official Media Sponsor
City Pages is the largest, most-read weekly in the Twin Cities. It is available free to readers in over 1,700 locations throughout the metro area. 80,000 copies of the paper are distributed in stores, office buildings, clubs, restaurants, outdoor boxes, campuses and other high traffic locations.
VegFund empowers vegan activists worldwide by funding outreach activities that inspire people to choose and maintain a vegan lifestyle. Since its inception in 2009, VegFund has supported more than 1,700 vegan outreach projects. Filling a much-needed niche in the vegan movement, VegFund embraces new ideas and continues to evolve in an effort to support effective outreach. Please be sure to visit www.vegfund.org to learn more about how you can get involved.
AM950 is a locally-owned radio station airing progressive talk including national talkers Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann. Local programming includes The Morning Grind with Matt McNeil; the Nancy Nelson Show and the Jack Rice Show. Weekend programming includes Food Freedom Radio; Wake Up Call; Make a Difference; Reflections of New Minnesotans and the Twin Cities Real Estate Show.
Compassion Over Killing
Working to end animal abuse since 1995, Compassion Over Killing (COK) exposes cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for us all.
A Frame Forward Photography
Jackson Tyler Eddy, owner of A Frame Forward Photography is a Photographic Artist based here in the Twin Cities. Jackson is the highest rated "green" photographer in Minnesota, creating and delivering ultra-premium, eco-friendly, pieces of art. Jackson and A Frame Forward specialize in Wedding & Lifestyle Portrait work, and love to travel. Jackson blends fine art & photojournalism, with a little bit of fun. Like a hand-picked organic apple, his images are crisp, clean, and fresh. Jackson gravitates towards bold colors, unique style, creativity, and offers a fresh perspective. On a personal level, Jackson is also a long time vegetarian and is honored to be a part of the first annual TC Veg Fest.
Mercy for Animals
Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals, and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.
Action for Animals
Action for Animals is an educational organization that works to promote positive change in the ways people view and treat animals. Because every animal has the right to live his or her life free from oppression and exploitation, AFA promotes a vegan diet and lifestyle - not using animals for food, clothing, entertainment, research, trade, or any other objectifying purpose - and vegan activism as the best way to take action for animals.
Equal Exchange is the 100% employee owned company that pioneered working with small farmer coffee co-ops way back in 1986. We partner with farmer co-ops as we believe that growers who own their own land and work together can gain real leverage in the marketplace and have the best chance at creating sustainable communities. We model our own business as a co-op as well. Every worker-owner has 1 vote in electing our Board, we have a 4 to 1 pay ratio and if there are profits at the end of the year, we share them equally. We started with coffee and we continue to find new powerful ways to partner with small farmers in chocolate, tea, bananas and more.
Mary's Gone Crackers
Mary's Cookies are straight from the heart of a mother to a son who could not eat gluten. All Mary's Gone Crackers products - Cookies, Pretzels and Crackers began as healthy opportunities for gluten free food to be full of nutrition and flavor. All ingredients are Organic and Mary's products have always been Vegan. Feel good serving them to your entire family, with love from Mary. Conscious Eating: Mary's Gone Crackers.
Move2Veg provides nutrition counseling with a focus on plant-based eating and can help you to get started or fine tune your eating habits to optimize nutritional health!
A new 100% Vegan Product line has been created to tantalize your taste buds. As Vegans, Vegetarians and health conscience consumers, you have a choice of four unique flavors; Back to Our Roots, Chipotle Fiesta, Orient Express and Taste of Italy. Each 100% recyclable package contains two 5-ounce pockets that are stuffed with flavorful vegetables and robust spices; providing a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, protein, iron and other key nutrients. We pre-baked and flash froze them to lock in each individual and distinctive flavor; which makes them a healthy, portable meal or snack for you and your family's busy lives.
Friends of Veg Fest
- Susan Gretz and Michael Chutich
- Pat Tullo
The first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest could only happen with the generous help of volunteers, exhibitors, and speakers!
We held our first ever Twin Cities Veg Fest on Saturday, July 14. It was a smashing success!
Thanks to the exhibitors for providing great vegan food and resources:
- A Frame Forward Photography
- Action for Animals
- Alternative Baking Company
- Asasa Yaa
- Bee-Free Honee
- Bitter Roots
- Boneshaker Books
- Bumble Bar
- Captured by Brooke Photography
- Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
- Clean Water Action
- Compassion Over Killing
- Compassionate Action for Animals
- Conference Connections Bookstore
- Earthsave Twin Cities
- Ecology Democracy Network
- Equal Exchange
- Ethique Nouveau
- Field Roast
- Happy Animals
- The Hub Bike Co-op
- Introspective Comics
- Kojic Art
- Koru Street
- Mary's Gone Crackers
- Mercy for Animals
- Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection
- Mississippi Market
- Peace Coffee
- Peanut Butter & Co.
- Planted for Life
- Primal Strips
- Pure Market Express
- Roosterhouse Ideas
- Seward Cafe
- Seward Co-op
- Sierra Club
- Turtle Island Foods
- Upton's Naturals
- Vegan Honeymoons
- Vegan Pockets
- Vegan Sailing
- Vegetarian Resource Group
Thanks to the 50 volunteers that helped out on the day of, put up posters, stuffed bags, and told their friends about the festival!
We couldn't have done it without the generous support of our sponsors.
Thanks to Lisa Mabley, Heidi Prenevost, and Nicole Riner for designing our print and online materials.
Finally, thanks to the committee who planned this event:
- Brita Bengtson - Advertising Guru
- Amber Buening - Whip Cracker (Volunteers)
- Jeff Johnson - The Rain Maker (Sponsorship)
- Shannon Kimball - Exhibitor Logistician
- Unny Nambudiripad - CAA Executive Director
- EG Nelson - Jill of All Trades
- David Rolsky - Extreme Delegator (Committee Chair)
- Suzy Sorensen - Raffle Wrangler and Speaker to Speakers
- Pat Tullo - Legal Eagle and Speaker to Speakers
Photo by A Frame Forward.