Volunteer Shout-Out: 2019 Festival Planning Committee – Part 5

Dedication, creative vision, and passion. The Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee is short on none, and it shows—our festival has grown to be the largest Veg Fest in the Midwest, attracting over 9,000 attendees in 2018.

Some members are serving on the committee for the first time, while others have returned to help make this year’s festival the biggest and best yet and they can’t wait for you to experience it. This week, meet part of the team behind this year’s festival.

Jodi Miller Gruhn

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I work on social strategy and spreading the word about Twin Cities Veg Fest. My goal this year is to increase engagement on the festival social media channels by delivering interesting content and experimenting to see what drives engagement.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I’d been following CAA ongoings and work for years and had attended the festival in the past. I often felt the tug to get involved and I finally jumped in last year! 

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

What I love most about the festival is seeing in real time just how much plant-based has caught on. People are incredibly curious to learn more and try new foods—they are genuinely excited to be there! I also love that the festival embraces people wherever they are and for whatever the reason is that fuels their interest in the festival.

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I had been vegetarian for many years and had never really thought I’d go fully plant-based. Quite honestly what drew me to becoming 100% plant-based was social media. Social media brought me information that had always been accessible, but delivered it directly to me. I could no longer deny or ignore the truths that were presented to me each time I checked my feed. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

Life has been over taken by the purchase and slow renovation of a big mid-century modern house “with potential.” My vision for this home is to make it a hub for beautiful plant-based dinner parties and events with the goal of making plant-based more accessible to my amazing network of human beings.

Maggie Simmons

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the Instagram Coordinator!

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

Got involved with CAA in 2017 when I first moved to Minnesota and my first activity was handing out Twin Cities Veg Fest fliers with Sarah Matanah!

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of the festival is seeing everyone enjoying and loving all different kinds of vegan food. 

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I am drawn to the veg lifestyle out of the desire to cause the least amount of harm possible to animals and the planet. 

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

I am the Communications and Marketing Associate for KIPP Minnesota, a charter school region. I enjoy running, swimming, reading, cooking, and playing with my PUPPY!

Dyne Stephenson

What’s your role on the festival planning committee?

I am the Food Vendor Coordinator. I have been focusing on sending out recruitment e-mails to past and possible new vendors, answering questions, etc. We aimed to recruit more minority-owned food vendors this year.

How did you get involved with Twin Cities Veg Fest?  

I have been involved with CAA since 2013 after having Bridges of Respect speak to my high school students. After volunteering for a number of CAA activities, I volunteered as the Speaker Coordinator for the Twin Cities Veg Fest committee in 2017. The last two years I have been the Food Vendor Coordinator on the committee.

If you’ve been or helped organize before, what is your favorite part of the festival and what, if anything, is going to be different this year? 

My favorite part of Twin Cities Veg Fest has always been the food choices. It was very satisfying last year to be a part of the food vendor recruitment and then to see all the vendors at Harriet Island. I’m looking forward to seeing it all again but in even greater numbers this year.

What (or who) drew you to living a veg lifestyle?

I met my lovely wife-to-be, Roberta, in 1989 and she was vegetarian. A big influence but what pushed me over the edge was when we went to see Alex Pacheco, co-founder of PETA, speak in Colorado 28 years ago and he had a slide show. I went vegan that night. The biggest part for me has always been not participating in animal mistreatment, torture, and death, and trying to influence others to feel the same.  

When you’re not working on planning the festival, what are you up to?  

I am a Social Studies and Personal Finance teacher at an alternative school in the Robbinsdale School District. I have two sons, Nations (24) and Henry (16). I enjoy tennis, disc golf, reading, walking, cycling, kayaking, playing guitar, and hanging with Roberta, Henry, and my three cat companions.

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Twin Cities Veg Fest is our biggest event of the year, and we need lots of enthusiastic volunteers to help make it a success. Sign up here to be a volunteer and help make this awesome vegan Minnesota get together happen!

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Vegan Recipe Club at East Lake Library

Friday, September 20, 2019 - Sunday, October 20, 2019

Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Twin Cities Veg Fest Data Entry Party!