This Saturday, September 20, was the DCVegFest, an all vegan event hosted by Compassion over Killing, featuring speakers, food samples, as well as local wellness businesses and organizations. This event was similar to the VeggieFest I attended in Chicago. However, this event was a little more exciting for me, as it was in my hometown, Washington, DC, and I can actually support the local businesses and organizations I discovered at this event!
This was my first time attending this event, so I decided to volunteer for this event as well and connect with other local veggie-minded people. I started off bright and early at the “Barking Lot” where VeganMartha and I put together bags of V-Dog, Vegan Dog Food samples, and waited for the canine attendants to stop by for some water, play with some chew toys, and take a dip in the doggie pool.
On my break between volunteer shifts, I headed over to Bryant Terry’s lecture and food demo. Terry is the author of Afro-Vegan, a vegan cookbook featuring the flavors and traditions of African, Caribbean, and Southern style cooking. I really enjoyed Terry’s commentary on the lack of diversity in the vegan movement, as it is typically seen as a white-suburban thing to do in America. He emphasized the need for providing and educating people of lower class, and often of color, on health, and vegan issues, because everyone deserves to be healthy and live a full life.
This is an important issue for me as well, as I often hear remarks about how expensive it is to be vegan, and how many people feel that it is not accessible to them. To me, veganism has revolutionized my heath, and I believe that us vegans and vegetarians have a commitment to inform and educate others to make lifestyle changes. Found on my long mental list of ideas to help out in the world, is a non-profit based in DC teaching homeless people how to cook vegetarian, and providing them with vegetarian meals, because it’s cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment. If you read this Bryant Terry, I think this is a project for you and me…. (or anyone else interested…)
After this, I had my first lunch of the day at Ape Man Foods, which is a raw foods company serving their food in a few locations in D.C., and Maryland Whole Foods stores. I had their raw vegan eggplant BLT, which was AMAZING! I want more Ape Man!
Later, I volunteered at the V-Dog tent, informing attendants of the product. I also learned that dogs are ominvores, and are able to sustain a vegan diet. Many attendants were very interested in this product, as they informed the other volunteers and I that the only meat in their house currently was for their dogs. Some people mentioned they would like to have a dog, but didn’t feel right purchasing meat based products for their dogs. This was interesting feedback; as I do not have a dog and hadn’t thought of these vegan dilemma’s before. Several people also mentioned that their dog already eats V-Dog, and their health was better for it. So, I am happy to know that there is a vegan dog food out there, and that dogs can thrive on, based on plant protein sources.
I met some new, local, vegan friends, Eric an Tina, while volunteering, which made this event even better! And yes, he tried the dog food, it tastes like peas apparently, in case you were wondering.
Following my volunteer shifts, my parents arrived at the event. By this point we were all pretty hungry, so we went over to The Randy Radish food truck where I ordered a delicious quinoa salad. And my parents tried the egg rolls, and gyro made with Beyond Meat products.
After this, we walked around the festival where I learned about a few new products and organizations.
Soom Tahini: Soom tahini, and chocolate tahini is made from Ethiopian White Sesame Seeds, which creates a creamy, less bitter tahini that doesn’t separate, and is great for savory and sweet dishes. I thought the chocolate tahini was a great vegan nutella alternative. I will be ordering one of each for myself!
Marcella Kriebel is the artist behind these awesome veggie drawings. I really liked how bright her work was, and I especially enjoyed the Map of D.C., with public gardens marked. One thing I really like about the city is that it is full of green space, and vibrant gardens, and her drawing really illustrated that concept. I think a few of her fruits and veggie pics would be perfect in my kitchen!
The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine sponsored these fun T-Shirts. They are a D.C. based non-profit organization founded in 1985, who promote a vegan diet, responsible preventative medicine, and support alternatives to animal testing in the medical field.
Finishing up, I ran into an acquaintance and talked to him over a juice from Kephra’s Raw Food and Juice Bar. The juice was fresh pressed deliciousness, and the food looked awesome too! I will be trying this place in D.C. sooner rather than later.
Here are some other photos from the event:
This was the line for Woodland’s Vegan Bistro, WOW!
The sign in front of Green Earth Travel Company.
And shout-outs to these fine organizations:
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps – A company offering all natural, fair trade soaps, which donates many of their resources to fight for the labeling of GMOs.
Science of Spirituality – This organization hosted the Chicago VeggieFest, and it was nice to see them back representing their D.C. location. They offer free meditation classes as well!
Vegan Treats Bakery – The line for this place was so long, and for good reason, their vegan chocolates are exquisite.
I really enjoyed this event overall, and hope that next year, or in the near future, VegFest could even be two days, instead of one! There was so much to see and do at this event, I just couldn’t see it all! I would have loved to see more speakers, even some well-known vegan locals? (Rep. Kucinich, and Elizabeth Kucinich, I am looking at you two). Also, where were the yoga studios? Let’s do some free yoga classes next year, or maybe some meditation seminars? But, overall, the turnout for this event was quite large, considering there is a big interest in vegetarianism and veganism in DC, and I look forward to more events like this in the DC area, and can’t wait for DC VegFest 2015! And I would like to give another big thank you to Compassion over Killing for putting this all together!