It was an exciting week in Johnston, PA reuniting with vegan friends from across the country, meeting Facebook friends in person, and making new friends everywhere I went. This truly feels like a family reunion of like-minded people, and it's always inspiring to know we are all connected.
Dr. Ted Barnett speaking about food politics and the medical industry
The speakers were fabulous, and as always I left with a million ideas I can't wait to implement right here at home. Some of the highlights included many moving presentations, including those by Brenda Davis, RD, who shared her vegan story that almost ended her career but instead opened up a whole new world
The inspiring Brenda Davis
"I am a vegan dietician because I want to help people succeed brilliantly in being vegan. I have an abiding commitment to human decency and social justice... Indifference is NOT an option."
Victoria Moran, who gave a Broadway-worthy performance about becoming a "Main Street Vegan," Harold Brown leaving the audience choked up from his personal experience being raised on a cattle farm, and Dr. Ron Weiss who sold his medical practice to buy an organic farm and prescribe fruits and veggies to his patients, and Dr. Richard Oppenlander who gets more urgent each year describing how to be "Climate Smart" and reverse the catastrophic path humans are on.
James Laveck, co-founder of Tribe of Heart, introduced the concept of transformational nonviolence, which sees the connection among various social justice movements throughout history. He referred to moving stories of Frederick Douglass and other former slaves who overcame their circumstances through determination and perseverance.
James Laveck, introducing the concept of transformational nonviolence
This year's inductee into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame was Miyoko Schinner. Recipients are chosen for their dedication to the vegan movement, advancement of veganism in society, and their animal activism. We learned about Miyoko's humble beginnings as a pastry chef delivering cakes by bicycle in Tokyo to opening her own vegan restaurant in San Francisco, later selling it, and opening her fabulous vegan cheese company.
I was pleased to not only have my proposal for a presentation accepted, but also to be invited to give a cooking demonstration this year. My presentation "Cooking Vegan for Nonvegan Family and Friends" was well-received and followed with a lively discussion of personal examples of successes and tips for making familiar foods fabulous.
I had a ton of fun working with the kitchen crew at Summerfest to prep for my "Vegan Picnic" cooking demo. The class flew by and everyone raved about the food. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when people stopped me throughout the week to tell me how much they enjoyed the class and the recipes.
Throughout the week we gorged ourselves on three vegan meals a day prepared by Chef Mark Reinfeld and crew, along with afternoon and evening snacks including samples of Miyoko's cheese, and lots of fresh watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon.
If you've never been to Summerfest, I highly recommend attending next year. I've previously gone for just the weekend, but after attending the full week this year, I think I'm going to have to make that a habit. I hope to see you there!
early morning birdwatching