Sunday, May 8, 2016

New Hampshire VegFest

It's vegfest season and I was happy to return to New Hampshire this weekend for my third time as a presenter at NH VegFest.  Attendance was regular and steady throughout the day, and I had a fabulous audience for debuting my new talk "Cooking Vegan for Nonvegan Family and Friends."  This is a topic that resonates with many of us.

Afterward I had some very touching conversations with people, including a couple who said this was their third time attending and they look forward to my talks every year (awwwww.....), a young woman who said she attended one of my talks and was inspired to start teaching inmates at a prison where she works how to make the vegan transition, a young man who bought my cookbook and said he refers to it ALL the time, and a woman who said that when I showed the slide "Main Course: Compassion" with a photo of Cesar Chavez and his dog, Boycott, who inspired him to become vegetarian, she almost cried.  I truly feel fortunate to be able to get to do what I do.

Thank you to everyone who attended and made this such a fun event.  Thank you also to Kathy DeRoches for all her hard work organizing the vegfest, the wonderful volunteers, vegan vendors and informative presenters, and Erica Ueberbacher for the photos.  I am so inspired now and can't wait to get started planning my next event!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

UMASS Guest Chef

I was the featured guest chef recently at the Franklin dining hall ay UMass Amherst cooking up a vegan menu in honor of Earth Day.  The event was coordinated by the P-Nut student group which teaches about the health and environmental benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.

It was a pleasure to work with the kitchen crew and give a presentation to students afterward.  So many great questions demonstrating a knowledge of sustainable agriculture, organics, the dangers of GMOs, and a concern for animals.

I wish I knew this much when I was a college student, and I wish they taught this kind of stuff back then!  Nonetheless, it gives me such hope that future generations will take care of our planet and lead people on the right path.

Planting a Chef's Garden Class

I held the first official class at Ahimsa Health & Harmony recently, and it was a ton of fun!  There's nothing like digging in the dirt and playing with food to make you feel like a kid again!

Twelve of us gathered in the classroom space to learn about "veganic" growing methods for kitchen gardens.  This takes the principles of organic - no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or industrial products - a step further by also avoiding animal products.  Instead of using bone meal, manure, blood meal or other animal byproducts, we use "green manure" such as seaweed, cover crops, and compost.

We planted up some pots with Fafard potting soil, coconut hulls, and liquid kelp and made a kitchen garden with oregano, chives, parsley and pansies, then tucked in some pea and nasturtium seeds to surprise us later in the season.

Everyone received a recipe for Chimichurri made with wild garlic mustard, dandelion greens, parsley and oregano, as well as a taste sample on some baguette.  I hope these little pots inspire everyone to get digging in their gardens and grow a bountiful harvest to share with family and friends!