In this fifth post of my Portland / Vida Vegan Con recap (you can catch up here: one, two, three and four) I finally get to the “meat” of the conference? What?! Did I just say meat? Why, yes I did because I learned from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau that the origin of the word meat was simply food (non-liquid). Anyway…
After a quick shower I made my way to the ballroom for breakfast.
People, there is nothing like conference food when it’s a vegan conference. Mercy!
Here’s a recap of the morning sessions that I attended. I am referring to my handwritten notes, my typed notes and ultimately to my tweets for the bullet points. (If you follow me on Twitter you probably noticed my overabundance of #vidavegancon tweets over the weekend — which got a major shout out from Eco-Vegan Gal!)
Okay, first, hello?! Can you believe I was in the same room with these authors and photography geniuses? It was a “pinch me” moment. Oh wait, then Gena scooted her chair over to sit with me and it was a double-pinch me moment! I gush. Back to the content and some photography tips:
- Lighting is key
- Prop your photo according to the meal. Almond cookie? Scatter a few almonds around it. Breakfast dish? Add a cup of coffee to the photo.
- Use mirrors to bounce light.
- Herbs should be the last garnish added to a photo.
- Mist water (or oil if you’re a vegan not afraid of fat!) on beans.
- Buy an easel (about 2 feet) to use for props.
- Tether your camera to your laptop so you can really see what you’re taking (I don’t even know what that means but I plan to learn).
- It’s about lighting, background and composition.
- Avoid extreme close-ups: people want to see what the entire dish looks like (I’m guilty of super-close macro shots).
- Adjusting contrast makes pictures “pop.” Just try auto contrast to start.
I attended this conference to stretch my blogging muscles. To think about new ways to bring the vegan message to my readers. I was very interested in the podcasting session because I now subscribe to a variety of vegan podcasts and love that I can focus on the message while I’m running (listening on my iPod) instead of getting sidetracked with computer A.D.D. which often happens in front of the screen. The presenters were wonderful: Erika and Jordan are super-naughty in an awesome way, Colleen is a gifted, gentle educator, Webly broke the process down so well that I think that even I might be able to do this and Jasmin. Oh Jasmin. I have a major crush on her.
I started listening to Jasmin and her partner, Mariann, on Our Hen House and I’m hooked. Colleen, Jasmin and Mariann are whispering in my ears and nudging me to find my own unique activist voice.
I only have a few bullet points because I was just too busy listening to the panelists:
- GarageBand on the Mac is a great tool for podcasting (get a Snowball microphone and/or a Snowflake mic for travel).
- Use Archive.org to host your podcast.
- For interviews use Skype. Use Call Recorder, change the file to an MP3 and drag it into GarageBand (again, I have no idea what any of this means, but I’m going to try it!
Side note: Gena, I have my eyes set on YOU for my first podcast interview, once I figure it out!
I attended this session because my second blog, Stop Chasing Skinny, is designed to be a community blog, where readers can engage by providing content. As soon as I sat down, though I realized that community had two meanings for the session. Certainly community contributors but in this case it was also about geographic community. New York vegan news, San Francisco vegan news, Seattle vegan news. So I didn’t quite get what I was looking for in this session, but the panelists were interesting and I did learn a few things. I found this rhetorical question the most intriguing: Are vegan community blogs the future of vegan news? I get most of my vegan news from community blogs (and I’m a proud contributor to the community site This Dish is Veg).
What a morning! Lunch time.
With a full belly I waddled off to the afternoon sessions.
I like to think that my blog is positive. I attended this session to see what other people have to say on the matter:
- There is a range to what positive means, from a positive attitude of the blogger to the blogger providing content that allows the reader to feel positive.
- Negative comments are sometimes right and you can learn from them.
- RE: animal rights — sharing consciousness is positive for your readers and for you.
- Don’t get bogged down in how you think you are perceived.
Planting Seeds of Compassion: Communication as Activism, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Hand’s down, my favorite session. Colleen is inspiring, clear and gentle.
I don’t know how you could walk out of her session and not want to share the ethics of veganism with everyone you meet.
- Anger and peace are not contradictory.
- Use words that say what you mean and reflect the truth.
- I don’t eat fake or faux food; I eat real food.
- If you are the vegan someone comes to, you represent all vegans.
- We are ambassadors of compassion.
- You have to be more willing to solve the problem than to win the argument.
- Imagine if we woke up every morning thinking about how much compassion we could spread in the world.
- May we learn from the animals.
- To the anti-vegan argument “I can’t give up cheese”: It’s the fat and salt. You can get that from plants.
- Veganism is a belief system; it’s about a lot more than food.
- When asked “why are you vegan?” CPG says: Because I do not want to contribute to violence against animals as it goes against my personal ethics.
- The best we can do is to make choices that reflect compassion.
- There is no nutrient we need that is animal-based. B12 is bacteria-based.
- As an advocate, you do not need to know all of the answers. Listen. Ask questions.
- If you make someone upset because you’re vegan, it has nothing to do with you.
- If someone says they are vegetarian…but they eat fish and chicken. Keep a sense of humor. They want to be vegetarian. Probe. Offer your experience.
- I’m not going to convince you of anything. But I can give you facts.
This post is way too long. I will save the Galarama and day two of the conference recaps for another post(s).
I hope you feel like you got to experience the conference a wee bit through my summary!