Nearly two years ago I attended the first Vida Vegan Con and wrote eight posts about the experience. That’s not going to happen as I recap Vida Vegan Con #2. Not because it wasn’t fabulous – it was, oh my, it was! But mostly because I didn’t take as many photos and I didn’t attend as many sessions.
It was an overall perfect conference experience, meaning I only went to the sessions I was interested in so that I could use other time to network and work with people I don’t get to see all of the time:
- Ginny and I put the finishing touches on VeganforHer.com, which launches tomorrow (sign up for email delivery here!)
- I met with folks to talk about potential collaborations.
- Ginny and I stole time away from the conference to be interviewed by Grant Butler for The Oregonian.
- I hung out with people I know but don’t get to see much and with people I have admired via their blogs but never met.
Blog Writing as Writing: Take Your Blog Writing to the Next Level, Gena Hamshaw
Gena shared eight ways to think like a writer and an editor. She was very succinct and practical and I found the session invaluable. My number one take away was to think about my objective before writing a post to avoid “brain dump.”
Vegan Nutrition: Keeping Your Blog Current & Reliable, Ginny Messina
Ginny shared six “red flags” to avoid when discussing nutrition on a blog. All solid recommendations, the three that stood out were 1) avoid making promises, 2) don’t demonize food, and 3) anecdotes are not science; just because it worked for you doesn’t mean it’s a solid path for everyone.
Why & How to Expand Your Message to Include Animal Rights, Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan
This was a great presentation offering five tips to bring an animal message into your blog (particularly if you have a food or fashion blog). I especially loved the idea to encourage readers to join us on our own activism journeys and to expand our ethical message into our social media outlets.
Developing & Teaching Kick-Ass Vegan Cooking Classes for Everyone, Fran Costigan
I have been doing cooking demos and classes for nearly a year and I can not get enough advice on putting them together. Fran delivered and really drove home the need to heed all details. A great deal of planning needs to occur because ultimately you’re at the hands of someone else (host institution, group, VegFest, etc.). I loved her suggestion that the audience should experience three things: 1) new information, 2) renewed information, and 3) a “wow” moment. Much to think about before my cooking demo at the Niagara VegFest this weekend!
I attended a similar session (with similar presenters) in 2011. The difference this time? I’m now lead organizer for two Meetups in Colorado Springs: the Colorado Springs Vegan and Vegetarian Group and the Colorado Springs Animal Action Network. The points that really hit home for me: 1) community events are important for people who are not yet vegan or need help staying vegan and 2) don’t be clique-y; these events aren’t for you to hang out with your friends but rather to make new friends, encourage new vegans and, bonus, you can still see your friends!
How Hot Topics in Nutrition Influence Vegan Advocacy, Gena Hamshaw, Ginny Messina, and Jasmin Singer
This panel was sort of all over the board with good stuff. Broadly, I would say it was about how you can be transparent about your vegan agenda when blogging but also transparent about what might be your personal health slant. No oil, juice fasting, raw, etc. The panelists talked about how they do (or don’t) respond to “famous” bloggers who claim failure to thrive and walk away from veganism. Some tips included using “I” statements, turning to the science (and understanding that the science doesn’t always prove that a vegan diet is best, because other diets with meat have positive results, too) and always going back to the animals. Health and diet might not always win but if you’re vegan for the animals your veganism will never fail.
“How do you share your kitchen, let alone your life, with someone who consumes animal products?”
Yeah, I needed to go to this session. Mostly just to see if others have experiences similar to my own. They do. The general theme was that each couple has set up boundaries when it comes to food, the kitchen, etc. when one is vegan and one is not. There were a lot of people in the room. It reminded me of why I continue to discuss my “omnivore” husband on my Facebook posts and on this blog. Because lots of us have omni partners. If someone is thinking about going vegan but won’t because her partner won’t, I want her to see it can be done. I’ve had people write to me, so distraught that my husband isn’t vegan. But what if 20 people have gone vegan as a result of seeing a couple manage vegan/omni in the house? I’ll take twenty vegans over one! But having said that, I always go back to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: “Before I was vegan I was not.” That’s how I think about my husband. Just. Not. Yet.
So, pretty awesome sessions, right?
There was food, lots of it, which I may share in a future post. But for now I’ll just share some photos out there in the world of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs (or even on my own camera).
Finally! Jill and I meet!
Dave photobombed my meal.
The fabulous Grant Butler.
Oh, Kristina (aka spabettie), you bring me joy!
Sayward hugs, always good.
My friend, mentor and co-author Ginny Messina (Have you heard? We have a book coming out in six weeks!).
As ever, a huge shout-out and thanks to the founders and organizers of Vida Vegan Con. Janessa, Michele and Jess are extraordinary leaders in our vibrant, diverse and positively fabulous vegan community.