Vida Vegan Con 2013: A session and photo recap #vvc2013

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by JL Fields on May 29, 2013

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, 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.

The sessions:

Blog Writing as Writing: Take Your Blog Writing to the Next LevelGena 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 & ReliableGinny 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 RightsJasmin 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 EveryoneFran 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!

Vegan Invasion: Community Building, with Laura Beck, Maeve Connor, Jason Das, and Leigh-Chantelle

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.

Interdietary Cohabitation, with Joni Marie Newman, Bianca Phillips, and Dawn Quinn

“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).

#vvc2013 JL, Ashley and Dreena

Me, Ashley (she said when she started reading my blog I was like her vegan mom, love that!), and Dreena at Natural Selection.

#vvc2013 Jill Nussinow and JL Finally! Jill and I meet! 

IMG_8754Dave photobombed my meal.

#vvc2013 Grant Butler and JL

The fabulous Grant Butler.

#vvc2013 spabettie

Oh, Kristina (aka spabettie), you bring me joy!

#vvc2013 JL and SaywardSayward hugs, always good.

#vvc2013 Ricki, Heather, Christy, Dreena, JL and Gena

Ricki, Heather, Christy, Dreena, me, and Gena.

#vvc2013 Dianne, Sharon, Jennifer and JL

Main Street Vegan Lifestyle Coaches & Educators in the House: Dianne, Sharon, Jennifer and moi.

#vvc2013 Gena Hamshaw and JLGena-love. 

#vvc 2013 Ginny Messina and JL FieldsMy 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.

  • Fabulously concise, yet thorough recap. I’m envious! Mine will no doubt sprawl all over, thus defying my own suggestions 🙂

    So happy we had time together — love you!

    • JL

      @ChoosingRaw:disqus, dear Gena, I adored the time we had together. Never enough but all of it delicious and perfect.

      I want you to know that I had sketched a crazy blog recap and then I referred to notes from your session. What was my objective? To share content bits of the conference with those who couldn’t attend to to share photos of people they may be reading and admire. So thanks!

  • spabettie

    wish we had more time, these weekends are always such a whirlwind!! love you!

    • JL

      MAJOR love and hugs, @5ec6bbc00248c698369b1f732e381630:disqus! xo

  • Dianne @ Veggiegirl

    Great recap! You took some of the classes I wanted to but couldn’t because there were too many good options at the same time. And I also heart Spabettie!

    • JL

      And I heart our VLC group love pic, @dianneveggiegirl:disqus! xo

      • Sharon @BigCityVegan

        Me too too!

  • Love the recap and all the pictures – everyone is so happy and beaming. What a weekend it was! And such a delight to finally get to spend some time with you JL. You are just so. dang. awesome. Period. Hope to see you again – both personally and professionally – in the future!

    • JL

      I feel the exact same about you, @66268cad17d4f26e8f2b93970c49e6da:disqus! More, soon, please.

  • Danielle P.

    Thank you so much for boiling down the sessions you attended to such useful information! Those us who weren’t there can benefit from the wisdom of these amazing speakers, too!

    • JL

      I’m glad you found it helpful, @21a95e51f62f5a8df039431d7cdcacb8:disqus! That’s exactly what I was hoping when I wrote this post!

  • Ty

    I’m loving reading the different recaps as they come, and a little overwhelmed to sit down and write mine at the same time! What a beautiful weekend! 🙂

    • JL

      It was such a great weekend, @disqus_ac1EPPuK7V:disqus! Don’t think about anyone else…just write your story, your experience!

      • Ty

        I think it’s because I had a very emotional afternoon on Saturday, and those aren’t the type of blog posts I normally write, but I would like to share my insights. I’m going to sit down to write tomorrow. So much to say! 🙂

  • Fantastic recap, and I so appreciate that you took the time to summarise the panels you attended, as I didn’t attend every one you mentioned here! Might I repeat, againagainagain, how lovely it was to meet you, and add that I’m now even more excited for Vegan For Her, book and website both?

    • JL

      @wayfaringchocolate:disqus, I loved meeting you! And I loved out little party in my hotel room 🙂 Let’s run into one another again soon, okay?

      • Such a shining memory for me! Wine! Security guards! Walter the Farting Dog!

        Yes, let’s do. Hand over heart.

  • This just makes me miss everyone even more than I already do! I love your short and sweet notes – so much easier to digest!

    • JL

      It was so great meeting you and spending time with you, @las_dos_ashleys:disqus! xo

  • Richa@VeganRicha

    looks like a fabulous time! I would be overwhelmed by all the activity and star struck meeting all of you:)

    • JL

      @3d8b6e85d9a4b4108c468c341819b38a:disqus, it actually is overwhelming! LOL I felt like I had been run over by a truck when it was over. But so, so worth it to meet people I admire and to be inspired to continue spreading the vegan love through this blog and elsewhere!


    Great write up. There were so many times I wanted to be in two sessions at once and it made it difficult to choose.

    • JL

      I know, @luminousveganswordpresscom:disqus! So many wonderful choices!

  • Jared Bigman

    I think you did such a succinct and fantastic job summarizing the sessions you attended! I’m not even going to attempt to do the same.

    It was so great seeing you again, of course!

    • JL

      Thank you, Jared! I was a thrill to see you again! xo

  • Sharon @BigCityVegan

    Great recap JL!! Love your summing up of the sessions and your takeaways. It was so fabulous seeing you there! Reliving the pics and pinned a lot of them to the group Vida Vegan Con 2013 Pinterest board. Please join if you like!

    • JL

      Loved seeing you, too, @6c409d922342e8f425fde725b725012a:disqus! I didn’t know there was a board – thanks for the heads up!

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