It’s taken me the week of being home from Vida Vegan Con to get my emotions in check enough to be able to write about it without blubbering. What is VVC, you say? Well, let me tell you! It’s a gathering of vegans of all stripes to come together to talk about blogging/marketing/social media marketing as it relates to veganism, food styling/photography, fitness and nutrition, travel, feminism and body image, and a whole slew of other amazing stuff. I’m sorry to say, though, that this was the last VVC. I know; I’m bummed, too. But I can only imagine how much work it was to put this amazing event together, and the 3 organizers did it all in addition to having other life commitments/jobs/family stuff! I can’t even imagine and am so grateful they were able to put it on for as long as they did—and that I was finally able to attend one after only dreaming about it for the years prior. I came away from it feeling profoundly changed for the better, and a stronger, more committed, smarter person in a lot of ways.
The thing is, it can be tiring being “the vegan in the room” all the time. Not so tiring that I would ever consider not doing it, but nonetheless it can be hard constantly being at odds with defensive jerks, constantly having to defend your decision to put compassion first, and put up with armchair nutritionists, who—upon learning you’re vegan—get “concerned” where you get your protein. And having to do it all while smiling, lest you want to be labeled “that angry vegan” and in one fell swoop ruin someone’s impression of your entire ethos.
So things like VVC are important from the perspective of self-care and nurturing. To get together with people who get it and that interaction is like a battery recharge. I have lots of support in my daily life (my husband is vegan [20 years!], so is my brother, and I’m active in the local scene), but also a lot of my favourite friends live at a distance and getting together face-to-face sometimes is important.
Without exaggeration, I came away from the event feeling like maybe the world isn’t so doomed if the people in that room are at the helm of change. From Miyoko Schinner creating some of the world’s most gorgeous cheeses, to Gene Baur heading up America’s first rescue for farm animals—there is no shortage of chutzpah in the vegan world. I was humbled when I would look around at people’s nametags and realize that I was among the folks behind Vegucated, Veg News, and some of the best blogs in the world. It was truly an honour and a privilege to learn from them and be inspired by them.
Thank you, thank you. I am grateful for every single one of the people that attended VVC and I truly believe in the collective power of people who give a shit.
I still need to do a round-up of the food! I heard that Austin Texas was a bit of a mecca of vegan awesomeness, and naturally I had to do some “research” myself. Ahem. Tasty, tasty research to follow.