TOA T-shirt drawing announcement and Veg Fest recap

As anticipated, last Saturday’s Veg Fest was a blast! I don’t know exactly how many people were there yet, but it felt like at least as many as the 5,000 from last year. There was a steady stream of visitors all the way from before the 10 a.m. opening to after the 5 p.m. closing. The Girls Gone Green and The Northeast Florida Vegetarian Society should be very proud of this year’s event!

We met lots of people from here in town, but there were also out-of-towners like the lady from Orlando and the gentleman who had driven (!) from Chicago for another purpose and had heard about the event somehow. We even heard several languages including Spanish and one that was either German or Swedish. And the mix of visitors was so amazing! There were those who were clearly experienced with such events, but the trio of party boys feeling the veggie love, the nine-month-old at his very first Veg Fest and the absolutely adorable 70-something-year-old couple that celebrated digging the last bit of fruit from the bottom of their smoothie cups like little kids lent a texture to the day that was palpable and energizing.

It was also an assemblage of the best of the best in Northeast Florida’s vegan, vegetarian, health-conscious and animal welfare community. There were familiar friends like Fresh, maker of yummy vegan condiments and bakery items, and KYV Farm getting out the word about healthy, organic prepared foods and produce;

Fresh in the house!

KYV is a great source of local organic produce!

First Coast No More Homeless Pets and CJ Acres Animal Rescue Farm educating people about animal welfare;

FCNMHP's goal is to make Jax a no-kill city.

and, of course, the GGG and their mascots working hard to convince people to “Eat your veggies, not your friends!”

Mascot dance break!

But there were also new-to-us friends as well like Vegan Outreach (hi, Jeff!) and Sweet Theory, Jacksonville’s new brick-and-mortar vegan/vegetarian/organic/allergy-friendly bakery.

Sweet Theory isn't just a theory anymore! Visit them on King St.

And speaking of the food…wow! A friend came by and said, “I brought a pocket full of money, and I’m spending it ALL on food!” How could you not with Dig Foods serving up the most amazing pumpkin chili, grilled pizza and roasted carrot kimchi dogs right next to Austin’s Kombucha for a cold, refreshing beverage to wash it all down with?

Dig it: Dig Foods and Austin's Kombucha!

Culture in a Cup was serving their awesome teas. The Ginger Mojito was amazing, but I also couldn’t resist going a few booths down to try Bamboo Leaf Tea‘s organic chocolate mint tea for a late-afternoon pick-me-up!

Culture in a Cup: Tea made with local ingredients.

There were also some fantastic vendors like Mandarin’s own baby needs specialists, Wee Sprout Naturally, Castings 4 Growth‘s natural alternative to chemical fertilizer and so many more that it was a challenge to get to see them all!

Worm poop: black gold!

The sad part about being a vendor at an event like this is that you usually don’t get to see all the great demos and speakers. But I could certainly hear the Vegan Black Metal Chef doing his cooking demo, and it sounded like a lot of fun…I mean, it sounded dark…and, um, metal-y! And although I didn’t get to hear Veg Fest sponsor Dr. Jon Repole, of Jacksonville Health and Wellness, do his presentation, I met a lot of happy people who said they were JHW clients and had come out specifically to support Dr. Repole.

There was sooo much more to the day; I wish I could tell you all about it, but we’ve got to get to the little matter of the FREE T-SHIRT!

First I have to say that I was blown away by those who attended The Organic Adventurer’s presentation. The questions asked were so insightful, and the feedback could not have been more positive. The presentation, “Why go veg?” was all about why transitioning to a plant-based diet is such a great thing to do for one’s health, for the environment and for animal welfare.

Let me share with you a few of the comments and questions that I heard during and after The Organic Adventurer’s Veg Fest presentation. I think they help illustrate how we don’t know what we don’t know and sometimes what we think we know is only part of the story. Those are two very good reasons why getting a green living consultation is such a good idea! And while the majority of the following are food-related, since that’s what the day and the presentation were about, those same reasons could be applied to all aspects of greening our daily lives.

– I didn’t know hormones couldn’t be used in chicken production in theU.S.

– I thought chicken was the “healthy” meat.

– I didn’t know that commercial fishing was so damaging to the environment.

– I want to plant some berry bushes at my house. Do you know where I can get some locally?

– “This week’s menu [is completely vegetarian]. [Organic Adventurer] – your influence on our menu is growing.”

– “Yes, I’ll admit I am a convert. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m ready to go vegetarian. I learned so much from you today that convinced me that it’s an environmental, health-wise, and ethical imperative to stop eating meat.”

Okay, back to the T-shirt thing. Our readers know that our fantastic TOA shirts arrived a couple of weeks ago, which you can read about here: “The Organic Adventurer official T-Shirts have arrived.” We had them at Veg Fest and, just like here on our site, $1 from every purchase went to the Environmental Working Group. Veg Fest attendees could also sign up for a drawing for a free shirt! Those who signed up were subscribed to our blog feed on Wednesday morning (11/7) and should have received a confirmation email from Google’s Feedburner. If you signed up and didn’t get an email, check your spam folder and/or send us an email using our Contact page. We’d like to give everyone who signed up a chance to confirm their subscription before the drawing. We figure a week is enough time, so we’ll draw the name for the free TOA T-shirt this coming Wednesday and make the announcement here, on Facebook and on Twitter. So be sure to like TOA’s Facebook page and follow us on Twitter (@OrgAdventurer)!

There’ll be lots coming up at The Organic Adventurer including a breakdown of California’s rejection of Prop 37 (sadness) and some foodie eye candy (’cause it’s been a while). So stay tuned and keep on gettin’ green!

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