Bethlehem Vegfest Makes Life Better (Really).

A few nights ago, I was working at my part time job in a bookstore and talked to a customer purchasing the DVDs of Food, Inc. and Forkes Over Knives. I told her I had just been on a discussion panel for the latter, to which she happily chirped, “So have you heard about Bethlehem Vegfest? It’ll be next Saturday!”

You can’t imagine what a great feeling it is when complete strangers excitedly tell you about an event that you have been helping to organize for several months.

I see the posters everywhere. Businesses, public bulletin boards, the newspapers… I’ve even seen some hanging in the windows of people’s homes. Every time someone talks about it, posts it online, wants to do an interview for an article, it spreads the excitement for something that — stay with me now — has the power to change the world, change lives.

Let me explain.

It’s not simply about the lives of animals that are spared by choosing a plant-based diet or simply choosing more veg dishes, not just about making a positive environmental impact (by making much less of an impact), not just about the way treating your body well makes your mind feel better, too…

What is, for me, maybe the most exciting thing is the way it has been embraced by the community. There has been nothing but support and enthusiasm for this event from local people and businesses who have only asked “How can I get involved?” from day one. Β The desire to make more of ourselves can resonate in our lives and in us, and we can continue to create positive change in ways that ripple farther than we can see.

I’ve told you my story. About two years ago I was considering a move to somewhere else in the country, anywhere else, to escape from myself and from a town I had been deceived and told had nothing here for people like me. If we wanted to find a creative community, or things to do, or art or music or food or interesting people or a career to be passionate about, we had to leave.

Sabrina Ward Harrison

My choice to stay was deliberate. My choice to change the way I thought about this place and my life has only lead me to experiences I could never have thought up back when I was planning an escape. So much is about perception – we see what we choose to see. And one of the biggest lessons learned has been: we can make our own lives. And it seemed a lot of us started to open our eyes wider at the same time.

When the Downtown Bethlehem Association asked if I’d like to be a co-organizer for Bethlehem Vegfest, I was humbled and honored. Part of the mission of my work and this blog is “Cooking, Community and Compassion” – and “Community” is so much more than a physical space of people who live together. It is about action: working together to better and improve that space because it is where we live our lives, together.Β 

To me, Vegfest is a manifestation of the desire for something new in a town that embraces it’s history. We are forward thinking people, and we are in good company.

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INFO/LINKS:

Bethlehem Vegfest on Facebook

Article about Restaurant Week (NOW until Sept 10th) from Lehigh Valley Live

Article for Laini’s Little Pocket Guide website

… and check out the current issue of The Mix free weekly paper! (out NOW through Sept. 14th)

22 thoughts on “Bethlehem Vegfest Makes Life Better (Really).

  1. Aww I know, I wish we could do it for a week or something! Hey, you never know. First year and there are close to 200 vendors/demos, etc… so… man that’s really good. Thank you for supporting it, come say hi!!!!

    • As we were taking the photos, the photographer was like “Whoa, lots of cleavage in that one” and the assistant was like, “It’s okay, it’s The Mix!” Haha. It’s a dress and an apron. You’re the sweetest!

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  3. Jamie,

    Seeing how you used the chic eggplant, it all makes sense and comes together! The eggplant isn’t hogging all the cute in the picture, either. You make being veg look sweet!

  4. I’ve never known Bethlehem to be anything less than a creative community, but it could be that I came into the picture after things started changing. I absolutely adore Bethlehem for what it has become. I’ve never felt more at home anywhere else!

    • Mary, you make a good point. I sometimes think about how much great stuff was already happening while I was sitting in my house whining that we weren’t as cool as other cities, but not actually going to find out for myself. As it turns out, we have our own thing happening and it’s really special. Thanks for dropping by! Viva la Bethlehem!

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  6. This is what will inspire people to eat their vegetables – looking at pictures like this of beautiful women with ample cleavage, holding ample bushels of fresh vegetable-people with googly eyes straight out of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!

  7. I was at a party in Staten Island, NY and I heard for the first time, before he starting taking our orders, “Is anyone here a Vegetarian or Vegan?” . Things are changing!

    • That’s great! I think what’s a super huge and awesome step in the right direction is that there is more awareness in general. When I go to someone’s house for a party, and the host says “Look, everything on this table is vegan!” it’s like.. WOW thank you for thinking of me! Thank you for providing awesome food that all your guests can eat and no one has to feel like a pain in the ass, either, hhahaπŸ™‚ Thanks for writing Ralph!

  8. Good luck tomorrow! I just know it’s going to be super awesome. I wish I could attend. As the parent of a nut (and egg) allergy kid, I can totally relate to appreciating special accomodations for diet restrictions/preferences.

    I think as people evolve and learn more about our food supply, we will see more and more folks enjoying vegan/vegetarian options. The event tomorrow will be a huge factor in moving folks towards a more healthy and happy life! Congrats on working on a project that truly affects peoples’ health and well-being. Thanks for being an inspiration!!

    • You are always the sweetest heart, what a pleasure to have run into you a few weeks ago and have been able to hug you properly.

      I hope this event will show people that we can eat whole plant-based foods that are tasty, healthful, inexpensive and non scary! I don’t expect the world to turn vegan, but my hope is that we can all educate ourselves more to create more positive impacts in our lives and the world.πŸ™‚

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