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.  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. 

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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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)

VEGAN MACHINE Blog Saves the Kal… I mean, DAY!

Back when I very first mentioned the rumblings of Bethlehem Vegfest on facebook, the amazing Kaycee Bassett of the blog Vegan Machine wrote to me to offer something so generous – could she make and donate some pocket guides so we may hand them out at the fest?

Could she? COULD SHE!?

A huge and resounding HECK YES. And so she did. Kaycee made up these guides of animal ingredients – things commonly found in food and other products that are animal derived that have crazy names and you may not know it just by reading the packaging.

Vegan Machine

She sent  literally hundreds, all of them hand-bound and made with love shooting out of that big heart of hers.

Cutie pie Kaycee Bassett of Vegan Machine

Cutie pie Kaycee Bassett of Vegan Machine

Please show Kaycee some love and support – you can help spread the word about what she does by liking her FACEBOOK PAGE, and checking out her blog full of drool-inducing recipes and lots, lots more.

She also organizes a Vegan Pen Pal match-up service. If you are interested in having a vegan pen-pal from a far off land, contact her and she will set it up. Who wouldn’t want some authentic Polish recipes or German vegan chocolates, not to mention a bond formed with someone new? GO HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Kaycee is one of those people that embodies a lifestyle based on compassion, and lives that every day in her actions and education. I am grateful to have her support!

Go visit Vegan Machine to keep up with this wonder woman!