Monday, June 13, 2011

Toronto Raw/Vegan Festival and Compassionate Marketplace

I am still a new vegan so beyond my readings, I am trying to learn more about veganism and meet other vegans. Toronto is a wealth of vegan events thanks to local organizations like the Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA). There were two last Saturday (on the same day!): The 1st Annual Toronto Raw/Vegan Festival and then the Compassion Marketplace (part of the TVA Compassion Week.) I love these kinds of events. Festivals are my thing! (I used to organize film festivals. Mine nationally touring one was called ICED IN BLACK. Plus I worked and volunteered for others like the Toronto International Film Festival. I also worked for the Francophonie Games are like the French-version of the Commonwealth games.) I love festivals for the opportunities to bring a large group of people together and to learn, appreciate, and showcase our cultures. Plus I love the entrepreneurial spirit these events often bring together. I chose to profile these two events through pictures.

1st Annual Raw/Vegan Festival being held in a building. I used to live across the street from this place. Last I knew it was a Chinese Buddhist Temple and before that a church but now it is 918 Bathurst, a new arts, culture, media, and education space.

When I first went past the entrance, it was packed. This was pretty full for the first of its kind. They did well. Inside there were so many vendors and entrepreneurs selling their wares. There were shiatsu masseuses, natural vegan retreats, perfumes and natural beauty products, herbs, vegan snacks, healthy cooking pots and containers, and Thai vegan tatoos. I even saw Suzanne Wyman selling organic clothes from Yes World Boutique. I have not seen Suzanne for a while and have known her for years. She travels the world, imports clothes, and sells them. Her business is doing well and expanded. I love the entrepreneurial spirit!

I had to sample this vegan Nanaimo bar. Although it the price was a bit 'tief at $5, I had to sample this raw creation. They made the cream filling with ground cashews.

I'm afraid this is where my Compassion Marketplace photos start. It was held at Wychwood Barns. I was in such a hurry to get there that I forgot to take pictures. (I'll get to why I was in a hurry soon.) No fear, here is Jenny of Apiecalypse Now. She can also be found on facebook. Jenny is a grad student in Environmental Science in my alma mater. (Hi five, Jenny!) She bakes and sells vegan goodies at farmer's markets and events. I love the entrepreneurial spirit!

Her food was so popular that all she had left were these vegan marshmallows. Yum. My very first. They were so sweet and slightly lemon-y. I could have bought more. I asked her how she made them. She said mostly sugar but other natural ingredients. I love it!

Now, the reason why I came here in a hurry. This is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks. I did not know too much about Colleen before other than what the bio on the Compassion Week site told me. She is an author, educator, activist, and vegan chef based in Oakland, California. Her talk was entitled, "Getting to the Meat of the Matter: Debunking the Myths about Being Vegan". I attended it and loved it. I have not listened to any of Colleen's podcasts before but as soon as I got home, I began to listen to some of them. After her talk, I asked her one question. Basically, "I just became vegan in March, I learned all this stuff now about animal ethics and environment beyond the health benefits, now I feel isolated. I don't know any other vegans. How do I meet other vegans?" Her answer? 1) Listen to her podcasts about social situations with vegans, 2) Find groups and activities on-line where you can meet other vegans, 3) Go to different events, 4) Volunteer with TVA, and 5) Know that this will change after the first year. I love it and know that this is very similar to how I went about meeting other young adult and thyroid cancer survivors/patients. Colleen stuck around to do a book signing. I haven't read any of her books nor bought them but I definitely recognized them. Right away I recognized COLOR ME VEGAN and VEGAN BAKING. You go, Colleen! Keep doing the great work that you do. (She's also very sweet. She gave me a CD. I love gifts.)

Now as I got ready to leave, I began to devour these amazing lemon raspberry tarts by PinkHart Diner. They were soooooo good. I almost ate them all before I got this photo. I left the Compassion Marketplace so inspired by what I saw today. I met such inspirational people. I also met some inspiring women (Liz Marshall, a director and Nina Beveridge, a producer) from Ghosts Media Inc. They are working on a film about factory farming and animal rights through the eyes of a famous photographer. They are currently fundraising for the film. Having run film festivals and worked with filmmakers, I know that fundraising can be a huge feat but I wish them luck. Unfortunately, I do not have photos of these ladies but you can also visit them on facebook. Please check out their site and support them.

I was so excited by what I saw today! People are being compassionate, care about their health, and sharing their creativity with the world. So inspiring!

1 comment:

lotusstar said...

I attended those two events, too. It was great to see the big turnout for the vegan fest!