Behind the Veg Fest

For this cycle, my group decided to tackle the second annual Central Coast Veg Fest. This emerging event took place on February 23, 2019 at the San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church and was a welcoming space for all patrons, not just those who refrain from using animal products!

That concept right there is what our group wanted to get the public to learn-that the vegan community is actually quite welcoming to all. If you want to learn, they want to help.

From my social media engagement report, I had a peer reach out to me over Instagram messages and she gave me the most insightful feedback out of all the other sites I reached out to.

Indeed this community is not a cult and this was proven by how fun and welcoming the environment was on Saturday afternoon at the United Methodist Church. In between sampling surprisingly delicious vegan foods, there were speakers and live cooking demonstrations, all with kind, outgoing people who were totally open to discussing any questions anyone might have.

The best part about this project was the way that it allowed us as individuals to expand our knowledge on a topic that is everywhere around us, but that we didn’t know much about.

“I definitely learned a lot about veganism while working on this story,” Kenzie said. “Despite not being vegan myself, attending the event made me feel so welcomed into the vegan community and everyone was willing to educate me on ways that my diet can have a positive impact on the environment and my health without having to commit to veganism.”

The fest was both educational and delicious, as Melissa described the grub as one of her favorites parts about the day. “This event has opened my eyes to how positive being vegan is for the environment and for your body. Tasting the different foods and hearing the speakers at the event was a great way to spread awareness of veganism,” she told me.

The event was a good time, which was the case for all of our other projects that we reported on (especially that Fantasy Bartending Story!) but what stood out to me was how smoothly this cycle went for us. Everyone involved with the fest was so kind and willing to speak to us, so it made setting up interviews a breeze. On top of that, the event itself was in daylight and we were allowed to take as many photographs as we wanted to, so the reporting process was so much more streamlined and accessible. I think our whole group was very happy to have a topic that included such helpful, passionate people

Covering this story definitely made me, as well as my group members, reflect upon our diet choices ourselves and forced us to contemplate whether or not going vegan was possible for us. Valerie is a seasoned veteran herself when it comes to vegan and she says, “As a vegan for about 3 years now, I was so excited to be covering this story. It was an incredible experience going to the Veg Fest where I got to try some delicious food (my favorite being vegan mac and cheese) and talk to some very passionate individuals.”

Joe Lynch, Cal Poly Philosopher professor, and vegan for almost seven years now, says that, “Vegan options are much better now, we don’t just have to eat salads,” and our group definitely discovered that when sampling some of the delicious options at the fest.

The vegan diet, and community, has clearly come a long way and this graphic that we want to include in our interactive portion of the story shows just how much the vegan trend has grown throughout the years and after attending this event it’s no secret why: The community is kind, welcoming and just simply doing their part to help the community. What more could you ask for?