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Vegfest well attended

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Did you miss Saturday, Jan. 26’s Vegfest at the Fusion International Arts Center?

Unseen Heroes organized the 2,500-person event, which included 32 food, farm and vegan beer vendors. Attendees also enjoyed a plethora of demonstrations about health and wellness.

Maritz Davis from Unseen Heroes shared some of the challenges of offering twice as much food as last year’s event. “This year, fortunately and unfortunately a lot of people sold out. Lucky for us Plum Cafe and Mama Kim’s were able to go back to their restaurants and bring food for another round.”

Ron Russell from the Plum Cafe said they originally brought 240 portions of chili to the event. After going back twice to the restaurant for more supplies, the dish ran out. Many Vegfest attendees also sampled the restaurant fare at their Midtown location.

“We’ve definitely seen a growth in awareness of vegetarian food in recent years and also vegetarian food isn’t what it used to be … I’ve been a vegetarian for a long, long time, and it was so boring.”

Chef AJ, noted speaker and author, presented tips and tricks for cooking more healthfully.

Shannin Stein, general manager for Feeding Crane Farms, also shared the benefits of eating locally sourced food while demonstrating a basic, but versatile, braised greens recipe.

In a later interview Stein expounded, “I am not a chef, I am just a regular old person who uses vegetables in my diet more frequently as a result of … being a localvore – eating locally.”

Food is generally considered locally sourced if it is grown and consumed within a 100-mile radius, though Stein recommends looking for food sources that are even closer, namely the closest to where a person lives.

This is the fourth Vegfest. David Plag, executive director of the Del Paso Blvd Partnership, describes the changes that have happened since the festival’s inception.

“VegFest started in 2010 with a handful of vendors and a small but enthusiastic group of vegan and veterinarian supporters … (It) is now part of the cultural experience of our city and has developed a following that will continue to grow.”

Stay tuned for ongoing activities by connecting via the Facebook page.

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Rich Beckermeyer

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