This weekend we were vending at the first annual Indy Vegfest, and to be quite honest, I had pretty low expectations for it. I mean, how many people in Indy are going to come out to a food fest based around all things vegan? Mac & Cheese Fest? Bacon Fest? I picture people running to the doors! But I was absolutely astounded to witness about 4500 people from all walks of life show up to the VegFest yesterday. It was hosted at the Pan Am Pavilion downtown Indy, and there was literally a line snaking around the building before the doors opened at noon. I realized pretty quickly that I was not prepared for such a large crowd, but what an awesome surprise!
About 9 months ago, my husband and I decided to start eating vegetarian, after becoming more aware of how detrimental meat products are for our health. That switch then led to us choosing a vegan lifestyle, because the more we researched, we learned that all animal products are useless for our health, and actually have a super negative effect on our bodies. Also... how could I be okay with killing innocent, intelligent, incredible animals for my own gain? Especially when we can get all of the nutrients (and yes, even protein) from plant-based sources.
So gone are the days of fine cheeses, dairy ice cream, and bacon. But I'm really okay with it. And even more than okay... I'm excited! It is so fun for me to learn how to make meals from scratch using simple, whole ingredients. We try to avoid having too much soy and fake meat substitutes, but instead embrace the wholesome proteins such as quinoa, beans, hemp seeds, peas, etc. It's a new normal, and it feels incredible. We've saved a lot of money eating this way too, so that's a plus!
So back to VegFest. 4500 people! Of course not all of them were vegan or vegetarian, but they were there because they were interested in learning more, curious about this movement, excited to try new things. Our booth was slammed all day long, and I loved educating everyone on the benefits of our almond butter, what makes us different, why we don't process ours like other nut butters, how we don't add any sugar at all, and why I started all of this in the first place.
I feel so grateful to be able to own and operate a business that I can 100% stand behind and feel so proud of. We will never compromise our quality or our ingredients. We will constantly pursue more sustainable practices. We will remain a positive and encouraging voice in the community. And we will always do what we do because of our love for humanity and for the world and because everyone deserves to have some amazing food at their fingertips.