Grand Rapids VegFest 2016 Recap

A VegOut shoutout to all those who made Grand Rapids VegFest 2016 happen. To the coordinators, the vendors, and the attendees, thank you all for supporting the vegan community in this little corner of the mitten. Thank you, too, to those who shared posts, posted photos, and took a friend. From a business perspective, a movement or product happens only when it is given the dollar. Let’s show a little VegOut love by supporting these businesses and events that support us. 

We sat with Hillary Rettig the other day from Vegan Kalamazoo. It was a simple exchange of ideas over tea at the new coffee bar in Sawall Health Foods. She used the term “normalize.” It has stuck with us. “We need to normalize the term vegan,” she said. We don’t often think of eating as marketing but this is how it happens. You post a photo of a beautiful vegan dish. You give your money to the vegan items on the menu. You take a friend to a vegan event. Vegan becomes this beautiful, regular thing that is just a normal way of being. People no longer see it as weird or different. 

Kalamazoo is a town of musicians and writers and artists. It is also a town of foodies. We love our food here. For a town of its size, Kalamazoo has quite a diverse gastronomical culture. Let’s make this town known as a vegan-friendly place to live, a vegan-friendly place to visit and stay. Next time you experience a great vegan meal, attend an event promoting the vegan lifestyle, or shop at a vegan-friendly business, drop a compliment card in the comments box, write a note to management, or continue to support that business with future dollars. Let’s normalize vegan. 

Hats off, GR VegFest! Well done. 

Check out photos from the event here. And if you missed it, there's always next year! You might even see the VegOut Kalamazoo team standing behind one of the vendor tables.