On the real…I am not Vegan, I am more like Vegan adjacent.
For those who will dig around and find out anyway, I need to be up front in that I am a clean eating omnivore who eats organic and sustainably source foods. However, I have been blessed to have eaten some of the most delicious, amazing, invigorating vegetarian and vegan foods in Los Angeles.
There are several reasons why I am super uber doober excited about the first ever Vegan Street Fair this Sunday March 1st from 12pm-6pm .
#1: IT”S IN NOHO!
#2: I have friends* who are going to be there providing amazing food to you.
Read my feature on Sun Cafe in Studio City posting later today/tomorrow.
#3: I actually have a caseine sensitivity so I am really looking forward to trying cheese from Vromage. Plus, a fully vegan ice cream truck?
My dreams come true.
*Nevin Kumar-Bar Manager at Sun Cafe
Jessica Schoech from The Vedge, one of the organizers of the Los Angeles Vegan Street Fair, is honest when she says that she hopes to convert a meat eater or two, and she may just get her wish. Looking at the list of the 48 food vendors from all over LA is mind boggling and mouth watering to say the last.
This first ever event takes place in the same location as the weekly farmer’s market…Weddington St & Bakman Ave- North Hollywood, CA…but just on a Sunday. Easy Peasy to find, right?
Note: my style is typically to talk to a person and write my own text, but Jessica’s responses to my questions were so eloquent and exciting to read, that I am going to post an embellished Q & A this time.
Why did you choose NoHo for the first Vegan Street Fair?
My husband and I lived in NoHo for many years and really connected with its walkability, culture, and sense of openness. As a New Yorker, I found NoHo to be the perfect combination of LA and NY. I would often take the red line to Runyon, walk to my nearby gym, or spend a nice night walking from our apartment to the movies, then dinner, and back. Its the best of both of my worlds.
Sidebar: I grew up in Massachusetts and lived in NYC for a time. I completely agree with every little last word she said. These are some of the reasons I love Noho so much. *wipes away a tear*
One of our favorite pastimes was going to the Saturday North Hollywood Farmers Market to enjoy a vegan tamale and fresh produce. When it came to choosing a venue for VSF, we just knew NoHo was the place. The vibe, the accessibility to public transportation, the culture, and the centrality, all contributed to our decision to have NoHo host the very first Vegan Street Fair and we couldn’t be happier with the response.
Who are the vendors you are most excited about having at Vegan Street Fair?
Its so hard to say because they are all so fantastic. I am really excited that Vegan Pizza is coming all the way from Orange County with their amazing vegan corn dogs. Also exciting is the all vegan ice cream truck, Divine Dips. They have amazing ice cream flavors and ice cream cookie sandwiches that are to die for. I really wish I could name them all because every single vendor is on my TO EAT list.
Sidebar: My dear brother in Spirit and famous raw food pioneer, Chef Rawsheed, told me that the reason he is not serving up delicious food at this event is, and I quote, “I want to be able to eat everything!”
Are there any completely new resturants joing the fair?
There are few that are re-branding- HOPE used to be Vegan Thai- and a few newer vegan restaurants like Vromage, the gourmet all vegan cheese shop in Hollywood that is really doing amazing things for the vegan cheese market. We are also welcoming the new kid on the block, Charlie’s Brownies(100% dairy and gluten free), a local vegan brownie company already causing quite the buzz in the vegan scene with their super moist and delicious variety of brownies.
Sidebar: Those brownies look amazing! Peek at other food items on the VSF Instagram page. I will eat a couple of those!
What can people expect when they arrive?
Attendees can expect an energetic vibe full of good friends, good food, and ample amenities. We have a DJ pumping light, fun music throughout the entire event, as well as plenty shade and tables for relaxation all in an effort to keep the event fun, energetic, and practical.
Sidebar: Sounds fun! NoHo needs more outdoor DJ-ing. Don’t you think?
What is your “vegan” story?
Believe it or not, it was after a trip to SeaWorld that my whole world shifted towards veganism. In 2009, I posted photos of my “encounter with the dolphins” and a friend, who coincidentally was not vegan, said, “you know they are slaves in there, right Jess?”
I was in disbelief and set out to prove him wrong. I spent hours on the computer researching marine parks, how they obtain their animals, how the animals live, and their breeding programs. I had no idea that many of the early orcas in captivity were young calfs taken from the wild from their pods. In the process, their families were killed off because they were of no use to the captivity programs.
Orcas are highly intelligent creatures who thrive on their family structures and in captivity, they are forced away from their families, made to live in the equivalent of a bath tub for their entire lives, and forced to do unnatural tricks for food. They get depressed just like us, and many even attempt suicide as a last resort to escape their situations. The list goes on.
Needless to say, I spent an entire day in tears over what was hidden from me for so long by the ingenious marketing tactics of places like marine parks, zoos, circuses, factory farms, and clothing manufacturers. I decided that day that no animal would ever suffer for my enjoyment again. And so… I became vegan.
Sidebar: I would like to thank Jessica for this intimate and personal story. I know that many of my vegetarian, vegan and even my meat eating friends share these sentiments on some level.
What are your over-arching goals for the Fair?
My over-arching goals for VSF are to spread the same enthusiasm for vegan food that I have to my vegan and non-vegan comrades and to help people see that vegan food really is delicious.
Vegan food has reached such great milestones, from finally having vegan cheeses that taste and melt just like cow cheese to alternative meats that non-vegans would mistake for their sausage or chicken counterparts. I find that the gateway to true veganism starts with delicious food.
It takes a very determined person to break free from the traditions and societal norms that we all grew up with, but I find that most people enter veganism by discovering that they don’t have to give up the tastes that they love when they go vegan.
Our biggest goal with Vegan Street Fair is to hopefully plant a seed in as many people as possible by way of delicious vegan food. We have encouraged vegans and non-vegans to come because frankly, if we can create more vegans in the process of putting on this event, that is a win in our book. All it takes is one seed and you never know how or when it will grow. Being able to plant that seed with an event like this feels like one of the greatest ways for me speak for the animals in a non-coercive, gentle, and kick-ass way.
Sidebar: As an omnivore I can respect this and appreciate the respectful approach.
So, Noho, are you as impatient as I am to get to the fair? See you there!
Bring cash. Tickets are cash only.
If you have questions, they have put together a comprehensive list of FAQs on the facebook event page. Go R.S.V.P. What are you waiting for?