Veg Fest inspires activism for sake of benefiting health, planet, animals

Lately, veganism has been a trend on the rise, and, to be fair, after all the crappy trends this generation has faced, it is one to be proud of. 

As a vegan myself, I witnessed these changes first hand within my time of being a vegan. Although I complained about the lack of vegan activity within Iowa in general, getting a chance to attend the Vegan Festival in Des Moines over the weekend was a life changer  regarding my thoughts on the vegan community and activism in Iowa. 

Living in the heart of agriculture, my knowledge about the plant-based community here so far consisted of a couple people I knew … and Icon Donuts. I was following a couple Iowa-based activists in Iowa and the Farm Sanctuary; however, I still wasn’t satisfied with the efforts. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much from the vegan festival either. Once we arrived to the spot, I was very surprised by what I saw. People had already formed a long line at the door hours before the festival was supposed to start. After quickly getting in line ourselves, the conversations I had with other fellow vegans made me feel like I belonged in a community with people I shared the same values with for the first time. 

With the doors opening however, it was a whole other “Hallelujah” for me. For the first time since I’ve gone vegan, I was able to go to any vendor in the festival and eat whatever I wanted without having to worry about if there were any animals harmed in the making. 

And it was some damn good food—especially the nachos. After filling our stomachs to the very top, making amazing friends and listened to brilliant speakers who made me feel like yelling “preach” to every word that came out of their mouths—I was happier than ever. Besides my overflowing happiness, I also carried a sense of guilt for all the times I complained about how there wasn’t much done to save the environment. These people had spent day and night doing their best; I was the one not contributing. I didn’t need anyone to officialize my vegannes, I was the community.  As a result,  I paid a visit to the Des Moines Animal Save desk to discuss how I can play my part within this community and jotted down every word that came out of her mouth. 

From now on, I will try my best to be an active voice of the community for the animals and the environment, alongside helping out my parents with the cooking with all the new vegan cooking tricks I learned.

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