Vida Vegan Con

Event Announcement: Vida Vegan Con announces final conference

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Hi y’all. Janessa here. We’ve got some news to share. The three of us founders came together recently and had some big talks. As we’ve always aimed to be transparent, honest and loving, as hard as this is to write, we made a decision that we want to share with you.

Jess, Michele and I started Vida Vegan Con in 2009, when Blogspot wasn’t yet owned by Google and Instagram wasn’t a glimpse in the collective blogger’s smartphone’s eyes. It was started with the goal to bring vegans together, to build community and increase knowledge. To learn more about the nuts and bolts of blogging on new platforms, as well as vegan lifestyle issues: activism, mating and dating, fashion, privacy and sharing on social media, photography and cookbook writing… And most importantly, to us, to bring together people who perhaps had never met another vegan, to bridge the gap that vegans felt. To introduce them to their favorite bloggers, authors and celebrities (hello, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Colleen Patrick Goudreau). To make the vegans all over the world feel less alone, more connected and more inspired.

It was the world’s first international vegan conference. Wow. And we succeeded. Because of you. And we went on to organize a second Vida Vegan Con in Portland, where we’re based, and what happened to be the “vegan mecca” at the time. Which also sold out. And a Tech Seminar in Seattle. And an Exquisite Vegan Dinner and Beer Pairing at Portland’s oldest brewpub. And a Holiday How-To party. And now here we are gearing up for Vida Vegan Con III, this time in Austin, Texas, and we couldn’t be more excited. This is a sincere labor of love for all three of us. Throughout the past six years, Jess, Michele and I have poured everything we have into this. And it’s always been a passion project we’ve hoped to turn into a career—as many of you who’ve attended and followed us over the years no doubt understand. We’ve done this while working long hour day jobs, freelancing and changing jobs (and jobs). In so many ways, we’ve put put our lives on hold to give ourselves to all things Vida Vegan Con. And it’s been so, so worth it. The people we’ve met and connected with over the years are some of our favorite people. The people who’ve attended and launched businesses, brands, started blogs & websites and began their companies after Vida Vegan events truly humble us.

This has been an amazing, uplifting, enriching rewarding experience for us, and we hope for all of you, too.

That is why it is with a heavy but clear heart that we want to share with you that this is the last Vida Vegan Con. We all still love each other dearly, and love the niche we fill doing it, but it’s time to move on.

It’s hard work. It’s a full-time job done around our other full-time hours. We’ve all grown and changed a lot in the years since we concepted Vida Vegan Con, and even with the most recent two-year break while we planned the next one, there’s never enough time. The truth of the matter is that it’s turned into a full-time job for the workload, but without the salary. We have always been very intentional about keeping the conference as affordable as possible while giving the most value we can. We never wanted big brand logos to overtake and dilute the feeling of the event; we wouldn’t feel right taking a paycheck from a company we couldn’t all get behind. We always aimed to work with socially conscious brands and companies, and we’re proud to say that we succeeded. Our intentions of a socially responsible conference with integrity and community have been accomplished. And now we leave the folks who’ve been inspired by what they’ve learned or who they’ve met at Vida Vegan Con to continue the trajectory.

We’re not saying goodbye forever; we all still love planning worthwhile vegan events and working for the animals and the communities that support and speak for the animals, the planet and each other. There may be some project down the road, in which case you can expect the same care, attention to detail and time spent planning it. But until then, if you’ve always been wanting to attend, or have been wavering about attending or sponsoring. we feel we owe it to you to be transparent. If you’ve been wanting to come, please do. This is going to be an incredible one, and the first ever in our adopted city of Austin, Texas. This is the first one to include the debut Vegan Bazaar, which is Day One of our three-day Conference and for the first time, open to the public. We’d love for to come and be part of vegan history. Join us.

We love doing this, but life rolls on and it’s time to make some changes and get our lives back. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love, encouragement and support. We couldn’t have made Vida Vegan Con what it was without all of you.

Thank you, and we hope to see you in Austin,

Janessa, Jess & Michele

Co-founders, Vida Vegan

janessa jess michele
Way back in the beginning…
…and circa 2013

New Vida Vegan Con Badges, Baby!

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What do you get when you take custom artwork by Herbivore Clothing’s Josh Hooten and throw in some fierce app design skillz from our girl Janessa?!?

Why, our brand spankin’ new Vida Vegan Con badges!

We’ve got some for everybody, from attendees to Bazaar vendors, sponsorsspeakers and (coming soon*) for our weekend “volunteers“!

Share the love:

Please: Download, capture, right click or whatever floats your boat, and share on your social media channels, add them to your website and blog sidebars, or go old-school and print them out for your fridge and wallet. Do be a sweetheart and make sure you link your shiny new badge(s) right here: http://vidavegancon.com/

We heart all of ya in the Vida Vegan Con family & will see you next month!

Of course, make sure to grab your tickets to our full weekend or Friday’s Vegan Bazaar.

*”Volunteer” (aka our trusty assistants) needs are currently being finalized. These are primarily for Friday’s Vegan Bazaar, and not for the actual conference. Please have patience with this scheduling process, as we’re actively coordinating a three-day conference from across the country. Thanks!

Chatting with Bianca & Miyoko: Double Dose of our Vida Vegan Speaker Series!

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HapBianca Phillips VVC speakerspy Saturday, everyone! We’re sharing two recent editions in one very special post today — so recent that they were recorded within 23 hours of one another. Whoa, there.

We’re talking two different speakers, two different states, three class topics, one exclusive vegan cheese shindig, and four Vida Vegan Con interviewers total (with jess echoing admittedly awkward appearances into both recordings). Here we go!

First up, we catch up with Bianca Phillips of Vegan Crunk, who joins us for her third VVC next month. That is so exciting! She’ll be roadtrippin’ with her scoby in tow to present a demo on DIY Kombucha & Homebrewing on Friday at our Vegan Bazaar, and later tackling the Ethics of Vegan Dining & Boozing on Sunday afternoon.

Vida Vegan Con Speaker Series: Bianca Phillips, Vegan Crunk

Fun fact: This was the first interview in our ongoing series where a computer crashed! (We then restarted, phew)

Miyoko Schinner VVC speakers (1)

Next up, we talk all things “artisan” with one heck of a vegan culinary and business innovator: Miyoko Schinner of Artisan Vegan Life. We are completely stoked to have Miyoko on our lineup for Vida Vegan Con III, where she’ll be relating her decades of experience in the vegan world during her presentation, Exploits of a Veganpreneur –  Experiences and Lessons Learned through Growing Multiple Vegan Businesses. We’re just as excited (and even more ravenous!) for her vegan cultured nut cheese company’s Miyoko’s Kitchen Mixer on Friday, which is an exclusive hour of delicious mingling and vegan access for all full weekend attendees before the Vegan Bazaar opens to the public at 1pm.

Vida Vegan Con Speaker Series: Miyoko Schinner

{Guest Starring Anya the cat}

Oh, hey. We apologize for the sad angle of our webcamera during that one. Better luck next time, folks!

These interview were recorded on April 10 & 11, 2015 at Hatch Innovation in Portland, OR and via Memphis, TN and San Francisco, CA.

Afterwards, head over to Google Plus, where you can add Vida Vegan to your circles, and make sure you hear first about the upcoming exclusive talks in our ongoing Vida Vegan Con Speaker Series. You can watch all our videos to date here. And for goodness sake, make sure you turn notifications off so you don’t get emailed every day.

Catch Bianca and Miyoko at Vida Vegan Con May 29th-31st in Austin, TX!

Looking for our full 2015 VVC Speaker Lineup? You got it.

 ⭐ Tickets to both events during this three-day super vegan weekend are still available.⭐

See you in May!

Welcome Miyoko + Miyoko’s Kitchen Mixer Hour!

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Registered for Vida Vegan Con III? You’re invited to Miyoko’s Kitchen Mixer!

We’re living in new realm of vegan cheese these days, from culturing cashews and making your own, to stockpiles of rejuvelac and soirées with biodynamic wine pairings and fancypants, surreal assortments. The world of plant-based cheesy goodness  has undoubtedly grown leaps and bounds in the past three years alone, and that’s thanks to one extraordinary woman: Miyoko Schinner.

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With the release of Artisan Vegan Cheese in 2012, vegans all around the globe suddenly had the instructions to make their own aged, nondairy cheese wheels. And thanks to this woman, her test kitchens, insight, know-how and supporters (and the demand!), vegan cheese-curious & craving folks are now able to go directly to the source (and stop worrying as much about whether their quinoa is sprouting correctly, uh,  not that I can relate to that or anything) from Miyoko’s Kitchen!

Miyoko Schinner VVC speakers (1)

Let’s get to the point, we not only have Miyoko Schinner joining us on our 2015 VVC Speaker Lineup to share her expertise in the vegan business world in her presentation, “Exploits of a Veganpreneur –  Experiences and Lessons Learned through Growing Multiple Vegan Businesses”,  Miyoko’s Kitchen, her signature line of vegan cultured nut products is throwing a special party for all our attendees!

Okay, you know how we’re always saying, “make this a vegan vacation!“, or, this is a “3 day event!”. Well, that’s because it’s true! This year, Vida Vegan Con’s opening day is our debut Vegan Bazaar, which is where we’ll have way more vendors than ever before, all on one day. We’re talking sampling, live demos, special talks, panel discussions on Vegan Family and real talk on just how Austin got so “awesome”, raffles, two vegan taco trucks parked right outside, and for the first time ever, ANYONE can attend. Seriously. We’ve finally made a way to offer the one day ticket so many people have asked about in the past, basically.

The really important stuff:

As a Vida Vegan Con full weekend attendee, you’re already on the door list and you’re receiving this exclusive first hour to all our vendors and an amazing way to start the weekend off: Miyoko’s Kitchen Mixer!!

What’s happening: Miyoko’s Kitchen Mixer, Vegan Bazaar, day one of Vida Vegan Con
When: Friday, May 29th
Where: The Marchesa Hall & Theatre 6406 N I H 35 # 3100, Austin, TX
Facebook RSVP: Right here

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Info from our Facebook event:

All Vida Vegan Con full-weekend attendees are invited to an exclusive social mixer with Miyoko Schinner, her handcrafted cheeses, and all our other Bazaar vendors! This early access to Friday’s happenings takes place from noon to 1pm at The Marchesa.

The Vegan Bazaar then opens to the public for the day at 1pm. We’re thrilled to have Miyoko on our lineup for 2015! She’ll be sharing stories, lessons, and tips from the vegan business and culinary worlds on Sunday.

Note: This event is exclusively for Vida Vegan Con Weekend attendees. Tickets still available. The Bazaar opens to the public and all ticket holders at 1pm.

Mind-blowing vegan cheese party at a friend’s for Miyoko’s launch, October 2014

One more thing! 

As part of our ongoing Vida Vegan Con Speaker Series, we’ll be airing a live interview with Miyoko tomorrow, April 11th at 11am PST. You can tune in by RSVP’ing over on our Google Page. As always, we’ll make sure to share the video chat on a blog post next week.

See everyone next month! Miyoko’s new cookbook, The Homemade Vegan Pantry, arrives this June.

Get in the Vida Vegan Con 2015 SWAG Bag of Wonder!

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Calling all vegan-loving brands!

Get your vegan food, cutting edge tech gadget, latest cruelty-free beauty product, or other creative item in the hands of every single Vida Vegan Con III attendee.

Vida Vegan Con attendees =

Vegan Content Creators
Athletes
Professional Bloggers
Cookbook Authors
Business Owners
Community Leaders
Social Media Users
& more!

For starters, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts will be in the 2015 SWAG Bag:

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Plus, Schmidt’s natural deodorant and Chicago Vegan Foods Dandies marshmallows, to name a super quick few! Limited spaces remaining, so get in touch!

The Three Steps to SWAG Bag of Wonder Placement:

  1. Your company or brand contributes 325 identical items along with a placement fee by the second week of May  (discounted rate available for smaller, indie & nonprofit businesses)
  2. VVC fills and distributes our attendee bags
  3. Our happy attendees become ecstatic attendees and find new brands or discover old favorites to share. Thank you!

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Looking for a bit more from Vida Vegan Con? We’ve still got a few of our most asked-about packages left:

  • Single Booth + SWAG Bag Placement OR Half-Page Ad + SWAG Bag Placement (upgrades your company to Snow Pea Sponsor Level)
  • Double Booth + SWAG Bag Placement (almost sold out!) OR Full-Page Program Ad + SWAG Bag Placement (upgrades your company to Snow Pea Sponsor Level)
  • Single Booth + 1 Corporate Conference Weekend Attendance
  • Rotating SWAG Bag Table at Marchesa Hall, Day 1 @ our Vegan Bazaar
  • Grab-and-Go Table at AT&T Executive Center, Days 2 and 3

Here’s closer look at the history of the SWAG Bag of Wonder, thanks to our amazing past attendees:

HERE BE MAGIC!” – Hannah, Wayfaring Chocolate

via Laziest Vegans

It’s a life-changing experience that every Vegan should get to have. Great classes, great events, great food and most importantly, great people. Thank you once again to Jess, Janessa and Michele for hitting it out of the park and making the Vegan community proud. Let’s do it again!” —John McDevitt, Laziest Vegans

Image source: Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdon

“….[It’s] three days of seeing and meeting amazing people, eating fabulous food, and attending informative seminars. Also? The swag bag? Incredible.” – Kristina Sloggett, Spabettie

Home of VVC2011’s goodies, image source: Spabettie

“The bag of “swag” I received was an entire grocery bag full of goodies, I swear the thing weighed like 20 pounds… When you take a look at what was in it, you may not believe it was all actually in one bag.” – Veronica Grace, The Lowfat Vegan Chef

Image source: Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen

Holy shmokes, lots of stuff!!” – Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Image source: The Gluten Free Vegan

packing swag bags vida vegan con

Here’s a scene from the first Vida Vegan Con in 2011:

Email us at info@vidavegancon.com for more info or to reserve your spot ASAP. Deadline is May 1.  Thank you!

Deep in the heart of Texas! {Texas Vegfest + Austin Vegan Excitement}

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Vida Vegan Con is heading to Texas a little early!

Two  of your friendly VVC co-founders, Janessa and myself (jess) will be in town in just a few days for a bunch of meetings, requisite breakfast tacos and to represent our upcoming vegan weekend at the one-and-only Texas Vegfest. We’re coming for ya, Austin!

Vida Vegan tables @ Texas VegFest!
Saturday April 4th, 2015
Fiesta Gardens ­ Austin, TX
11am – 6pm

austinvegfest

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Texas VegFest is a free public education event that celebrates the health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of a plant­based diet.  More details here

Come stop by our Texas VegFest booth!

The two of us (Michele’s gonna be holding down the fort in Portland) will be tabling and selling tickets to Vida Vegan Con’s opening day Vegan Bazaar on Friday, May 29th with a very special ticket deal. This brand-new Vegan Bazaar is a whole new element we’re packing into Vida Vegan Con weekend, where we open our doors to the public…during the day!

Every conference, we hear from folks outside of Con-land who want to meet our exciting exhibitors, attendees who wanted to bring their friends and family by for a visit, and from more & more vendors of all sizes who wanted to get involved. This way, we can fit everybody in! Plus, who could pass on a full day of even more vegan samples and food trucks parked right outside?!

OF COURSE, all registered Vida Vegan Con attendees (and speakers) are already on the door list and receive an exclusive first hour from 12pm-1pm. Want to grab your own ticket and see what’s in store? Head right here.

So if you’ll be in Austin on April 4th, do stop by our table and say “hi!”, grab your own tickets to the Vegan Bazaar (no pesky online fees! two ticket deal!), learn more about what’s going on all weekend long, check out our classic VVC merch 😺, sign up to volunteer, and learn just why we decided to bring  all things VVC weekend to Austin, TX (Hint: look around VegFest!!) 

 If you’d like to get involved with Vida Vegan Con + our opening day Vegan Bazaar, stop by our booth and/or send us an email

Now that we’ve got the details out there, it’s time to pack. We’ve pricelined. We’ve unearthed our suitcases. We’re thinking about tacos. Our stomachs are seriously beginning to growl. 

With that, we’d like to share a few things on our upcoming Austin to-do (er, to-eat) lists:

First up, a big must, The Vegan Nom taco truck in North Austin:

Behold.
Behold.

Janessa can’t wait to get her hands on their Del Rey taco! This vegan take on the classic fish taco has (gluten-free!) mock fish, cilantro crema, cabbage slaw and avocado.  I’m estimating about four exclamation points’ worth of anticipation from the level of excitement she stated.

via @janessapk on Instagram

And dang, we can always get down with some of their breakfast tacos. Pure glory:

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Breakfast taco duo, Vegan Nom

Fufu! You know, the “ancient african dish [that] is a thick paste usually made by boiling starchy root vegetables”.

It’s clearly fun to say and even more wonderful to eat, especially when it’s alongside a savoury feast from Wasota African Cuisine’s food truck:

West African spread, Wasota

Bonus: It’s even better while enjoying the company of Marie & Dan of Red Hot Vegans. You signed up for their VVC Scavenger Hunt, right?!

Wasota African Cuisine
Wasota African Cuisine

For the record, this truck was gearing up to relocate when we last visited, so make sure verify the current address.

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Apple spice whisky, Buzzmill Coffee

Booze wise, it was rather chilly while we were in town this past February, so I held out on a margarita in favor of sipping house-infused whiskey outside the firepit at Buzzmill with Michele, Smurfy & Joanna. Therefore, I would really appreciate a gorgeous margarita in my life next week (forecasts of thunderstorms, be darned).

Some fabulous fresh fruit margarita, Vivo
Some fabulous fresh fruit margarita, Vivo

And fine, throw in a puffy taco plate, especially if we pop into our Friday Bazaar venue just next door from Vivo, The Marchesa.

The more you know…both Buzzmill and Golden Spike, where we’re holding Thursday night’s open VVC weekend Meet & Greet, have promised to offer both vegan food and drink specials during the ‘Con. Thanks, folks!

Wondering just what else is Team VVC excited about?

Image source: Austinite Tips

Brass Ovaries. I haven’t been there but I’m so curious about it. Pole dancing!”Michele

Another super new must, Rabbit Food Grocery!

Stock up!
Stock up!
Taco Alley, Whole Foods Downtown ATX Image source: Yelp

We  just dig Whole Foods’ downtown taco bar so much. There’s a taco computer, for crying out loud!

Did you know that Whole Foods is from Austin?! So you know it’s gonna be good.

For those dry, sunny days, I am stoked to get back on a bike around town. Grabbing one of these convenient rides from short-term rental provider B-Cycle was a big highlight of our last trip:

Austin B-Cycles
Austin B-Cycles

Did we mention breakfast tacos? We’re all downright obsessive about these shoestring potato breakfast babies from Cherrywood Coffeehouse:

Breakfast Tacos, Cherrywood Coffeehouse.
Breakfast Tacos, Cherrywood Coffeehouse.

While she’s not joining us until VVC itself, here’s what my wife has to say about who she wants to see in Austin: “All the dogs and kids I know from Instagram in Texas!” You heard it here, folks (and by that I mean, Smurfy and Milo).

And of course, we’re all stoked to see this lady:

Kristen Davenport!

…because let’s be real, you’ve surely seen Capital City Bakery’s Instagram account, and she had no issues with me eating cheesecake for breakfast.

Cheesecake at Capital City Bakery
Cherry cheese, Capital City Bakery

And to balance things out, a smashing sale on organic kale at Central Market:

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H-E-B’S fancypants sibling market

Rio Rita’s. So cute, I’m charmed, let’s go:

On the eastside
“Mild mannered coffee shop by day, swanky lounge by night.”

One more for the road, which was actually our very first stop in town back in February: Arlo’s!

I know, I know, we'll go for the bacun cheeseburgers next time.
I know, I know, we’ll go for the bacun cheeseburgers next time.

Arlo’s vegan food truck is parked right outside Cheer Up Charlie’s on Red River street, where our Sunday night VVC + Scavenger Hunt After Party will be held. What we’re saying is this: VVC ATX = Vegan Vacation time.

Cheer Up Charlie's bar
Cheer Up Charlie’s bar

More to come! We’re compiling our very favorite eats along with picks from the Red Hot Vegans, Lazy Smurf & everyone else we talk with, for a very special Vida Vegan Con Takes Austin Must Eats of citywide dining recommendations. Stay tuned!

For now, see you at TexasVegFest!!!

 Want info on all things Vida Vegan Con weekend? Head this way.

Vida Vegan Bazaar poster

New Vida Vegan Con artwork by Josh Hooten, Herbivore Clothing.