Vida Vegan Conference
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
First of all, a big THANK YOU to everyone who bought Early Bird tickets, inclusive- and double-inclusive weekend tickets, and contributed to our Vida Vegan Membership Drive. Y’all ROCK.
And now, with Early Bird tickets sold out and speakers now confirmed, get ready for the next step… general registration is now open.
Tickets to this three-day, full-weekend event that now includes the first ever Friday Vegan Bazaar are available now—click here for more info and to grab your spot. May 29-31, 2015, is gonna be a blast and we can’t wait to see you there!
If you received yesterday’s official VVHQ newsletter, then you’re already in the know. But for the rest of you, we’ve got some pretty big news (and subscribe here for the first look next time). So let’s get to it!
Vida Vegan Con III (or #VVCIII, if that’s how you see the world) will be in…
Austin, Texas. May 29-31, 2015.
That’s right, after hosting two glorious, action-packed conferences in our home city (and vegan wonderland) of Portland, we’re taking this show on the road. Janessa, Jess, and I (Michele) have spent over a year scouting about for the perfect city and space in an exciting, happening vegan community to rival our little vegan mecca.
We’ll have loads of information on all things Austin, including:
- lodging & travel tips (getting to and around Austin)
- our favorite grub (lots of budget eats)
- just where and when all our conference happenings will be—because you know we’re gonna try to jam as much Vida Vegan and Austin as we can into this double-stuffed weekend.
So when can I register?!
Official, regular registration opens August 1, 2014, BUT we’ve got a special little Early Bird action going on as part of our next announcement:
Much, much more info to come right around the corner, but Early Bird discounted registration and a very limited availability of more-inclusive weekend packages will be part of this program to make stronger connections among our community. It’s a mutual support system, with some really cool perks for you and a more open line of communication for us. Seriously, sit tight and stay tuned. We’ll hip you to everything you need to know before the program opens (and the Early Bird options are available) on June 13.
So can I be a speaker?!
Once again, we’ll have an entirely open application process, but it will be fiercer than ever. Based on attendee feedback, we’ll have more specialized presentations, panels, and hands-on workshops, which means fewer multi-speaker classes. More details to come, but start preparing your submission now—we’ll be looking for thoughtful, original proposals. The application window will be open May 9–July 9.
May 9–July 9: Speaker Application
June 13: Membership Drive opens (Early Bird registration)
August 1: Regular registration opens
May 29-31, 2015: Vida Vegan Con III
Excited?! We are! Spread the love with the official hashtag: #VVCIII
Look at all those vegan mugs!
When we planned the pre-VVC2011 meet & greet, we had NO IDEA who would show up. Sure, we gave the folks at Vendetta a little heads-up, that we might have upwards of 50 people swing by, and that they might want to add some extra vegan specials to the menu. But then y’all kept coming. This is a shot of just one little area and I can count around 30 of you!
For many, this was the first opportunity we had to put faces to names (or avatars or logos) from blogs, forums, and cookbooks. Newbs and pros mingling, some of us crawling out from behind our keyboards for a very rare social situation—even the most socially awkward can be comfortable in a gathering of bloggers! It was just so exciting and invigorating to witness this gathering…and precisely what we needed to kick off our very first conference weekend.
And I can’t help but wonder how many friendships were born in that patio.
Gosh, we sure do love us some Veggie Grill at Vida Vegan Headquarters, and often have our meetings over Peach Iced Teas, Bayou Chickin’ sandwiches, Sweetheart fries and giant B Wing salads. And really, between the three of us, and all the Veggie Grill locations we’ve visited on the West Coast, we’ve easily tried every single menu item to date! Or we will—take our word on that.
(Not So) Spoiler Alert!
As always, we wanted to do something different for our Opening Night Reception this year, and being überhostesses, we wanted to feed people, so we knew just who to invite. It was obvious.
Veggie Grill, which just happens to be one of the closest nearby vegan hot spots from the Museum with its recent downtown Portland location, is offering some very special small bites and refreshments to welcome you to the first of three days of conference-going.
As the motto goes, “Taste and Believe,” folks.
Here’s what’s in store for the Very Veggie Grill Reception:
All Hail Kale Salad (gluten-free)
VG Rollers—think mini blackened chickin’ flautas
Chill Out wings with Buffalo, Chipotle Ranch & BBQ sauces
It should be just enough to hold you over until the Vegan Pop-Up happenings at the Mini Mall, right?
Who are they? Veggie Grill is a growing fast-casual, 100% vegan chain, and we’re stoked to have them involved and sharing their food on Friday night. We love them, and they love bloggers—so it’s a perfect fit! You can check out their current restaurant menus right here.
Details: The Very Veggie Grill Reception immediately follows our opening talk by Nicole J. Georges at 5:00pm on Friday in the Kridel Ballroom. See you all there!