A few weeks back on April 9 I had the pleasure of being a part of a new food-based Tacoma event, FoodCamp (253), which I wrote about beforehand here. I love the idea of participation-based conference specifically about food, and was so thrilled that it was happening here. The event covered a wide range of topics, from making a better cocktail, to making homemade bread, to food photography and many more. I felt honored to have the chance to talk about vegan food and living here in Tacoma along with other friends and other food knowledgeable individuals I’d had yet to meet. I was also happy to be a part of an event with a great goal – raising funds to make a commercially-certified kitchen available for local cooks and bakers to rent.
My talk was scheduled at the start of the event, at the exact same time that a local meat shop was slated to speak in another room, (I laughed at the irony, and smart marketing of the planners!). I had a good turnout of individuals coming to hear about Tacoma’s vegan businesses, the many that exist that are vegan-friendly and the best places to pick up vegan items in the city.
I definitely tried to emphasize a fact that I’m going to cover in future blog posts here as well – that in order to get more vegan-friendly businesses in Tacoma, we need to ask existing restaurants to add vegan items to their menus. A few such places that I mentioned in my presentation were: Pacific Grill, where I’ve had only bowls of olives and cocktail-only based meals; Cheney Stadium, which claims to have veggie dogs and burgers yet I’ve never seen either in my many visits there; and Masa/Asado, both of which aren’t very vegetarian-friendly at all, (I’ve been told that their tortillas, beans and flat breads all have lard in them). I think that if the owners of these businesses realized that there is enough of a demand for more vegan food in Tacoma, they will make it available. I got some great questions and then definitely informed the group of the upcoming Tacoma Vegan Bake Sale Benefiting Precious Life Sanctuary. I think it went well and would love to present again on a slightly different topic next year.
After I presented, I sat down to listen to Heather’s talk on the slow food movement and Kaitlin’s on local CSA Terry’s Berries, participated in Marisa and Ben’s live food testing from the event, (even though everyone hated them, I loved the Somersaults!) and then checked out Donald’s presentation on preserving winter veggies and really felt inspired to try my hand at canning this year. If my garden plot takes off, this would be an excellent way to have the veggies last throughout the year. After that we broke for lunch, which was wonderfully vegan-friendly and delicious.
I chatted with some friends during lunch and felt at that moment that the mission of FoodCamp (253) had been met during the course of the day. I got together with some other food-loving friends, met new ones and was thoroughly inspired by the food-related things these individuals are doing in the city. I left after lunch (as I didn’t get much sleep the night before!) but definitely enjoyed my time at the event and can’t wait to see what comes of it next year. Hopefully there will be more fundraisers for the commercially-certified kitchen to be installed in Urban Grace in the near future, and if there are I’ll definitely let you know about them. You can read Jenn’s (the event’s fearless and wonderful planner) reflection of the event on the FoodCamp (253) site.
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A newer addition to Tacoma’s vegan-friendly meetup group offerings is the Tacoma Animal Rights Book Club. Started up by Lisa, an extremely passionate animal rights advocate and vegan, the group originally started out as one that gets together every month to discuss an animal rights-related book. Since it began, the group has also evolved to include other events, such as movie/potluck nights, a letter writing night/dinner in which members write letters to activists in prison and a carpooled trip to Portland’s Vegfest in September is also scheduled.
I’ve only been to one event, (the aforementioned movie/potluck night to see “Bold Native”) but it was an excellent one and it gave me the chance to meet some of the other members and bond with them over our mutual interests in animal rights, Mighty-O Donuts and books. Since that meeting, the idea for the Tacoma Vegan Bake Sale was collectively born by Lisa, Joy and I and we’ve all been brainstorming on other events for the meetup group and ways in which we can get more local vegans together.
I missed the group’s first book club discussion on Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” (the meeting took place this weekend), but I heard that it was a great one and I’m still reading the book though I couldn’t make it as I’ve always wanted to. The next discussion will take place on Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. at Coffee Strong in Lakewood and will be on “Muzzling a Movement: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism, Law, Money, and Politics on Animal Activism” by Dara Lovitz. I picked up the book while at Food Fight in Portland, and I can’t wait to start it. We’re working on making the books available at King’s Books, so if that happens it’ll be posted on the meetup page. If you’re interested in reading and learning more about animal rights (whether you’re vegan or not), I’d suggest checking out the group and its Facebook page. I don’t think I’ve come across another group in Tacoma that’s been so genuinely welcoming of new members.
In the very near future: a review of Caffe Dei!