The Summer of Veggie Love
Originally posted on 07/06/2015 for Huffington Post
Once upon a time — 1967, in fact — the youth of our nation converged on the Bay Area in what became known as the Summer of Love. Some came for the drugs, some came for the music, some for the free sex, others for the energy, the zeitgeist, the spirit and sense that we were on the brink of social change. I’ve never heard of anyone coming for the food.
Here we are almost half a century later, and once again, it’s a summer of change. The Supreme Court has upheld gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act. We’re trying to look civil rights and socio-economic divide in the eye. We are coming together in number, this time in… Pittsburgh. With apologies to its residents, Pittsburgh lacks the romance of San Francisco. On the other hand, this week it’s got Vegetarian Summerfest, one big plant-based party put on by the North American Vegetarian Society.
Vegetarian events, once rare and code for Weirdoville, are now as much a summer tradition as fresh farm stand zucchini. The season boasts vegan happenings across the country, and you’ve got Vegetarian Summerfest to thank — it’s among the biggest and oldest, dating back to 1975.
Speaking of old, back in ‘67, our forebears advised us not to trust anyone over 30. And what do they say now? The presenters at Vegetarian Summerfest are all over 30 and turns out they have a lot to say from “The China Study” author T. Colin Campbell to Coalition for Healthy School Food‘s Amie Hamlin. What they’re saying is vegan is the zeitgeist, it’s the change agent, whether you’re concerned about education, the environment, ethics, animal rights, whether you want to cook better, eat better, feel better or look better. They may have hit 30, but speakers including plant-based dietician Julieanna Hever and vegan athlete Rich Roll look pretty damn hot. Must be what they eat.Make this the Summer of Veggie Love Click To Tweet
The Summer of Love happened before the Internet, before cell phones, and yet thousands of people sensed something was happening, something vague, but something big, bigger than you or me They didn’t blog about it, they got off their butts and came. They were part of it. It seems like a magically innocent time. Innocent we are not, but maybe we can make that magic happen, too. Change will take all of us. Come to Vegetarian Summerfest or any vegan fest for the ethics or the environment or your health, stay for the kickass camaraderie and food. Make this the Summer of Veggie Love.