Although there were pre-conference events, Vida Vegan Con 2013 officially started at 12:30 pm on Friday, May 24th. I flew in that morning and took a shuttle to hotel that morning. After checking in, it was a pleasant walk to the Art Museum where I quickly checked in, received my official conference bag and the huge (heavy) bag of swag.
While waiting for the doors to open, I met Becky from Tasty Planet. I didn’t know a single soul attending but it was nice to “know” someone throughout the conference.
We received a great spiral bound conference book you can see in the first picture that had blank pages for notes. I managed to lose it after the second day along with the notes I’d taken to that point. It was very frustrating, but at least I can remember the sessions I attended. 🙂
You don’t have to tell me the photos I take of food aren’t that great. That’s why I joined Hannah Kaminsky in her session on food styling. She’s a professional food photographer and published cookbook author.
She turned a unappetizing looking pad thai in a carton into a beautiful plate of food. Fortunately she posted highlights of her session. Hannah was so nice and she brought her mom along to the conference.
Keeping with the same theme, my next session was iPhone Food Photography with Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Being a new vegan, I had no idea that Isa was a well-known cookbook author. I mean the woman has her own Wikipedia page!
What I soon learned is that she is freaking hilarious and very nice. Plus I learned about six different apps I never heard of that I’ve already used a few times. Of course, I’m not taking the time today to do so (big fail!). The ones she showed us how to use are: Camera+, PS Express, Phonto and VSCO Cam.
The next session was The Art of Writing Recipes. It was a panel with Nava Atlas, Dreena Burton, and Terry Hope Romero (all well-known vegan cookbook authors) and moderated by Grant Butler who is a food reporter for the Portland Oregonian.
It was interesting (how could it not be with this group) but I just don’t like cooking enough to create many recipes.
The last session I went to before the Veggie Grill reception was the MoFo Workshop. I had no idea about this annual month of vegan food blogging. I may attempt it this fall and loved the fun brainstorming facilitated by Kittee Berns, Mo Martin, and Amey Mathews.
After the breakfast showcase I tried to get into The Making of a Zine: From Conception to Distribution. I thought I had presigned up for this session but didn’t so I just sat out the hour and caught up on email; nothing else appealed to me.
So the first session I actually attended was Cookbook & Product Reviews where the panel consisted of Hannah Kaminsky, John McDevitt, and Lisa Pitman. I enjoyed this panel. The best takeaway was to contact cookbook publishers in advance of a release if you’re interested in reviewing a particular cookbook.
After lunch and the Vegan Battle Royale (a game show type event with some very hard questions!), I attended the Restaurant Reviews with Authority session with Grant Butler. I wish I had my notes, but I do remember that it’s important to try a restaurant several times before the review or at least state it clearly that it is based on one visit.
The next session I attended was not of any value so I won’t name it here. It felt like a *itch party. Not my cup of tea. After that I just skipped the last session of the day and went to Powell’s bookstore.
After another delicious breakfast I attended Vegan Professionals in a Nonvegan World which was a panel with Grant Butler, Fran Costigan, Julie Hasson, and Janessa Philemon-Kerp. This was a very good discussion. Too bad sometimes they get flack from vegans sometimes for working in a non-vegan environment (related to the food industry).
Next I attended Body Image Acceptance & Veganism moderated by Laura Beck. The panel included Chelsea Lincoln, Gabrielle Pope, Nicole Sopko,and Michele Truty. This topic could be for any group of people (especially women) not just vegans. It was an open, thoughtful discussion.
Looking back I don’t know why I skipped the first session after lunch or what I did instead. Hmmm. Anyway, I did attend the final session of the conference before the official good-bye. It was Interdietary Cohabitation with Joni Marie Newman, Bianca Phillips, and Dawn Quinn. This was a well-attended session so apparently it’s a common scenario. I was glad to hear most people were reasonable.
Without exception, every single person I met was warm and kind. This newbie Vegan didn’t need to worry about being accepted. I met J.L. Fields from JL Goes Vegan while we were waiting for the Breakfast showcase. She even took the picture of us above and emailed it to me.
Overall Thoughts on Vida Vegan Con 2013
I’ve been to a lot of different blog conferences (BlogHer, Blissdom, Savvy Blogging Summit, BlogWorld and more) and this one ranked very high. I thought it was very well run and organized. Any complaints I have are minor points to me and here they are:
1. One of the rooms was very small and the two sessions I attended there had people standing out the door into the hall.
2. Set up one more food line; lunch lines were too long both days.
That’s really all I had of substance to offer in terms of problems.
I bought an early bird ticket from someone who couldn’t attend and thought the $200 registration fee was quite reasonable. I hope the conference moves to different cities in the future although Portland was nice. If you stuck around to end of this long post, thank you. Do you have any questions about Vida Vegan Con?