RecycleMe Iowa had a fantastic time participating in the first annual VeganFest2017! Hosted by Food Still Matters, the event was held February 18 at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines. While some were getting down at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, VeganFest provided an healthier foodie escape to over 600 attendees.
VeganFest was free (who doesn’t love free food?!) and featured samples from some amazing, delicious local restaurants including Tacopocalypse East Village, Krunkwich Ramen House, HoQ restaurant, Flavory Bistro, Fresh Cafe & Market, Moar Tacos, Gusto Pizza Co., 5 Borough Bagels, The Grateful Chef, ROGUEsweets, Catering by Cyd, Dogpatch Urban Gardens, and Dirt Burger. Tiny But Mighty Popcorn and Trader Joe’s provided additional snacks and there was a Fong’s Pizza $50 gift card up for grabs.
Of course all of the leftovers, materials, and waste had to go somewhere, which is where we entered the picture. RecycleMe Iowa rangers were able to help divert 37 pounds of waste—36 pounds of compost and one pound of recycling. There was still 11 pounds of trash, but the majority of that was from one-time use aluminum chafing dishes. Plastic spoons and ramekins, chip bags, and Styrofoam coffee cups also added to the waste.
Midst the food, people also had the chance to attend four different presentations that included topics like “Environmental Reasons for Eating More Plants” and “Healthy Vegan: Creating an Environment for Healthy Holistic Living.”
Luckily, the community, good food, and education didn’t end with VeganFest cleanup. Food Still Matters is a group that gathers monthly for a series of panel discussion and film screenings, in addition to a vegan potluck. At the meetings, the group explores topics relative to humans’ relationship with food such as food insecurity, local foods movements, the environmental impacts of food, nutrition, and workers’ rights.
Interested in attending? The next meetings will be Thursday April 6 for a free film screening of Good Food and Thursday May 4 for a final discussion and celebration at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, located at 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines IA 50315. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., the vegan potluck starts at 6 p.m. and then film/panel discussions commence at 7 p.m. The May meeting will be the final event of the series. Plus, for all of you parents out there, they’re offering free childcare and the kiddos are welcome and encouraged to attend the potluck.