The focus of my blog may be on sustainability in the food industry, but I’m interested and active in all areas of environmentalism. I loved that the Los Angeles Green Festival was able to cover everything from how to power your home to how to invest your money in socially responsible companies to how to get involved with your areas of interest in the green world. I spent my time learning about as many different subjects as I could. But of course, the booths related with food and agriculture caught my attention the most.
At green conventions, I often find most of the food related exhibitors are either vegan or vegetarian. I previously wrote about the euphoria I felt seeing the Weston A. Price Foundation at the Green Festival. This was the only time I’d seen something in an environmental convention that talked about the environmental pluses of being an omnivore, with the exception of the meat, egg, and dairy vendors at the Natural Products Expo West.
While the Weston A. Price Foundation was the only booth with a focus on eating meat, there were other exhibitors that supported consumption of sustainable animal products. First, there was the Homegirl Cafe, one of the most unique restaurant concepts. The Homegril Cafe takes at-risk former gang members and trains them in the restaurant business and culinary arts. The food they serve is organic produce grown in urban gardens. The Homegirl Cafe offers many great vegetarian options, but appropriate omnivores will be pleased to at their meat, poultry, and fish offerings.
The online market Spud.com was also at the Green Festival. While they’re known for selling lots of organic produce, you can also buy the Santa-Barbara based Paso Prime grass fed beef from their site. Another booth was Food & Water Watch, which focuses on areas that affect everyone, such as non-GMO foods and water safety, but also letting people know about alternatives to factory farming.
And then there was the usual share of vegan related exhibitors and speakers. But I felt I was able to have open and meaningful discussions with them. I went to the Earth Balance Press Brunch, which talked about the benefits of a vegan diet. During the Q&A part from the press, I felt comfortable being able to bring up how I felt that meat can be healthy and good for the environment.
As I wore a press badge that said “The Appropriate Omnivore” on it, I found many exhibitors at the convention were pleased to see what I’m doing. It turns out there are more pro-meat eating environmentalists than I thought there were. A woman at the Mercy for Animals booth also saw my badge. She disagreed with my point of view, but the two of us were able to have a meaningful conversation. She als said she’s interested in following my blog.
Then there was the PETA table. Okay, that one I just made sure to run by as fast as I could. And I was able to do that without them seeing my name tag. Who says meat doesn’t give you more energy?
While I was glad to see that there were exhibitors offering multiple solutions to the food crisis, whether it’s raw food, eating more veggies, or simply more sustainable meat, I wish that the Weston A. Price Foundation wasn’t the only exhibitor that had a direct focus on the benefits of meat, eggs, and dairy.
For future Green Festivals, I’d like to see more booths that support the idea of appropriate omnivorism. There are so many ways this can be done from farms with pasture raised animals (e.g. Organic Valley) to dieticians to authors. We need to let more people know that meat, poultry, fish, and dairy are part of the solution to the environment, not the problem.