Living a life without meat seems impossible to some, but for people like Josh Meckel, it's a no-brainer. Co-founder of the Inland Northwest Vegans (INVEG), Meckel has spent 22 years as a vegetarian, the past two-and-a-half years on a plant-based diet. Meckel prefers the term "plant-based" to "vegan" because he says "it is less aggressive." At this year's Spokane Vegfest, plant-based foods are exactly what you'll find.
"The event is 100 percent plant-based," Meckel says. "All the food, all the products, and even the beer is 100 percent plant-based."
Last year, INVEG's first annual Spokane Vegfest drew a crowd of more than 1,100 and featured 45 vendors. They're upping the ante this year by making room for more than 100 vendors, including renowned chefs from all over the country, food trucks and healthy living exhibitors. Complete with cooking demonstrations and an outdoor farmers market, you're guaranteed to not leave hungry. Meckel says you don't have to be vegetarian or vegan to come and enjoy the food.
"Omnivores are the most common [attendees]. About 50 to 60 percent — probably even higher than that — aren't vegetarian or plant-based," says Meckel. An outdoor stage will feature live bands, yoga and massage. Key speakers include Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House.
For Meckel, Spokane Vegfest is bigger than just an event. "Our goal is just to show how to do things in a more compassionate way to our animals, environment and our bodies," Meckel said. He also wants people to not be afraid to ask how to do that.
"I want to give people a safe place to learn about plant-based living," Meckel said. "I won't preach. I'll be there to answer questions if people have questions — I love answering questions."
Spokane Vegfest • Sat, Aug. 8, from 10 am-6 pm • Free • Spokane Community College • 1810 N. Greene St. • inveg.org/vegfest.html