Having attended my fair share of eco-friendly festivals over the years, I was excited when I heard that New Jersey would be hosting their first vegfest. The bonus was that it was only 20 minutes from my home, the closest festival I’ve been to yet and also offering free parking. The New Jersey VegFest is a great local event that should be continued to be supported for years to come.
Once I wandered my way up from the parking garage I found my way to the registration area, though a bit challenging when there weren’t any signs specifically directing me for this event. There were several other church events happening at the same time, so the hotel was bustling. I did manage to get a bit of guidance from an even volunteer, but there was only one volunteer there to direct people. I think that could have been a bit more streamlined as there was so much else going on especially if you didn’t come into the hotel from the front/main entrance.
The lines for pre-registration were pleasantly short and didn’t require any paper tickets, which was a wonderful zerowaste plan they implemented. The event was officially marked as sold out about 3 days before the event, with a limited number of tickets at the door. Congrats to the organizers for creating such a popular event!
With a popular event comes a packed venue. We were in the event hall 10 minutes after it opened and it was very crowded. So much so that I really was only able to get in and talk with three vendors for any substantial length of time. The vegan/vegetarian community came out in strong numbers! Here are some of the standout companies I thought you should know about.
A great company that combines essential oils and 100% soy candles. This is a great product combination since I have an article posting next week regarding essential oils and candles. To my surprise Olfactory’s owner, Nicole has a huge interest in plastic-free packaging. That’s why all of her products are made with compostable and recyclable materials. Even the product label is infused with seeds, which you can plant to grow herbs! I applaud Olfactory Archeology for caring about the environment while creating a product that is good for it.
Pure Genius Provisions
I originally met Pure Genius Provisions at Expo East last year when they launched their product. So I was excited to see them again, especially at such a local event. Their brownies are made with beans as its secret ingredient and are just as delicious as I remember last year. I wasn’t as crazy about the Deep Chocolate flavor as the Chocolate Chunk Blondie. For a sweet treat that tastes nothing like a bean, give this company a try.
VegTable is a new to me company caught my eye on the way out of the event. I had always been interested in meal plan subscription companies but always found they created a lot of plastic trash, that is until meeting VegTable. They offer meal ingredients that are packaged in 100% post consumer plastic and plant-based plastic. Along with a biodegradable icepack, their meat-free meals are created for two people and can be purchased as a subscription for one or three weekly meals. I think this is a great idea for those who want to expand their cooking skills but worry about package waste.
Aside from the above companies I featured above, I’d like to mention that there were many vendors who were promoting their animal sanctuaries. Marty’s V Burger was also in attendance and deserve extra credit because of the power issues they had to deal with while getting burgers ready. They have great food, which I previously tried at NYC Green Festival in April. At that time burgers were super tasty and the mac and cheeze had great flavor, just a tad overcooked.
This event is a great idea and New Jersey could use another event like this one. I just wish it had been in a larger venue for some more breathing room. Besides the vendors, the event also offered a short film during the event and different talks throughout the day. Unfortunately neither of them I attended. The organizers are already planning a vegan food truck event for 2017 and have lots of inquiries about this same event for next year. Perhaps they can make it an entire weekend, offering discount tickets at the end of the day. I hope they find some extra zerowaste ways to make this eco-event more sustainable. Perhaps hand stamps instead of wrist bracelets?