As I find myself deep in preparation for the third annual SoCal VegFest Oct. 28 and 29 at the Orange County Fairgrounds, I smiled as I remembered an interesting encounter on the way to checking out the festival site this year. You see, there were some vegetables and fruits hitchhiking and so I naturally picked them up (they were in season and, therefore, safe to pick). After they settled into the passenger’s seat, I found them to be quite chatty, as you’ll soon see. — Maryam Arjona, VegFest Event Director
Radish: We’ve got a booth at the SoCal VegFest. Can you take us that far?
Maryam: That’s exactly where I’m going. Hop in!
Artichoke: Thanks for picking us up. You’re obviously a friend to the vegetable and the fruit.
Maryam: Absolutely. If you’re real food, I’m going to eat you!
Maryam: That’s okay, right?
Pomegranate: Yes, that’s what we live for. You just surprised us with your passion.
Maryam: I love the high vibration I get from a vegan diet. Especially if you’re organic.
Okra: If the minerals are in the soil, we’ll give it to you!
Broccoli: Aren’t you going to pick up some protein, too?
Maryam: That’s a trick question because…I already did. You, for instance, have tons of protein, and I’m also a huge fan of protein-rich lentils, garbanzo beans, peas, nuts and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and wheat.
Okra: We basically just fell off a turnip truck, so we don’t know too much about the SoCal VegFest. Will we find our kind of people?
Maryam: Absolutely. There’s vegans, vegetarians, veg-curious and veg-friendly folks who want to expand into a cleaner, healthier diet.
Okra: So we’ll be in good hands—and good stomachs?
Maryam: I’m the Event Director, so I should know. It’s a vegan food and lifestyle festival from Oct. 28-29. There will be a vegan marketplace, guest speakers, cooking demos, live music, a Halloween costume contest, kids’ area and, of course, a delicious potpourri of vendors, food booths and food trucks so you can sample it all.
Okra: Do you need volunteers?
Maryam: Yes! Give us a shout if you’re interested in contributing or are curious about a vegan lifestyle by contacting me at socalvegfest.org—I will respond.
Okra: Will there be live music and entertainment the entire time?
Maryam: You’re really good at asking the right question. Yes, we’ll have entertainment at all times.
Okra: I’ve been told I’m the Okrah Winfrey of vegetables. Are you still accepting vendors and sponsors?
Maryam: We’re still accepting applications. All vendors are welcome, as long as only vegan products are being showcased and sold.
Okrah: When should vendors sign up?
Maryam: As soon as possible. We are limiting the number of same-type vendors.
Okrah: How many humans are you expecting?
Maryam: About 20,000 over one weekend!
Okrah: Is it a family-friendly event?
Maryam: Absolutely. We have a complete area geared just for kids. We even have a Halloween Costume Contest, so please come in costume.
Okrah: I’m just curious, Where can humans purchase tickets?
Maryam: At www.SoCalVegFest.com.
Okrah: How can humans stay tuned to what you’re up to?
Maryam: Follow me on Instagram: @VeganCouture_
Winter squash: Were you always vibrating like this?
Maryam: I started researching and learning about the science behind the root causes of ailments and it didn’t take long to see how food plays a huge role in what direction our health goes. I lost my sister to cancer, and I wish I knew then what I know now. Every time we eat, we are either contributing to our health or to disease. Once I had that knowledge, there was no going back. Plus, if you’re up for a rewarding challenge, you can check out my 21-day Cleanse at VeganCouture.com.
Green Bean: What’s one piece of advice you would give to a new bean—I mean human being?
Maryam: Be open to new ideas, do everything to take care of your health and never stop learning.
SoCal VegFest is run by a group of dedicated volunteers as a project of Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL), a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization.