At Twin Cities Veg Fest, we host several speakers who speak about animals and legislation, plant-based nutrition, animal ethics, and more. Meet our speaker coordinator, Annette Gaudreau, who recruits and schedules these wonderful advocates. We don’t have a picture of her, so if you want to see her, come to the festival!
How did you get interested in advocating for animals?
I became a vegetarian at 17 because I hated the idea of killing animals, and became vegan 2 years ago. I’ve volunteered at animal shelters for years and joined CAA four years ago. I wanted to raise awareness that you can eat a delicious, nutritious, fully satisfying meal without contributing to harming animals.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
Meeting so many wonderful people who also care about animals welfare. Also, vegan chocolate candy!
What are you most looking forward to at Twin Cities Veg Fest?
That’s a toss up between the speakers who are always informative and compassionate, the food which just gets more amazing every year, and the oh so friendly people who attend. I love handing a non-veg attendee a vegan food sample and seeing their reaction (“wow, I didn’t really know what to expect but this is really good!”).
What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?
The Vegan/Vegetarian movement is growing. The cause of animal welfare is being heard at a political level unlike even 10 years ago. More people are becoming aware of the plight of farm-raised animals and even non-veg folks are starting to speak up about this injustice.
Imagine you’re talking to somebody who isn’t vegetarian and is, um, a little afraid of you. What would you say to them to convince them to come to the festival?
You won’t believe how tasty vegan food can be. It’s not all granola and raw carrots. There is food from so many countries and so tasty you won’t even miss the meat (and you’ll say “wanna bet?” and I’ll say “just try it”). You won’t believe the variety of vendors! There are tons of cool and clever t-shirts for sale. Body/bath products! Baby products! Free food samples galore! Everyone is truly welcoming and you won’t feel out of place at all.
What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?
I scuba dive, ride my bike (bike trail 1/2 block from my house), ride horses (helps that family members own some), refinish furniture, reading (I upload new books to my Kindle so often I don’t think I’ll ever read all of them!), cook (I have several friends who serve as willing guinea pigs for new recipes).
What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?
While diving I got to hold a shark!
What’s your favorite vegetable?
One? OK, well that’s not even a fair question! Grilled asparagus wrapped with soy bacon, roasted tomatoes filled with quinoa, nutritional yeast and spices, eggplant and tomatoes cooked with red wine and vegan mozzarella, broccoli and cauliflower in an alfredo sauce. Ok, thanks,now I’m hungry.