Twin Cities Veg Fest has seen an explosion in our social media this year, and Brita Bengtson is behind the magic. Let’s get to know her!
How did you get interested in advocating for animals?
I first went vegetarian at age twelve and then vegan a few years after that. Back then, I thought animal advocacy had to involve memorizing lots of facts like how many pounds of wheat it takes to make a pound of meat. I wasn’t very successful in my efforts, and for many years I decided to be content with the fact that I was eating a plant-based diet and minimizing how I was personally harming animals.
For various reasons, I decided to get back into animal advocacy in 2011 which led to me being on the committee for the very first Twin Cities Veg Fest. I’ve been involved with TCVF and various other CAA projects since then. Through my work with CAA, I know now that animal advocacy is not about memorizing and spouting mind-numbing facts; it’s about engaging with people about the compassion that’s already in their hearts and showing them how easy and rewarding it can be to embrace their empathy and live their compassionate values.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
Oh, the food, for sure. Should I also admit that I attend committee meetings for the food? The one I missed was the one with vegan donuts. I learned my lesson and won’t miss anymore.
What are you most looking forward to at Twin Cities Veg Fest?
I’m excited to see if the attendance numbers double or triple. Are we ready? [Editor: YES WE ARE!]
What are some of the ways people can use social media to promote the festival?
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. RSVP to the event on Facebook and invite your friends. Like and share our posts. Create your own posts about Twin Cities Veg Fest, hashtag them #TCVegfest2014 and #CelebrateCompassion. We also encourage people to take photos of their favorite food products and local restaurant food they want to see at Twin Cities Veg Fest and hashtag those posts #TCVegFestWantsYou .
What makes you optimistic about the animal advocacy movement?
I think it’s cool that billionaires like Bill Gates and others are investing heavily in compassionate companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods. (Look for their products Beyond Eggs and Just Mayo!) They recognize that “the future of meat is vegan.” Being in the animal advocacy movement these days is like riding a wave, and it’s a lot of fun.
What hobbies do you enjoy (besides devouring tasty vegan food)?
Would it be weird to say one of my hobbies is social media? I love posting to my own personal Instagram account @britamaia and that highlights most of what I do in my free time… go to music shows, bike around, take in the sights, travel, enjoy my companion animals, and of course I also take photos of delicious vegan food (which I then devour).
What’s a fun experience that you’ve had with a non-human animal?
I try to go to animal sanctuaries whenever I get the chance. Luckily, we have one right here in Minneapolis called Chicken Run Rescue. At my last visit there, I spent some time with Cal, a rooster who lost his feet to frostbite. It was clear to me that he loves his life, and I enjoyed sharing part of it with him, if only for an afternoon.
What’s your favorite vegetable?
I really like them all except for green beans. I guess I would say avocado is my favorite even though I know it’s technically a fruit.