Barb and Deva had fruitful conversations (no pun intended) with hundreds of shelter staff, volunteers, and board members eager to learn more about adopting veg menus for their events. They spread the word about Food for Thought's exciting event and policy grants while exhibiting and during a special "round-table" breakfast session on budget-friendly plant-based fundraising events. Deva and Barb were pleased to note more conference attendees than ever mentioning that they had vegan coworkers, board members, or volunteers and that they were already thinking of and/or planning a plant-based event for their organization.
The week culminated for our intrepid coordinators in a special bonus session called Adopt an animal-friendly food policy to save more lives. During this session, Deva gave an impactful and interactive presentation about the why's behind adopting an animal-friendly menu policy. Panelist Josephine (Josie) Morris, Food and Nutrition Specialist of Forward Food presented some eye-opening statistics on animals raised for food in the United States as well as highlighting the work Forward Food is doing with food service professionals and other industries. Stephanie Shain, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Rescue Alliance. rounded out the panel with an inspirational real-world overview of the process of adopting a board-approved vegan menu policy. Barb and Josie each demoed a recipe, as well! Find Barb's Smoky Okie Vegan Jambalaya recipe here.
The entire Food for Thought team was excited for the opportunity to present at Expo and we look forward to next year's conference in San Antonio, Texas! Of note: HSUS itself has implemented a vegan menu policy, and as a result, provided delicious and eye-pleasing vegan buffets throughout the conference. And for meals that were not included, they offered a guide in the app to many veg-forward or entirely plant-based eating establishments throughout the New Orleans area. Deva and Barb may have found a few of these while exploring the Big Easy in their spare time!