Vegan Faire

Vegan Faire 1 July 2017Healthy Junk Vegan Faire in Anaheim, CA. Photo by M.C.

In July 2017, Anaheim hosted the glorious Fourth Annual Healthy Junk Vegan Faire. Fresh flower scents waft through the air from natural product vendors on the palm-tree lined street.

This is not the movement of the old, shirtless tan hippie who eats sunflower seeds and smells like he hasn’t bathed in a week. The new hippie is a millennial with washed hair, some tattoos, some conservatively dressed, and many beautiful women with trendy makeup.

The crowd is intent on eating. The line to the Mexican food must be an hour wait at least. The beer garden still has room to spare, but it is early. Fresh pineapple ginger juice is a refresher while waiting in line for Veganation’s faux fried chicken and fries. Honestly, I can’t finish the dish because I’m not used to fried food.

Next year, instead of eating, I’m headed toward the makeup and natural skin care products. The smells are like being in the Garden of Eden. Other vendors sell toothpaste, quality pleather purses, jewelry, cute clothes, and cool T-shirts, and some art. Of course, you will see the animal rights organizations for the whales and dolphins. Sea Shepherd’s Los Angeles Chapter represent.

From the stage, there are music and fun activities like hula hooping to get the crowd going. Children draw on walls of chalkboard and adults take selfies next to the rainbow of words on the black backdrop.

A couple of odd things are Tesla with its white leather seating. In the photo, you can see one of their cars on display. But apparently Tesla offers textile seating. It must have been pleather. Then we waited in line for Indian food. It is so crowded everyone has to ask what line they are in. As we get closer to the vendor we see chicken on the menu. Maybe it’s faux? So we switch to Veganation who clearly advertise their food as plant-based.

You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy the faire. Hopefully, we will all become aware of the torture and pain of animals and how we can have compassion through these events.

I think the Vegan Faire is going to get busier every year because it is so well organized, and there is something for everyone. Park at the free parking complex near City Hall to avoid the line of cars headed to the paid parking. Hope to see you next summer or find a vegan festival near you.

Vegan Faire, 201 W. Center St. Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805

Copyright 2017 Melissa Crismon


M/V Farley Mowat


Officer Marian on the M/V Farley Mowat. Photo by M.C.

Touring one of the Sea Shepherd ships is a rarity, one of the Los Angeles Chapter members says. The Marine Vessel Farley Mowat is docked in the San Diego Harbor for the Fourth of July weekend. Then the crew is off to Baja Mexico to have the small ship repaired. Marian, our tour guide and officer, said the ship isn’t expensive to buy, it’s the upkeep. Once the ship is repaired, they are back on the Sea of Cortez to help the vaquita porpoise and the totoaba bass.

The fishing villages lay gill nets in murky water, making it difficult for the vaquita to see. The Sea of Cortez is their only home. The totoaba bass gill nets end up with vaquita by-catch. The swim bladder is taken out of the bass, who are then thrown back into the sea. The bladder has purported medicinal and male virility enhancement value and is used in soup.

The Farley Mowat houses thirteen to eighteen crew members. Three of the crew left while three new members board. In the mess, Marian hugs one of the guys leaving. Comradery abounds from the volunteers on land to the crew. We get a private tour along with Kimberly, one of the new crew members. As an engineer is in the mess, I ask Marian about romance aboard ship. Passion is the first question of any good romance writer. Marian passes the question to the engineer who says, “Oh #@$%!” I take it as things haven’t always ended his way but then he says, “We’re a bunch of hippies.” I ask if the men and women sleep in separate areas. There is no privacy. The bunking is coed. Marian says, “We all know what each other looks like.” Ha!

We’re shown awesome footage of their 2016 Campaign Milagro in the Sea of Cortez. On the video the captain says, “Jacques Cousteau once called Mexico’s Sea of Cortez ‘the world’s aquarium.’” The stingrays leap out of the ocean. There are bass, humpback whales, sea turtles and dolphin. Then illegal nets are pulled out with some of these dead creatures. A female crew member on the video expresses that the marine mammals have been dead for days in the net, and it smells like nothing she’s smell before.

Up and down narrow ladders, we meander through the living quarters to the bridge to the stern where the panga boat is kept. Processed nets are in a bag. When on campaign they find the nets sometimes at night I believe then bring them in from the bow. They eventually cut the nets and bag them near the stern. Adidas make shoes out of the nets!

Sea Shepherd relies on generous donations from vegan food to money. The local San Diego and Los Angeles chapters are selling Sea Shepherd merchandise on the quay. There are books by Capt. Paul Watson, T-shirts, hats, stickers and more that will go to help with things like gas for the Farley Mowat and Sea Shepherd in general.

This is the warmest, most passionate group of people. One story the L.A. Chapter lady told me really stuck with me. She said the Sea Shepherd organization is all over the world. It’s not just about the whales. In Washington State, sea lions are being branded then shot the third time they are caught with salmon. This is legal for the fishermen to shoot the sea lions if caught. They catch the sea lions, cage them, brand them then eventually shoot them. (A reminder to not eat fish.)

Sea Shepherd is wherever they can be actively stopping the killing of marine life. If you’d like to donate to Operation Milagro, follow this link to Sea Shepherd or go visit the M/V Farley Mowat in the San Diego Harbor near the Star of India ship from 9 to 5 through Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Parking on the pier is $20 for all day, which will give you time to eat nearby, tour the U.S.S. Midway and walk Seaport Village or the Gaslamp District. Your donation is worth the entertaining tour. Happy Fourth of July!

Copyright 2017 Melissa Crismon