Raise Vegan October 2018 Raise Vegan - Page 31

H ​ i Lateefah, thanks for talking with us today. For those who are unfamiliar with your events, what ex- actly is The Veggie Connection and how did it start? The Veggie Connection is a series of small, intimate events where people get a chance to connect with one an- other on a professional and personal level. It all started when I did a twenty-day herb detox back in 2008 to help adopt a plant-based diet. I felt that people shouldn’t have to travel far to attend events that are usually only held in the major cities. It was something I experienced first hand living in [a small town in] Georgia and I had to travel to the nearest city, Atlanta, for events. In 2015, the first The Veggie Connection was held in Smyrna, GA. The Veggie Connection The Veggie Connection is a series of net- working events in California and Georgia that aims to connect influential members of the plant-based community with the general public. Their goal is to create awareness, educate, and have fun through small, intimate gatherings. It’s an entirely different experience than the usual festi- vals and conferences where you will see speakers on a stage, but the audience is unable to ask questions. The Veggie Connection is the brainchild of Lateefah Smith, a vegan mom and entre- preneur who saw a need in the plant-based community and was inspired to start host- ing events to bring like-minded individuals together. We had the chance to speak with Lateefah about her growing business and how it’s changing the vegan movement. Being from Southern California, I noticed the same thing was happen- ing in my own hometown of Rancho Cucamonga, so that’s where we held our second event, “The Inland Em- pire Edition,” in 2016. What can one expect at a The Veggie Connection event? We try to sit in a circle with the main guest speaker, giving everyone a chance to interact. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable experience, and suited for the veggie novice or the seasoned vegan. Some of our past guests have includ- ed Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary and Genesis Butler from A Vegan Child’s Journey. [The experience] varies depending on the event you attend. We strive to make the events fun and inclusive, [we try to touch on] all the diverse reasons people choose a plant-based lifestyle. Our next event is in Rancho Cu- camonga, CA in early 2019. You can sign up on the website for tickets and details. To find out more about upcoming The Veggie Connection events visit: www.theveggieconnection.com @theveggieconnection RAISEVEGAN.COM Raise Vegan 31