Dia de los Verdes & Food Day in Long Beach, CA

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This past Saturday, I had the amazing privilege of attending the Dia de Los Verdes & Food Day Celebration in the beautiful Long Beach, CA. Dia de los Verdes and Food Day were actually two separate events held by different organizations that merged their efforts into a collaborative event. In honor of the city of Long Beach participating in Food Day for its second year, Green Long Beach, Squeeze Art Collective, The Growing Experience, and many more organizations, vendors, and community members joined to fill the day with fun, learning, and of course, food!

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Before walking into the event, which was held in the majestic and lovely Growing Experience Urban Farm (pictured below), I knew very little about what “sustainable food” really meant. I came to learn that sustainable food is food that is produced safely and humanely, distributed fairly and effectively and disposed of responsibly.

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There were so many resources for education about the production and disposal of food and how to be mindful of waste in general. One table that caught my attention was that of Zero Waste LA (dontwastela.org), a new system for waste and recycling that is soon t come to Los Angeles.

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In keeping with the “Dia de Los Muertos” theme, there were also beautiful and creative altars throughout the event. Food Day Long Beach organized the Food Day event aspect:

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One of my favorite parts of the day was the vegetable pickling demonstration. We were shown how to pickle just about anything. The demonstrator just used his favorite vegetables, apple cider vinegar, and Himalayan pink salt. Some jars he said he’d had for 2 or 3 years!

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Next I watched a cooking demonstration for a creative cauliflower stir fry recipe. The cauliflower was processed to serve as a substitute for rice, then stir fried with mixed veggies, ginger, olive oil and soy sauce. Absolutely delicious

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The vendors present at the Food Day all had one thing in common: they all served vegan dishes and treats exclusively. My first stop was at The Caffeinated Kitchen for the most delicious vegan donuts I’ve ever had. Well, it was actually my first vegan donut but it will most certainly not be my last! I had the pecan praline donut, and it was absolutely delightful. It managed to be cakey (probably because of the fact it was baked rather than fried), yet still very light and fluffy.

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Next, I made my way to Southern Fried Vegan: completely southern vegan food! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about whether or not a vegan twist would take all the yum out of a traditionally southern meal, but I was pleasantly surprised. The way SFV works if you choose different items to go into a single bowl. I had a combination of jambalaya (made with vegan sausage), collard greens, and fried “chickun”. And had I not spied the “u” spelled in “chickun”, I’m sure I wouldn’t have known the difference.

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Later, I stopped by the Falasophy food truck,  a mobile falafel and hummus bar. Filled to the brim. However, I opted for their spicy garlic fries as a snack. They were flavorful and packed a bit of a tangy kick that was right up my alley.

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What was most impressive about Dia de Los Verdes & Food Day was the incredible sense of community I felt there. But then again, has anything in history been known to bring people together more than food?

Briana

With a sweet tooth like mine it’s a wonder I have any more teeth at all. As a child I was absolutely enchanted candy and dessert; I often made the claim to my mother that although dinner had made me so full I could not finish, there was a special compartment in my stomach especially for dessert that was empty and hungry! She never believed it. Now that I am older, baking is one of my favorite hobbies right up there between writing and knitting. In all of these things I find the same satisfaction of taking what’s raw and disconnected and making something whole and new. The act of taking a group of ingredients and turning them into a sweet smelling, decadent dessert both excites and relaxes me all at the same time. And just like with writing, I also find joy in being creative and inventive when baking and cooking. Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways to take fruit (what I like to call “nature’s candy”) and turning it into healthy yet still satisfying desserts. I have an adventurous palette and have always been open to trying any and everything. I am excited to share what fun, new things I discover in my own kitchen and in the array of eclectic cuisine that Southern California has to offer!

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