Last week we met at a little bar in Montmartre to talk shop, and Aurelia told me about an upcoming event in Paris called Vivez Nature. It's billed as a "Salon d'Agriculture Biologique" (organic agriculture expo) and sounded a lot like a smaller version of Expo West, a giant trade show I used to attend when I worked at VegNews. So, this past Sunday--a gloriously warm and sunny Indian summer day--I pedaled over to La Villette see how the French do this sort of thing.
After this somewhat interesting start, things slowed down to a boring crawl. The animal rights booths gave way to a bland series of essential oil vendors, soap stalls, and book booths selling hundreds of titles on various esoteric subjects, all seemingly written by the same author (?), among them "Urinotherapie." (I don't really even want to know what that is.)
Things became mildly interesting again when we got to the food aisle; here we found superfood chocolate, vegan cookies, natural wines, and organic breads made from non-GMO grains. Like every other event I've been to where free samples were being handed out, the masses descended upon the poor folks doing the distributing like famished zombies, spawning copy-cat behavior in everyone within grabbing distance.
I finally caught up with Aurelia at the Association Vegetarienne de France booth. She was mobbed, too. A wonderful sight to see is a mass of French people crowded around a booth offering information on veganism, animal rights, and environmental issues.
This isn't an event I'd pay to attend, but I'm glad I went, if only to have tasted this delicious palm oil-free, eggless noisette flour cookie made with vegan chocolate chips. Miam!