12th International Vegan Festival, 2009 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

reports, photos, videos:

Photos on IVU Facebook

Report by Zalan Glen (organiser of the 9th IVF)

Immersed in an extended vegan environment, meeting new friends and renewing acquaintances; a natural communication, support and openness, brings flashes of awareness and fleeting visions. Imagine how a continuous expression of kindness and compassionate values could enhance all of our lives.

These 4 days of fun and sharing in the exotic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, were a fantastic fountain of vegan energy and commitment on behalf of veganism. This was an extremely well organized and conducted event; facilitated by Marley Winkler and the Vegan Society of Brazil (SVB), with assistance from a host of volunteers.

With over 400 participants and representatives from 13 countries, the international flavor complemented the wonderful hospitality and willingness of the Brazilian vegans.

The setting at 'PUC Rio', the Catholic University, was in a sub-tropical landscape with a sheltered open air location for the Cultural Fair and an outdoor demonstration and seating area in the shade of huge fig, jackfruit, nut and native trees.

Access to organizers, facilities, lecture rooms and halls was easy with the venue itself sited near the botanical gardens and the famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

With an average of 18 talks, 2 food demonstrations, a separate 1 day nutrition intensive, and an on going 4 day live food presentation and workshop, we were spoilt for choice. Some people travelled for 3 days to get to the festival.

A couple of food stalls provided simple wholesome sustenance, while acaia and coco juices were at hand as was the University snack bar; and occasional spoils from the food demonstrations.

One of many highlights, especially for raw-fooders were the group Terrapia, who with enthusiastic volunteers were running the Live food course. Their work over the last decade has been to research and educate people about the values of live food. It carries funding from a University, with grass roots support from members and the public, and is an inspiration for individuals and public health programs alike.

The cultural fair had a range of information from activist groups, cruelty free products, literature and film. Some dress accessories, unmistakably vegan motifs, and a range of clothing with a fabric made from 50% cotton and 50% recycled plastic bags!

Whereas an extensive music and dance component was included at IVF11 in India, it was not part of this festival. Here in Rio, entertainment is available on a 24 hour basis. The Brazilians love music and dance - big time!

There was a well attended and very successful action to the steps of Parliament, and we heard a first hand account of an activist's life inside a rodeo ring! The 'Vegan Activist of the Year' Award was presented to Bianca, amid sustained applause.

A strong academic presence was maintained throughout the program, with excellent presentations in the areas of ethics, animal rights, philosophy, animal activism, environment, justice and legislation, and of course politics.

Nederland's Parliamentary members of the 'Party for the Animals', were present; giving insight and critical advice into establishing political party. Combined with the introduction of 'Meat free' days in various cities, paving of the public highways and byways ready for a vegan influence has begun.

Individuals extracted the 'skin and bones' from veganism, with discussions and stirring input on kindness, activism, radical veganism, 'sunfire' cuisine, history, vegan awareness, spirituality, lifestyle, and vegan culture.

Daily yoga, meditation with a didgeridoo, laughter workshops, and film presentations, a fashion show and poster exhibition were held; all supplementing the cultural fair. A country report was presented by international visitors. The full program is available, and can be accessed from www.svb.org.br.

Some 200 people gathered at the happy/sad closing ceremony; joining hands and stepping in time for peace and compassion, prior to the group picture. Many hugs later, filled with a rekindled enthusiasm, we dispersed into a drizzly Rio evening.

The festival here demonstrated the unbridled optimism which arises when truths are exposed; an infectious optimism evident in the extended vegan community; supporting individuals, both vegan and non-vegan, for the experience of compassionate living.

I believe the input from everyone attending the event was important, and I hope to see you at IVF13, wherever and whenever that may be.

Obregado to all, Take Care and Give Care, Paz Zalan. IVF12 A Personal Perspective

by Zalan Glen July09

Introduction

I am gradually feeling the sense of balance returning, after the hyperactivity for which vegan festivals are renowned.

The internet and therefore the world will be deluged with photos by now. What follows is a personal vegan journey; being penned from Ipanema beach, with the sun shining and the tubes rolling in.

With over 192 million people, Brazil is the world's 5th largest country, responsible for large tracts of the Amazon, and a history rich in Indios, Portugese, and African culture.

A penchant for football and dance and music and beach; the tendency in tropical regions to live outside, rather than inside offers daily reinforcement to the values of personal and environment health as natural phenomena.

The level of technology of course embraces all fields, but the friendliness and charm of a casual greeting and conversation with strangers is integrated into the lifestyle; a great asset for the international, Ingles' speaking visitor.

With the Amazon such an important ingredient in the health of the global village, it is essential for the Vegan massage to be clearly and loudly annunciated here in Brazil itself. This has been understood by all I have met here, vegan or not, and I take this as a true affirmation of the will of people.

Unfortunately, greed and self interest, even in the face of community wisdom, still have the balance of power. The foolish administrators, powerful political interests, dominant paradigms, and consumerist lifestyles, and just plain arrogance and ignorance, with an adherence to the economic model, will be moved on, no doubt.

Thank goodness for SVB and their dedicated role in the consciousness raising process. After a hectic 4 day International festival, the organizers were traveling to Sao Paulo for another major National Event. For those who may happen to be interested, please note there will be a 3rd National Brazil Festival from 23rd to 26th September 2010, at Porte Allegro.

The Terrapia live food diet model, with similar programs for other vegan cuisine, need to be supported at both the academic and public health levels, in all countries. A redefinition of healthy food and access to a successful program can now be sourced. See www4.ensp.fiocruz.br/terrapia.

The question of attendance at International Festivals was raised, in relation to environmental footprint. Face to face contact is an essential aspect of our humanity in this world of technological communication. One can see progress in many areas of the vegan way by scanning the internet, but the apparent depth and commitment is dramatically enhanced when we shake hands and hug and laugh and share our personal stories.

The sense of riding a wave of enthusiasm is ever present when we get together such a tide of like minds, but the power and momentum of 65 years of veganism has generated, is approaching tsunami proportions. We are seeing amazing repercussions and benefits, from this flow of compassion for the people animals and the environment.












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