The Veg­gie Con­nec­tion

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The Veg­gie Con­nec­tion is a se­ries of net­work­ing 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 fes­ti­vals 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 en­tre­pre­neur who saw a need in the plant- based com­mu­nity and was in­spired to star t host­ing 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.

Hi La­teefah, thanks for talk­ing with us to­day. For those who are un­fa­mil­iar with your events, what ex­actly is The Veg­gie Con­nec­tion and how did it star t?

The Veg­gie Con­nec­tion is a se­ries of small, in­ti­mate events where peo­ple get a chance to con­nect with one an­other 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.

Be­ing from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, I no­ticed the same thing was hap­pen­ing in my own home­town of Ran­cho Cu­ca­monga, so that’s where we held our se­cond event, “The In­land Em­pire 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 in­cluded 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 Cu­ca­monga, 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:

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