The Kaw Valley Seed Fair is held at the Douglas County Fair Grounds
Unlike many of the booths there, my booth wasn't selling anything -- just giving away free vegan food samples, recipes, information and little packets of kale seeds (below) from my garden that I had packaged on paper hearts inscribed with inspiring quotes. I LOVED the seed fair. I spent a week preparing for the event, and the positive response that I got from so many there, made it feel very worth my time. The food I provided was the only really healthy gluten-free vegan food at the fair, and many told me how important that was In making them feel welcome at this event. My information, pamphlets, and newsletters were for some, their first exposure to the science showing just how powerful plant based diets can be in preventing or reversing diabetes, or heart disease and even some cancers.
For myself and many of the vegans who came to the fair, the presence of booths there selling meat, dairy and eggs was disturbing. At the very least It certainly was not welcoming for those who find killed animals and products of exploitation of other female bodies offensive.
But it never occurred to me that by simply promoting non-violence, environmental sustainability, and health, and responding to the questions people posed, I would find myself deliberately excluded from participating in this event, which they claim is because I supposedly made a child cry when I told them about the violence involved in eating meat. An unnamed vendor claims to have overheard me talking to a child and her mother and complained to the seed fair, and without ever informing me of this, they proclaimed me, “not family friendly” and decided I could not table this year. As far as I know, the mother never made a complaint. Since my message was clear from a distance, any parent wishing me to not discuss this with their child could have easily avoided me.
What makes this all the more troubling to me, is that the seed fair board are not a group of intolerant fundamentalists trying to exclude a pro-gay message, (The usual folks who invoke, "not family friendly" in order to restrict expression of ideas that they disagree with.) But people who probably share many progressive values with me like inclusiveness, nonviolence, tolerance for differing points-of-view, that it is an act of responsible citizenship to non-violently challenge injustice, that it is wrong to cause unnecessary harm to animals, and that it is unjust to prohibit the free, honest respectful speech of others simply because it challenges ideas or traditions that they are very attached to.
Meat, dairy and egg sellers are allowed to promote the exploitation and killing of animals at a the SEED FAIR, But when a vegan points out the violence inherent in supporting or consuming these products, the vegan gets expelled for being, “not family friendly” and “unwelcoming!
Upon hearing what happened, one of my friends had this to say:
" It is astounding to me how people hide behind a disingenuous “concern” for children to avoid the truth. What they are really afraid of is their children asking them questions they just don’t want to deal with or face. Children see the truth and they can handle it quite well. Additionally astounding to me is how adults can abuse children ad infinitum with lies, without even blinking, but if another person offers their child the slightest inkling of truth, they rail against the “damage” we are dealing them. It is their own fragile psyche they are protecting, not their child's very fit one. "
And another friend shared this article about similar types of pushback experienced by the author of several very popular children's books including, "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals." Fortunately the Lawrence Public Library doesn't try to prohibit this message from children there.
My daughter had this to say, “This situation highlights an example of pushback from the locovore and “happy” exploitation movement and how people are so attached to violent traditions that they will find any excuse to hang their hat on to exclude the voice of those advocating principled veganism and justice.”
[This was a revised (shortened) version of the article I posted yesterday, if you’d like to read the original article, with much more detail, it is posted here.]
[If you would like to read my commentary about the 2015 Seed Fair -- including the question that I wished I had asked the conscientious omnivores who stopped by my table, you can read that post here]
Seed Fair Organizer's Contact Info Can Be Found HERE.