Pride: Springfield, Vt., event gives vegan twist to LGBTQ celebration

By FRANCES MIZE

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-16-2023 4:39 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — VINE, an animal rehabilitation organization that describes itself as “LGBTQ-led,” is scheduled to host a Pride event that also celebrates veganism, the practice of not eating animal products. 

VINE, which stands for “Veganism is the Next Evolution,” works “for social and environmental justice as well as for animal liberation,” the nonprofit’s website reads. The organization, which sits on around 100 acres, has an emphasis on rehabilitating roosters from cockfighting, and is home to nearly 600 animals, including cows, ducks, sheep and emus. 

The titular acronym has a second meaning: “Veganism is Not Enough.” “Rainbow-Palooza” is intended to combine VINE’s annual Veg Fest with Pride month, in an effort to expand VINE’s community to provide space for others searching for their own, said event speaker Aaron Almanza, director of the LGBT National Help Center.

“There is an LGBTQ community here, but it’s just very spread out,” said Almanza, who lives in Claremont. “Being able to provide a space for people to come meet each other is important, so they can know they’re not the only queer person in the village. In rural areas like this it’s hard to find your community.”

A variety of free, plant-based food will be available to festival attendees. Activities will include a decorate-your-own cupcake contest and a vegan cheese-making demonstration.

While Almanza himself isn’t vegan, he did “pick up the vegetarian challenge” for the month of June.

Almanza is set to be joined by speakers Brenda Sanders, co-founder of the AfroVegan Society — a Maryland-based nonprofit focused on food justice for low-income communities — and pattrice jones, co-founder of VINE. 

The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 24, from noon to 5 p.m., at 21 Fairground Road in Springfield, Vt.

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Frances Mize is a Report for America corps member. She can be reached at fmize@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.