Same City Field Trip: Portland’s Better Living Show & Vegan Village

What better time to start putting together a recap about a visit to the Better Living Home and Garden Show than a Boltbus with shaky but semi-reliant WiFi out-of-town? I’m now back home and just last night, started a batch of chocolate liqueur using the organic Frontier Co-op cacao nibs I picked up at the show (yeah, samples!). I’ll include that easy breakdown p on a future posting, but it’s basically the photo below put into a jar:

Fast forward two months, and these vanilla beans, cacao nibs and golden rum will be chocolate liqueur.
Fast forward two months, and these vanilla beans, cacao nibs and golden rum will transform into chocolate liqueur.

Apparently the largest sustainable lifestyle event in the Northwest, the Better Living Show is just that, a free tradeshow focused on bringing in inspiring vendors to help one “make choices you feel good about”.  As a renter and non-driver, many of the booths didn’t hold much interest to me, personally, but my inner event planner and curious vegan took it all in. Of course, my primary goal was clear: finally checking out the buzzed-about Vegan Village. The Village, which includes Northwest Veg and likely has much of their members’ interest to thank for its popularity, has grown to an entire nook of the exhibit hall, and featured vegan-friendly and exclusively vegan companies, from kombucha makers and raw chocolatiers, chip and hemp seed vendors, and tasty samples from favorite and familiar staples like Earth Balance and Coconut Bliss. To consider the look on hundreds of attendees’ faces as they tried Mama Chia’s beverages for the first time!  I should have stood in the corner and experienced the…joy (but really, I enjoy the stuff) and created a Youtube sensation.

‘Vegan Village’ factor, being the complimentary smoked paprika and super generous cacao nubs from Frontier Organics.

I attended with team VVC to get some more inspiration for our own Exhibitor Area (crazy true, we’re less than 2 months away) and we met up with the Legume sisters, who happened to be next door for a bike show. I think their favorite part was the puppies.

Here are my highlights:

Cacao nibs and smoked paprika, oh my.

It’s like the Frontier rep. knew these two would make me swoon (market research, much?)

The SWAG/entrance bag included a vegan coconut granola bar from Nature’s Path

I worked professional tradeshows for years and just may have a problem passing on complimentary grocery totes.

Earth Balance: Coconut Peanut Butter

I picked up a jar of this spread a couple of months ago and it’s quite nice in a peanut sauce.

Puffs and Pops! 

I’ve tried the full line of new Earth Balance pops and puffs, which is really fun to say, and just as fun to snack on.

Raw chocolate

This vendor broke my heart a little, because they had a full line of raw chocolates, which looked lovely, and a little sign that said “Nut allergies? Just ask” or something of the sort. Here I was, thinking they must have had one nut-free, but alas, it was just to keep me away. More for Janessa!

The full spread.

The Vegan Village enthusiasts (and I do believe, creators) and long-time Northwest Veg supporters: Chef Al and Donna B.

Donna & Chef Al
Cappucino Bliss, don’t mind if i do.
Manitoba Hemp Hearts rule my granola.
RUNA Tea: very clean & refreshing
J. Legume and A. Legume
An education show.
Tofutown pates & spreads
Really, Tofutown means….Soyatoo!

Although, I must admit I will likely not forget my grudge of non-working canisters on T-day.

I’ve got one thing to say about this set-up: skip the plastic black plates. 

Smudge, smudge, smudge, seitan.

I’d like one of these, sure.
Coincidentally next door, although it made me realize I didn’t see any mention of biking at the sustainable living show….

As much as I adore VegFests and what they offer, it was nice to walk around an exhibit hall and breathe with a different perspective!

Here are some culinary dishes I’ve been working on:

Division Street Pho Chay: getting ready to simmer stock
Bitters #4
Coconut Bacon with a hint of balsamic: more to come. 

Salty, smokey bandwagon, check.


  1. I wish we had something like that here, it would be so fun to walk around and sample vegan bits and bobs! Looks like a blast, and I can’t wait to hear more about coconut balsamic bacon.

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