Saturday, October 6, 2012

INVSOC at Eco Festival 2012

Transition Towns Spring Eco Festival 2012 has arrived!

Unlike last year, where I literally found out the day before the festival was going ahead (seriously!), txting Rebecca to ask if "maybe I could come to next years Festival?", and being allowed to join last minute with a borrowed table.....this year I planned ahead! :-)

I searched high and low for the perfect tablecloth, no more exposed formica this year!

INVSOC Green, matching our badges, and it was a steal at 13 NZ dollars from The Warehouse (NZ "Walmart") :-)

I decided to do it legit this year, getting official permits to give away food, swearing that I'd obey health and safety guidelines for food preparation.

Technically, I could have used a thing called a "laser printer" to print off a copy of the forms, then write on them with a thing called an "inked pen", and then walked to a thing called a "postal mail system box".  After fixing a "stamp" to the "envelope", all Invercargill mail is sorted in Dunedin, 200KM north......where it would then be sent back to the ICC building a few blocks from my house :-)

No, easier to physically walk to the ICC building, wait in line at the help desk, get an official visitors badge, be let in past the security cameras and doors, walk up four flights of stairs, to meet the person I'd been speaking to over the "telephone" after I left a message on the "automated voicemail system" and they "rang me back"........ pop back down the four flights of stairs, to fill out the form in the lobby's waiting area.

On completion, using a "pen" which I found somewhere, I handed my forms to the helpdesk, thanked them, and left with a smile of triumph firmly stapled on my face - sort of like this  :-D

Of course, I later found out through festival organiser Rebecca that we were all sort of automatically covered under the festivals "we promise to not spit in the food" agreement, and all my stair stepping was for nothing........but at least I got some cool bits of paper to place under my baking for this next photo! :-)

In total, I had five containers of muffins, Banana Chocolate Chip, Chocolate (with Cinnamon) and Lemon.  Over fifty in total, including those I actually baked during the festival as part of a "Vegan Muffin Baking" demonstration :-)

The Eco Festival has been held at the Stadium Southland Badminton Hall for the last two years.  Stadium Southland, as in the thing which collapsed in 2010 when a bit of snow landed on the roof!  See this terrific interview with Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt standing outside the wreck in bitter rain, host John Campbell has a great time laughing along :-)

Quimby: "its not the May-yors faultttttt.... that the stay-di-yum collapsed!"

Vastly overbudget (as in, at least twice the initial rebuild cost?) and constantly delayed, heres how Stadium Southlands main building stands:

Exposed seating bit on the diagonal has got to be good for the stadium, imagine all the birds flying in and nesting inside, the weather getting in!  

Not only is the very second letter of the sign slanted, "Southland" is missing an 'l'!  You'd think that would be one of the first things to fix, to nail the sign in place, make it look as nice as possible from the outside, while the inside is consistently delayed by woes such as "oh no, the steel beams which crapped out last time are being replaced with new ones which are too short, lets just weld a bit more in to make up the difference!"

The Velodrome (indoor cycle track) stands, just to the west of the closed Stadium.  Carpet for the badminton hall was apparently inside, I was told to walk in through the cyclists tunnel entrance, a curving concrete corridor, with those huge heavy plastic flaps you see in walk in freezers.  Though in that case, they keep the freeze in the freezer, in this case, they keep the heat inside the building.

I eventually popped out inside the actual wooden sloping track, with people in the seats all around looking down at me!  "Umm, am I in the right place?" :-)  

Yes, the terrific Terry Guyton was in the middle of the venue with his Parkour army, watching as a forklift loaded the rolls of carpet onto a trailer.  After cautiously stumbling through the plastic flapped tunnel, and emerging on the other side, I got to do it all in reverse, this time following a slow moving fork lift pulling a trailer topped in carpet!

Rolling out the (blue) carpet, over the Badminton courts.

The fantastic, and rather dated card scanning computer system for booking the badminton courts.  "If its broke, dont fix it", it has a wired mouse in a cubby hole below to click around the interface, no touch screens here!

Although, when the thing DOES break.....

The two computers on the other side of the wall

....and a shuttlecock box stuffed full of tarnished trophies!  "yeah, you done good kid, here, pick a trophy outta mah box"

Carpet rolled out, and unlike the 2011 Eco Festival, THIS time I was prepared:  the Invercargill Vegan Society had the first booked spot, and the first setup table :-)

Right by the entrance too :-) (bottom left corner)

Our table!  Russell (seen on the left, grey top) had a stall for SAFE next to the Invercargill Vegan Society table.  He focused on Veganism, it was great having a like minded table beside ours.  He let me use a pinboard he had for our INVSOC posters, on the end so people coming in would notice them.

One of our first visitors, in bright colourful clothing!

Posters, "Veganism: it's* doubleplusgood" and "World Vegan Day" draft design.  I like having the second line all lowercase, skipping the " ' " apostrophe.  One contracted word without mid punctuation deserves another, I always say!  The other INVSOC members?  Not so much.  We'll probably go with an apostrophe'd version.

Hellhound Hotdogs, a vegan streetcart in Australia.  Justin visited Invercargill earlier this year! :-)  We all had a great time, from seeing a male ballet, visiting Bluff at the very bottom of the South Island, to having a fantastic potluck, where he showed us how a REAL hotdog is made :-)

"It's Easy To Be Vegan!" by Emmy James :-)

Russell's table had great books, such as "The Pornography of Meat" by feminist Vegan author Carol Adams.

Russell at the SAFE stall (promoting Veganism), myself at the INVSOC stall (promoting Veganism)  Photo taken by Dan, first Vegan I ever met, on my Galaxy Nexus.  Apparently I was having a bad redeye day :-)

Russell's perfect iced cupcakes, vs my giant muffins:

As Mr Joseph S said, "Quantity has a quality all of its own" :-)

Wifi iPad tethered to my phone's data connection.  I showed the INVSOC website, photos and video of my Hen Friends.

A new Invercargill Vegan Society member, Luke!  I met Luke at the last Green Drinks meeting, after he saw a poster Dan put up at the hospital.  He's training to be a doctor, and plans to focus on nutrition.

Great to meet another Vegan living in Invercargill, and someone else who appreciates the virtuosity of mr Michael Jackson :-)

Audio of INVSOC members Russell and Luke about Eco Festival 2012 :-)

Michael Thomas of the Sustainable Building Alliance, one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet :-)

Audio of Michael Thomas about the Sustainable Building Alliance and Eco Festival 2012

The Hall was packed with fantastic stalls, from political parties, energy saving ideas, gardening, unusual bicycles, caring for native animals.....and a couple about Non Veganism, such as The Croft, who follow the teachings of Weston Price.  The stall was about drinking raw cows milk, and there are also beliefs about "bone broth", boiling bones for vitamins and nutrients inside.

I visited and "extended the olive branch" on behalf of the Invercargill Vegan Society, offering some of our muffins :-)  I knew that they disagreed with eating flour, with a laugh, I was offered a huge glass bottle of cows milk, which looked like pure fat.  We "agreed to disagree", and swapped pamphlets.

Dan "voila"-ing our cupcakes and muffins :-)

The terrific Grant Meikle of Sea Shepherd and a Hectors Dolphin protection group.  Pictured at our INVSOC stall, complete with Hectors Dolphins!

Audio of Grant Meikle talking about Eco Festival 2012

At 12 oclock, I gave a "Vegan baking demonstration".  Rather odd mixing ingredients out of a kitchen, with an audience of 8 or so people who'd followed the speaker systems directions to attend "my class" :-)

PA System audio

"How To Bake Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins" class audio, ha!  I dont expect you to listen to my awkward fumblings and stumblings for 17 minutes, its good for a laugh, but not quite 17 minutes of laugh(ter) :-)  Lots of dramatic folly sounds for the recording :-)   This fun recipe can be found on our website, the photos are more interesting than listening to my droning voice.

Highlights of the audio clip include explaining how Sanitarium is run by vegetarian-ish religious people, and answering a question "I thought baking usually didnt need as much mixing" with "True, I like a strong banana flavour so I've used a lot of potato masher-ed Banana, if you used less, it would be (quote) more spongy" :-)

30 minutes in the oven, ta-da!  Hot, steaming muffins, which were irresistible.  Almost literally "gone in 60 seconds", like the ~2 hour movie :-)  I took a photo with the piping hot muffins at our stall, then gave them to people who'd attended my workshop.

Greyhounds Down South, who rescue and take care of Greyhounds wrongfully used in the "racing" industry, rehoming them, almost like Rescued Hens.  I followed the parade of ~8 dogs to their workshop, and actually had to help one climb up the few stairs.  Being so neglected by their former "owners", they'd never really see stairs before, "didnt know how to walk up them"!  Seriously!  Similar to "farm" Hens who cannot actually walk when first saved, treated as a someone instead of a something.

Hollie Guyton, for All Good Bananas.  A quality fair trade product, which I used in our Banana Chocolate Chip muffins, and am proud to support on the INVSOC website :-)  Available from Pak n Save supermarket, while in stock! :-)

Audio of Hollie Guyton about All Good Bananas, and Eco Festival 2012

Hollie gave me a bag of popcorn, informing me that the bags with icing sugar were best.  Thanks Hollie :-)

Mention of patriarch Robert Guyton, friend of the Invercargill Vegan Society, although somewhat elusive.  


2012 Jordan at stall with 2011 Jordan at stall :-)  

The elusive Robert Guyton left a comment on last years blogpost......have our paths finally crossed, by the time of this 2012 Eco Festival??? :-)


I do indeed know Mr Terry Guyton, in fact, I interviewed him today about the 2012 Parkour display! :-)

Terry Guyton, on his mob of crazy athletes running about and jumping off every vertical surface they could find, they call it "parkour"

And Behold: the infamous Robert Guyton himself!

"And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!"

Robert caught mid "burble" :-)   Beside stands local Green Party candidate Dave Kennedy, vorpal blade hidden out of sight!

(Jabberwocky mention from Robert's account of attending an INVSOC potluck :-)   Our account of the historical occasion can be found here, INVSOC Potluck April 2012 )

Dave Kennedy has a surname destined to rule, he wouldnt go wrong with a Deputy Prime Minister R Guyton at his side!  

Mind you, best "beware the Second in Command JabberGuyton, Dave,
The Jaws that bite, the claws that catch!...".

Kennedy's tend not to stay in power for long, with or without treacherous deputy PM's eyeing the top job! :-)

Audio of Robert Guyton on Eco Festival 2012, and his fruit tree grafting workshop which involved sharp vorpal blades.

Robert Guyton has also written a blogpost about Eco Festival 2012 :-) 

Rachel at the Green Party stall :-)

I believe the right poster has a couple kids killing fish with a rod, tastefully covered using A3 posters?  Well played Green Party, cover your shame!  

I had a lovely time at the Transition Towns Spring Eco Festival 2012  :-)   Our bigger and better table looked nice, and seemed to go down well.  I received an email tonight from Lisa, who found our website after being given a (non profit organisation) card :-)

"Kia ora Jordan,
I met you at the Festival today. I just wanted to say that the website looks
great and the recipes very yummy. You have photographed them really well and
they are very easy to follow.
I am certainly going to try a few.

Thanks also for your kindness today with your muffin giveaways- most
Great that there is a Vegan Society in Invercargill- keep up the good work.



Thank you to Transition Towns Eco Festival organiser Rebecca Amunsden!  We'd been joking about people getting her name wrong, hence my stumble at the start of this clip

Rebecca Amunsden on Eco Festival 2012

Four vegans at the INVSOC table this year, Dan, Russell, Jordan and Luke.  A bold green table cloth, and Russells pinboard with attached posters, Vegan t shirts.  We truly outdid last years effort of one guy at a borrowed formica table!  Well done team! :-)

I look forward to the Spring Eco Festival 2013! :-)


  1. Looks like I was about to sit the dummy, Jordan. In fact, Dave had just squeezed my thigh and I was suppressing a scream!
    Hollie tells me your chocky (rhymes with...) muffins were marvelous and I know the conversation at your booth was scintillating, so well done, another successful public performance from the Vegan Maestro. Great blogpost, btw. I laughed and laughed. Put my skinny account to shame. Must try harder!

  2. Robert is actually a much more practiced politician than me, note his naughty rumour that is actually disproved by the fact that both my hands are in my pockets.

    Thank goodness for your muffins on the day, Jordan, they certainly helped to fortify me from the chilly conditions :-)

  3. I dunno Dave, an older woman turned down my offer of nice cupcakes or muffins. It always hurts to have something you've made yourself (or Russell has made himself) turned down, but this especially so - "I'm GIVING you something lovely, no strings attached, I stayed up late last night mixing and pouring and oven-ering! You're rejecting an offer of unconditional love!!!!!!" :-)

    I asked her "are you sure, they're free" with a smile on my face, aware that telling someone your Unconditional Love Muffins are free makes you look desperate to be rid of the blasted things!

    ".....I consider them.........POISON...." and she turned her back to me, walking away.

    Turns out she has a "thing" against using flour, not that shes allergic to any ingredient she presumes I would have used (she didnt ask HOW I made my poiso.....Unconditional Love Muffins), just her beliefs.

    I guess we're all different, eh! :-)

  4. It's awesome but grrrr about the Weston Price Foundation. These guys are everywhere these days with their flesh eating propaganda. I had to work hard at debunking them in my own school.


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