The 3rd Annual Charlotte VegFest is an event not to be missed! Just on the horizon, it takes place next Saturday, May 17, from 2-7pm at Plaza Midwood. The festival celebrates vegans and vegetarians of all categories — people who just want to eat healthier, those who wish to create a sustainable environment for their children, those who love and protect the rights of animals, and everywhere in between. Those non-vegetarians who just want to see what all the fuss is about are welcome as well. There is something for everyone at the Charlotte VegFest.
We are sorry to report that Ecolicious is no longer in business. Ecolicious – Charlotte, NC’s Most Environmentally Friendly Market Is Locally Sourced!
In one of the cutest little houses located in the heart of Charlotte is a general store like no other. From its humble beginning as a few shelves containing only a few items, housed within another business, Ecolicious has come into its own. “We came about just over three years ago,” says Ecolicous founder, Marley Claridge. “My former partner and I saw a need in Charlotte for a place to buy vegan things. We started out with just a few items on a few shelves. Then people kind of took to it. I wanted to make it larger, and nicer, with more of a boutique feel to it. More than just a convenient store look.”
Marley has done just that. After her early partnership dissolved, she joined up with long time friend, Fiona Humphrey, who had previously worked in finance. Fiona had planned to sell her house and move to Oregon. As luck, or fate, would have it, the market crashed and selling her home was no longer an option. The opportunity to partner with Marley presented itself and the rest is Ecolicous history. The two share a vision for the company which has continued to foster a relationship with the community and an awareness of how our purchasing decisions impact our lives, the lives of innocent animals and the health of our planet. Buying locally affects our carbon footprint as well, which is a credo for the fledgeling business.
Open only three years, Luna’s Living Kitchen is already an icon in Charlotte, NC. Whenever we ask where we can find a good place to eat while visiting Charlotte, Luna’s is the first word out of everyone’s mouth. Everyone.
Luna’s Living Kitchen is a stand-out with its all organic, largely locally sourced ingredients without a hint of genetically modified fare to be found!!! To this I can’t say strongly enough to owner, Juliana Luna; You go, girl!
The first time we visited Fern was during the Charleston Vegetarian Festival last summer. It was a blistering day and our beloved monster, Phoenix, was feeling the heat. We noticed the building as we were driving through town and it happened to be within walking distance of the festival. With covered out-door seating and entirely vegetarian, it seemed to be just the ticket. Phoenix settled down at the foot of our table and the waitress was kind enough to fill her dish with water. I had the Om Burger and I cannot for the life of me remember what Rich had. I can tell you that it was all delicious and I am filled with guilt every time I think about it. We had every intention of writing a review of Fern then but as it sometimes happens, life got in the way and Fern continued to slip farther back on our “to do” list. Recently, en-route to Charleston we decided to give Fern another try.
Fern is a charming café with lots of tables and bustling activity. When we were seated we were brought a glass of water infused with cucumbers. This was an unexpected and delightfully refreshing treat! I remember how welcome that was on our parched first visit to Fern.
Today, May 11th, Charlotte VegFest celebrates it’s second annual gathering of health and animal rights enthusiasts. It is held from 12pm to 5pm off Commonwealth Avenue in Plaza Midwood in Charlotte, NC. Rich and I made the rainy 3 hour trek to Charlotte with high hopes but low expectations. After all, it’s only Charlotte’s 2nd VegFest. We were delighted to discover at 12:30 the place was already packed with vegans, vegetarians and the veg-curious sampling the wares of venders offering raw cookies, juice bars and vegan salads and pastas. We visited organic spice purveyors, yoga instructors, macrobiotic chefs, raw and vegan chefs and numerous animal adoption and rescue agencies. There were also recycling and green energy agencies represented. The turnout was fantastic! Every hour or so there were speakers discussing issues concerning health, fitness, and what we as individuals can do to reduce global warming. Shabaka Amen (Fitness & Nutrition), Dr. Michael Smith (Naturopathy Physician), Leilani Munter, race car driver, and Gene Baur (co-founder and President of Farm Sanctuary) were on the program. We connected with numerous establishments which cater to the plant-based diner and have plans to return in the near future to do restaurant and chef reviews as well as cooking videos. Even the weather cooperated! Just as we tooled into Charlotte and found a good parking place, the skies cleared and we enjoyed a sunny day made perfect by a light breeze. On the way out we stopped and had a fantastic vegan lunch at Fern. Just the ticket after a long drive and a few hours perusing the tents at the Charlotte VegFest. We are already looking forward to next year’s festivities!