VegFest & Meeting Peter Hammarstedt

Over the weekend Cody and I headed down to Golden Colorado where the Vegetarian Society of Colorado was holding their annual VegFest Health & Environmental Fair. It was a rainy day, yet somehow the sky in Colorado was still beautiful...
VegFest Colorado Sky

Wow, am I glad I went. I think it will go down as one of those days in my life I will NEVER forget. I enjoyed seeing all the booths setup that were vegan related. There were many animal rescue and sanctuary's there also. The main reason I went though, is because the Sea Shepherd's had a booth there. If you follow my blog maybe you already know that I am a big Sea Shepherd supporter. Maybe you don't even know who the Sea Shepherd's are.

Quickly I will explain a little bit about them and who they are: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. They are loved and they are hated. They are also known for their show on Animal Planet, Whale Wars.

I went to the fair hoping to buy a t-shirt and listen to Peter Hammarstedt's speech he was giving. (Peter is one of my favorite Sea Shepherds and inspires me to make a difference in the world.) As soon as we entered the building, my eyes wandered looking for the black and white Sea Shepherd booth. It was tucked away in the back, yet I spotted it right away. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. I could feel emotion building up inside of me and I was beginning to get teary eyed. The joke between Cody and I all day was that Peter is like my "Justin Bieber". LOL

I don't really get excited about celebrities. I do however get excited about meeting these people who are putting their lives on the line to save whales and other ocean creatures. I was way too nervous to go straight back to the Sea Shepherd booth, so we started on the opposite end and saved it for last. As we walked through the aisles here are some of the things we saw...
VegFest Collage1

I grabbed tons of brochures to read! I haven't had time to look through them yet. I am very interested in educating myself more on how animals are treated in lab tests and on farms, etc. One of my favorite things I picked up had a picture of a puppy and a baby pig on it and it said, "What makes us different?". My answer to this is, NOTHING. That's how I feel about animals. I know not everyone has the same views as I do and they NEVER will, but it's nice to learn about these issues so that you can make an informed decision yourself. That's what I did.
Me posing with my new bumper stickers!
VegFest Collage2

There was a guest speaker at the show talking about being vegan. How people judge you and your diet choices. The most common thing I hear from people when they are "somewhat" interested in my plant based diet is, "I could never do it!" or "I just couldn't give up my favorite foods!". The speaker had a great point: When you say things like that you are setting yourself up for failure. The best thing I can say to you as a vegan is, "Have you tried?" I did it.

I am leading by example and just hope I can inspire someone to switch to this wonderful lifestyle.
VegFest Collage3

Okay I will even admit that products made from Elephant poo is a little weird. LOL But, the proceeds went towards saving Elephants. If someone didn't tell you that the notebook you were holding in your hand was made from poo, you would NEVER know. I was shocked at how cute the stuff was. We walked around looking at everything for awhile, so I could delay going to the Sea Shepherd booth. Before coming to the show I didn't know if Peter would even be at the booth or if I would know any of the other Sea Shepherds that were there from the Whale Wars TV show. Then as I looked down at the booth, I saw Peter was there. I was shocked.

Now I am one of these people who doesn't get "stupid" when they see someone famous. I just was thinking to myself, "What the hell do you say?". I kept thinking about it and thinking about and nothing. I thought I would just say, "I don't know what to say to you,....your awesome!", then ask for a picture. LOL That was my plan.

VegFest Collage4

When we finally reached the booth Peter was busy of course talking to other people already. I just started looking at all the stuff and talking to the Denver Sea Shepherd volunteers. They were all so nice and excited to be there, just like me. I ended up getting a cute t-shirt and a hat. I started talking to one of the girls there about Peter and she said she was also star struck when she first met Peter. She and I laughed about it and I told her I just didn't know what to say to him. It's strange to watch a person on TV for hours and hours, then there they are standing right in front of you. You "think" you know them, but they have no clue who you are. While I was in the booth talking to some of the shepherds Peter had to step outside to make a phone call. I didn't want to stalk him, so I planned to just come back later to attempt to get my picture with him.

Well an hour passed and he was still outside. I had so many brochures and purchases that we decided to take everything out to the car. I saw Peter sitting on a park bench having his picture taken with some kids. As they cleared and we walked up the sidewalk I saw my opportunity to go up to him with no one else around, except a few other Sea Shepherds. Cody was laughing at me because I was so giddy with excitement! I still didn't know what I was going to say. LOL

VegFest Peter on Bench

Peter talked to his fellow shepherds and I just stood about 4 feet from him waiting for him to acknowledge us. My first words to him were, "I don't want to be a creeper", and I laughed. He did also. I tend to say funny things to break the ice in difficult situations. We shook hands and he asked if we were fans of the show and I told him I was basically obsessed now. I spoke to him about my frustrations on not being able to get my family or friends to care about the issues I care about. We talked about where he was from. He lives in Sweden. When he told me that I blurted out, "I worked at IKEA!". He laughed and said, "We are connected. You and I". I laughed and said, "Not really".

VegFest Collage Us with Peter
Look at how HAPPY I am! What a dork! I hope he didn't think I was too weird.

He was super nice and easy to talk to. I am sure he gets sick of talking to fans. I would. We talked about being vegan and the show Whale Wars. I told him how the show changed my life and the person I am today. I think that's the best thing I could say really,....unlike telling a guy from Sweden that I worked at IKEA. Gosh I am a dork. It was awesome talking to him in person. I felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, even though I did tell him I am interested in doing a campaign someday. A campaign in most cases is going to Antarctica to stop Japanese whalers from killing whales. That is what the show Whale Wars focuses on. They recently started a campaign in the Portland Oregon area to keep Sea Lions from being killed. I have a feeling I will see Peter again someday. Maybe he'll remember me as the girl who worked at IKEA.

Peter's speech was amazing and so heartfelt. I know why they send him out to do shows and speeches. He is one of the most inspiring people out there. He really cares about all animals and all life. He said a dead sea is a dead world. It's so true. He made me want to get out there and do something!!!! Make a difference. Fight for something that matters. I need to get more involved. I feel it deep inside me. It almost feels like my destiny to be part of something like the Sea Shepherds. It's a good feeling.

VegFest Peter Speaking

Another thing that Peter and I talked about is how some people who dislike the Sea Shepherds call them terrorists. Peter said it deeply offends him. He says he knows people that live in New York and experienced 9-11. The term "terrorists" is used way to loosely and it angers me when someone calls them that. It's a sad world we live in. Without people like Peter and the other Sea Shepherds the oceans will die and so will the planet. Of course most of the people who are judging them as a terrorist group, eat whale meat or make money off of killing sea mammals. (Dolphins, Sharks, Sea Lions, etc.) I feel like whaling and other sea life being killed is so out of the media and most people don't know that it's even happening! I didn't. You can decide whether or not you want to help change that! I know I want to.

Thanks for reading another LONG JESSIE post!
Visit the official Sea Shepherd website {HERE}
Read about Whale Wars {HERE} The show airs on Animal Planet on Friday nights!
Watch it and see Peter! You can read more about Peter Hammarstedt {HERE}

Here is some video I took of Peter's speech. Enjoy!

Peter Hammarstedt Speaking at VegFest from Jessica D.Meece on Vimeo.


  1. Hey Jess,

    I enjoyed reading this a lot. That's great you had a few minutes to talk with Peter. Very cool!

    It can be weird thinking of what to say at first to someone you have seen on TV so much. You really can feel connected to them because of common beliefs, etc...but since they don't know you at all, it can be a little strange from that perspective. Sounds like you handled it well. I'm so happy you got to do that! :)

  2. Awesome post, and what a great cause! I have been very conscious of food decisions since I was a teenager, and spent a long time as a vegetarian (not vegan). I'd say the #1 reason I'm not vegan now is that I also have to feed my (very typical American macho jock) husband, too. Still, he's so much better about thinking critically about food decisions than he was before me... so maybe one day he'll try a veggie lifestyle with me. I did a vegan fast last year and it was SO hard and expensive to plan two meals for each of us every day. If only we could all be more conscious of our food sources!

  3. This was such a fun post to read because you can tell how excited you were and how much you really care! Isn't it wonderful to have a passion that is good?!

  4. Ha! That's so awesome that you got to meet Peter. I was a little star struck when I met one of my favorite authors the other night. I totally didn't know what to say! I try to use humor to break the ice as well.

  5. I love your post! Vegans unite! I've had my struggles here and there with eating vegan foods, but I know how beneficial it is to our earth, bodies, and to the animals, therefore it is soo worth it! I love those bumper stickers too! <3

  6. Awesome, awesome, awesome, lady!! I went to VegFest here in DC last summer and loved it. I think we'd be great real life friends. :) :)

  7. Thanks Amanda!! I am so glad you found my blog! I look forward to following your blog as well.

  8. Oh I just love Sea Shepherd and John Robbins. The Food Revolution, by Robbins, really opened my mind!

  9. Replies
    1. It was one of the best days of my life! Did you see the huge smile on my face?? HA!


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