The local chapter of Moms4Moms, a non-profit group that helps women in the area showcase their work, presented its second vegetable festival Saturday at Phillips Park in Aurora.
According to the organizers, more than half of the vendors were offering foods, herbs, baby greens and other natural items, while the others were selling products from soap to real estate services.
Jamie Rudder of Oswego was one of the food vendors supervising Vital Superfoods at Woolley Farm, which features small screens.
“The festival goes straight to the source that people are looking for, people who want to be healthy or vegan,” she said. “That’s definitely the source that people are looking for – raw vegetables. Half of the people who stop working don’t know what microgreens are and so it’s a very educational experience. It’s a new idea for them and people don’t realize that things like sunflower are edible and that they contain complete protein. “.
The co-founder of local group Moms4Moms, Jane Mendoza of Aurora, said the second annual event “was open to any women-owned company whether they have a physical business or have an online business” and that it focuses on vegetarian or vegan natural products.
“That doesn’t rule out companies that aren’t necessarily vegan or anything else,” Mendoza said. “We’ve tried to find companies in that kind of category but they still have businesses like chiropractors and others. We have a couple small growers and greens as well as some companies that focus on natural health remedies, as well as natural ingredients for body care, and all-natural, gluten-free products. Chemicals “.
Sponsors of the event include Gropri Gillerson in Aurora, Senaholic in Naperville, and Elaine Violet’s Tailoring Studio in Sugar Grove.
She herself is a vegetarian and when she heard about the show’s theme on Saturday, Elaine Violet Svihla, owner of the tailoring studio, said she was “no brainer.”
“I always try to get others to see how exciting it is to eat plant-based food,” she said. “I always try to encourage people to the awesomeness of eating plants. Putting the name of my business behind this event was very exciting to do.”
Svihla spoke about the mission of Moms4Moms Group and said that “supporting any small business is important”.
“I am a small business owner and will especially support the plant business,” she said.
Mendoza’s partner, Johnny Choudhury, was stationed at the front of the stand on Saturday and said the number of vendors who came was “more than 50”.
“We’ve already had 75 at a time, but this is our first time in Phillips Park. I really like the size of the suite,” Choudhury said.
Visitors of all ages were seen moving from booth to booth including Aurora’s Jenelle Hubner who came with her husband Gordon and daughter Amy and said she watched the event on Facebook “and it seemed like a really good event for the community.”
“Moms4Moms I really like and the vegetable show, I’m all about it,” she said. “I’m a vegetarian and this is really a jam. I think in terms of modeling and helping women, any time you can help people build their businesses and become a bigger part of the community, I think that’s great. We have great examples of that at Aurora. Anytime we can.” Help I think that’s great.”
Lauren Antonioli of Aurora said she “became a vegetarian about two years ago” and that she was invited to the festival on Saturday with “one of my neighbors who is also a vegetarian”.
“So far, I’ve gotten a lot of free stuff that people have been giving away, but we’ll just go around and check things out,” she said. “I also like the idea behind this and the promotion of women – I could be one of those people someday.”
Nadalyn Williams, also of Aurora, said she’s a vegetarian as well as “looking for some information on health benefits and a healthy lifestyle as well as food.”
“I also look at some different soaps and items that are natural products,” she said. “I like that this is something more personal. I feel that they (the sellers) can explain and provide information that will make me more interested in buying a product and personally connecting with people and what they are selling.”
David Sharros is a freelance reporter for the Beacon News.