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Orange County’s Vegan Village Offers Accessible Plant-Based Cuisine to the Masses

Veganism has been gaining massive momentum in recent years. There’s been a 600 percent increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S. in the last four years. Mainstream health organizations are recommending a plant-based diet, including the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee; the American Institute for Cancer Research; and Kaiser Permanente, the largest health care organization in the U.S. Plant-based cuisine is sweeping through our culture, in part thanks to professional athletes, celebrities and leading tastemakers. And this trend of healthy plant-based eating is not a fad. There are hundreds of medical and health-based studies and trials showing how plant-based foods are better for the environment and help humans stay healthy, fight illness, heal from ailments and live longer lives. Although Orange County has been lagging in vegan food offerings in comparison to Los Angeles, the O.C. is gaining more and more stellar options for plant-based eating, thanks to the new organization helping to bring vegan food to the masses, OC Vegan Village.

The OC Vegan Village is a traveling weekly community event that brings vegan pop-up restaurants and vendors together to support the growing vegan community here in Orange County and highlight small businesses who are making eco-friendly products and positive changes in our world.

Now, this may not seem like much to normies, but to the local vegan community, this is monumental. Normally, O.C. vegans only have about six or so options within a short drive, but thanks to the Vegan Village, there are up to 15 additional food options that they wouldn’t otherwise get access to. The businesses that are a part of the Vegan Village are independently owned catering businesses, food trucks and independent vendors who support the vegan movement.

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With help from the OC Vegan Village, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, vegans can gather for a variety of amazing and handmade vegan food from a range of cultures. These events support healthy and alternative lifestyles, making plant-based cuisine accessible for all, while aiding the growth of small businesses in the O.C. area:

  • Monday (Meatless Monday) – Location: Women’s club of O.C., 121 S. Center St., Orange, CA
  • Tuesday (Taco Tuesday) – Location: From The Earth, 3023 S. Orange Ave, Santa Ana, CA
  • Thursday (Vegan Nights) – Location: The Blue Lot, 119 N. Bush St., Santa Ana, CA
  • Friday (Vegan Nights) –Location: The Blue Lot, 119 N. Bush St., Santa Ana, CA

The Village also hosts one large vegan event every second Saturday of the month called OC Vegan Fest where they have over 25 different vendors; the next one is March 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., located at the Blue Lot in DTSA (119 N Bush St., Santa Ana, California). Additional Saturday events include:

  • Every 1st Saturday of the month: L.A. Vegan Village – Location: Besties Vegan Paradise, 4882 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA
  • Event 3rd Saturday of the month: O.C. Vegan Village – From The Earth: 3023 S. Orange Ave., Santa Ana, CA
  • Every Last Saturday of the month: O.C. Vegan Village – Mr. Nice Guy: 730 E. Dyer Road, Santa Ana, CA

OC Vegan Village was founded by Skyler Tanksley, Garret Nibarger and Leo Orange in 2017. Tanksley is the president, event coordinator, marketing specialist and social media manager for the Vegan Village while Nibarger runs communications, Village set-up, community outreach and is point of contact at every event. Orange is the Village’s media professional who specializes in all things photo, video and aesthetics, and helps support Tanksley with all of the marketing.

Tanksley and Nibarger originally started the Vegan Village as a concept called OC Vegan Fest but the support from the community was too small at the time to really make it what they wanted, which put the project on hold for nearly two years. In the absence of the OC Vegan Fest, Tanksley and Nibarger decided they had to do something to aid the growth of the Orange County vegan scene, so they started Munchies OC. At the time of its inception, Munchies OC was the only vegan pop-up restaurant serving the greater Orange County area. Tanksley admitted that after starting Munchies he realized there was a gap he could fill. There were so many amazing new and innovative vegan brands and chefs trying to grow and aid this vegan community, that he knew he had to help.

As the co-founder of Vegan Village and chef and co-founder of Munchies Orange County, my plans for the Vegan Village are what I always had planned,” Skyler Tanksley told us. “I want to help create a space for cruelty-free vendors to not only grow and develop their brand, but to also serve their surrounding communities more consistently and effectively. Thanks to our partners, Mr. Nice Guy, Blue Lot and KW Vegan Fair, we now offer a location Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the community to enjoy a cruelty-free market place filled with tons of eating and buying.”

The OC Vegan Village was created by vendors looking to help other vendors and fellow vegans find a cruelty-free experience that is easily accessible and fun. The Vegan Village is brand new but constantly growing thanks to a handful of dedicated individuals. They may have only just started these events but they’ve already got amazing vendors at the Vegan Villages, including Munchies OC, Chicana Vegana, Love Amaro Pizzeria,Mallinali Superfoods, Poojas Indian Cuisine,Vegan By El Zamorano,Baked Vegan Sweets, Vegan Tamale Co.,Enjoying Earth,Devis Donuts, 21 Grams Baked,EAT LOVE, The Bodhi Shop,Leche Co.,Mama’s Int. Tamales, Yogi Chef, Evolution Burger,Ital Wellness,Twin Gems,Snapea Stickers,Vegan Stardust and many others.

Every O.C. foodie should attend at least one Vegan Village to try amazing dishes like the donut burger by Munchies OC, the gluten-free jackfruit carnitas loaded nachos from Chicana Vegana, the amazing Heart Attack Roll from Jades Vegan Sushi, the delicious stuffed Jalapeno Poppers from Enjoying Earth, the Mac and Cheese Pizza from Love Amaro Pizzeria, and so many other delectable food items. The Village has tons of gluten-free options at every booth, and everything is made with such love. There are games, prizes, music, tables, chairs and heat lamps, and you can bring your pets because it’s all outside. This is a great event put on by great people who make amazing food, and no one is harmed in the process. Go check it out and thank us later.