Sweet Talking Tuesdays – David Alexander

David Alexander is Executive Director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association, and is responsible for operational planning and management at TVA. David has given public presentations at libraries, offices and community groups, and interviews with media including The Toronto Star, CBC Radio, CTV, and Global TV on the health and environmental benefits of vegetarian eating, how to transition to a vegetarian diet, Meatless Mondays, and the evolution of Toronto’s vegetarian business community. Since joining the TVA in 2006, David has worked with passionate volunteers and staff to introduce creative new projects and events. David has enabled TVA to meet the goals of a three-year Trillium Foundation grant for volunteer program development in 2009 and led the organization recognition as a finalist for a Green Toronto Award for Environmental Awareness in 2011.

1. What is your favourite Sweets from the Earth product? And why?

My wife has a gluten allergy and your Flourless Cashew Cookies were the first gluten-free treat I can remember swiping. Those are some very yummy cookies. Oh, and the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins are great too. If you can find some way to install some of those at a coffee shop near Baldwin Village, I would be very grateful.

2. Do you follow any special diets?

I follow the vegan cupcakes diet, where I try to eat a wide variety of vegan cupcakes. And other things. I’m not insane.

3. Where do you purchase your favourite sweets?

I purchase my favourite sweets at the Annual Vegetarian Food Festival, which I’ve been involved with for the past seven years. The quality and quantity of muffins, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies and other sweets available at the Festival has grown exponentially over that time period.

4. What inspires you on a day to day basis?

I’m inspired by stories. My decision to become vegan was inspired and informed by the stories of Harold Brown, Melanie Joy, Jonathan Safran Foer, and many others. But even beyond that, I’m a big podcast listener and I think what podcasting can do so well is really put you into the someone else’s head while they work through something. I’m a big believer in the power of stories to drive understanding and change behaviour. We’ve got some great storytellers lined-up to speak at this year’s Food Festival…

5. You’re the Executive Director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association. Are there any events coming up you’d like to tell us about?

Well, since you mentioned it, there’s this event I’m involved with called the 28th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival which takes place September 7-9 at Harbourfront Centre. In fact, I believe Sweets from the Earth is supporting the event as a Gold Sponsor this year – so thanks for that!

This year, we’ve got a fitness panel featuring ultra marathon runner Rich Roll and Ellen’s personal trainer John Pierre. We’ve got cooking demos with Caribbean vegan chef Taymer Mason, Toronto raw foods chef Doug McNish and many more. Plus we’ve got an event called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over Toronto where local businesses will compete to impress vegan cookbook legends Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz!

The Festival also features more than 100 exhibitors including bakeries, restaurants, along with other related nonprofits and businesses.

All that and we’ve still got a major programming announcement up our sleeve – so interested parties should stay tuned to festival.veg.ca!

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Like many people, I loathed my high school years. Things started to turn around for me at university as I got involved in a community as an activist and a writer. When I graduated, I started working with TVA where I got introduced to a whole new community of creative, smart, compassionate people. Then I started dating someone who makes me very happy. The world is an unhappy place for a lot of individuals, but between my friends and family and the meaningful work I’m able to do at TVA, I’ve got a lot in the plus column.

7.       What would we find on your nightstand?

That would be my Apple brand mobile device.

8.       If you could only take three items to a desert island, what would they be?

Not my Apple brand mobile device. Assuming I can’t bring my wife and my two cats, I’d bring a pen, a notebook, and a case of beer so that I could write poems and set them adrift in empty beer bottles.

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