So tomorrow is the first annual Niagara VegFest, and I’d like to point out a few things.
I wrote an article about it last week for my Standard column, giving you a bit of the details of what’ll be going on.
Niagara has strong ties with diversity and culture, and, luckily for us, we’re home to a number of festivals that celebrate both. While these events offer opportunities to learn about our region’s melting pot, they also give us the chance to explore something near and dear to my heart: food.
Enter Niagara VegFest, newly joining the ranks and bringing fresh light to the shift coinciding with our increasingly veg-friendly region. After all, in just the past year, we’ve welcomed a vegan restaurant, vegetarian health food store, local vegan alternatives in our mainstream stores, and vegan recipes at your fingertips.
On June 2, Robertson Hall in downtown St. Catharines will be the host venue for the first vegetarian/vegan festival. But put away those preconceived ideas that this afternoon out will be reserved for tofu lovers only — in fact, it’s anything but.
Instead, VegFest is featuring a wide variety of plant-promoting vendors and exhibitors that will appeal to everyone. Myself, along with co-organizers Jordanna Cardinale, Keri Cronin, and Laurie Morrison, have a simple goal: to plant the seed of a veg-centric lifestyle in our community, and show how easily it can grow into a part of our daily lives. Whether you’re interested in the health and environmental impact of a plant-based diet, animal rights, supporting our local vendors or exploring those travelling in, making new connections, or just eating some really amazing food, it’s all here waiting for you.
The event features four speakers, rich in expertise across the veg-spectrum.
- Local Kettlebell Weightlifter and owner/head coach of Make It Happen, Jennifer Hintenberger will share her inspiring story of how she is a living example of the level of health we all have the power to achieve, and how to get and stay strong on a plant-based diet.
- Marni Wasserman, certified chef and culinary nutritionist, as well as founder of Delicious Knowledge by Marni Wasserman, will use her passion and experience to educate individuals on adopting a realistic, plant-based diet, and provide us with a smoothie demonstration.
- Co-founders of Our Hen House, a multimedia platform for changing the world for animals, Jasmin Singer, writer and activist, and Mariann Sullivan, expert in animal law, will be speaking about the many ways we can each change the world for animals through food activism.
- Toronto-based chef and author of Eat Raw, Eat Well, Chef Douglas McNish will give us details on how he transformed his health and life through a vegan diet, and learn about life as a vegan chef and his current endeavour helping businesses implement organic, vegan cuisine onto their menus.
Along with the speakers comes an impressive vendor list. Headlined by Founding Sponsor Bamboo Natural Food Market, you’ll find local and out-of-town restaurants and cafes, author signings, animal rights representatives, snack companies, local farmers, clothing, skin care, and more. And, there will be plenty of samples to quench your curiosity, as well as food options to satisfy those stomachs.
Now, to add a little bit more past my 550 word count.
Vendor list includes a wide array, a lot of them local, all of them spectacular.
- Animal Voices
- Bamboo Natural Food Market
- Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary
- Climate Action Niagara
- Cocovie Naturals
- Critical Animal Studies (Brock University)
- Delicious Knowledge by Marni Wasserman
- Douglas McNish (book sale and signing of Eat Raw, Eat Well, 400 Raw, Vegan and Gluten Free Recipes)
- GFV Baking Co.
- Happy Vegan Kitchen
- Health Nut
- Heart Niagara
- Laurie Sadowski (that’s me! Book sale and signing of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free)
- Make It Happen
- Mahtay Café and Lounge
- Natural Notes
- Niagara Action for Animals
- New Moon Kitchen
- Our Hen House
- Rawstock Niagara
- Rhizome Farms
- Rise Above Bakery & Catering
- Sestres Coffee Shop
- Sick on Sin
- The Naked Sprout
- Toronto Pig Save
- Tree & Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm
- Truly Organic Foods
You’ll also want to head over to the last one, Truly Organic Foods, for another reason… unveiled on Saturday.
And that’s not all. Prizes, too! Check these out. So many I wish I could win… and that isn’t even all of them.
So! There’s a few things I’ll be offering as well.
- First, I’ll have my books and they will be available at a discounted rate.
- I’m going to be offering many packages with personal training and fitness, nutrition and wellness, and sessions in transitioning to either (or all) gluten-free, allergy-free, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles.
- Next, again, check out Truly Organic Foods for some info, samples, and a product launch.
Again, if you head to my table and I’m not there, I shouldn’t be difficult to track down. Hope to see you there!