More and more people are turning to greener ways of life. This, of course, includes food. What we consume has been proven to have an effect not only on our bodies/health, but also the planet we live on. We have to be more responsible about what we produce and eat. As such, the number of vegans has grown exponentially. A few years back the Vegan Festival joined the burgeoning ranks of festivals this city hosts.
The entrance fee is a very attendee friendly free. It could not be better, in other words. Taking up the large room in the Palais de Congres there were plenty of booths with a wide variety of things to learn about, sample or try. Everything from animal rights activists to animal rescue to vegan clothes, food, cosmetics and drinks.
It is best to go to this festival on an empty stomach because you will get even more samples than you would at your local Costco. There was choice galore from chocolate to kombucha to dairy free cheeses to vegan jerky to “cheese”cake. Local and international producers of vegan friendly clothes, cosmetics and food were on hand including the festivals major sponsor Gusta and others like Copper Branch, Dose, Redpath, Rawsome, Bagels on Greene, and Bkind.
Besides the exhibitors there were workshops, lectures and cooking demos running pretty continuously. There you could learn how to make vegan cocktails, mac n cheese and desserts. Or you could attend a lecture on the good, the bad and the ugly about animal sanctuaries, nutrition and heart disease and what a fish knows.
A big topic this year was veganism and high performance athletes. Breaking all the myths about this. Former Montreal Alouettes player (and the spokesperson of this year’s Vegan Festival) Marc-Olivier Brouillette, former Montreal Canadien and other NHL teams tough guy Georges Laraque as well as fitness couple Rebecca Theofanis and Josh Goldman all spoke about how they had no problem with protein intake and maintaining their involvement in their sports. Punching serious holes in the belief that animal protein is a must for athletes.
In the past the workshops worked so well that they were brought back again this year. Bigger and better. In small groups of 40 or less, so you could get individual attention if needed, you, for a small fee, could participate in making something vegan and delicious or just learn a new skill. Again the variety was wide. You could participate in workshops to learn how to make vegan dog and cat treats, learn first aide for animals, how to cook tofu, and learn how to make your own kombucha.
What I like best about the festival is that all of their exhibitors have stuff for purchase. You can sample something and if you like it, usually you can bring it home with you. Even better is that there is no tax and the prices are better than you find in stores. Booths like 57Vegane, Giddy Yo, Nuts for Cheese, Paradis Vegetarien, and Resto Vego all had products for sale.
Make sure you are there next year!