VegFest gets set for fifth year in Halifax

By Jordan Parker

After two years without in-person VegFests, the 2022 iteration is back to full programming.

The event with mark their fifth outing and co-organizer Jessie Doyle is excited for the celebration on Sunday.

“We had to take 2020 off and last year we did a distance-friendly pick-up box. It wasn't our traditional in-person, so it's exciting to get back to this,” said Doyle.

“We're ready to welcome people and our exhibitors back. It's such a popular event for local businesses and gives them a chance to engage with customers.”

There will be live cooking demos, trivia, an animal sanctuary panel, and so much more to delight festival-goers this year.

After some time at the Halifax Forum, they've now moved to the popular recently-opened Light House Arts Centre on Argyle Street.

“It's just a great location. It's wheelchair-accessible, gender-neutral, and that's important to us as a festival. We have ASL interpreters this year as well. This is all crucial,” she said.

There will be plenty of fresh programming and new offerings for festival mainstays, and VegFest takes great care in what they give to people.

“We'll have Mary's African Cuisine and Shivani's Kitchen this year doing live cooking demos. They've been exhibitors before, but this is their first time onstage,” she said. “As we get new businesses in town, we find new exhibitors. We're excited to have Copper Branch this year as well.”

In the last couple years, Doyle has seen people become more interested in plant-based diets for various reasons, but loves the progress.

“People have become more motivated in looking at plant-based lifestyles. There's been a growth in the movement for what's good for animals and the planet. Those who have been hesitant about vegan food seem to be more open to it,” she said.

“It's a welcoming event where the majority of people attending aren't vegan or vegetarian. It serves as a great opportunity to try things out and see the offerings businesses have here.”

The Tare Shop will also be on-hand to discuss reducing plastic, and the number of people showing up is expected to be around 2,500.

“It's difficult to predict in a post-COVID world, but we think people are excited to come out for this,” she said.

Doyle says there are many reasons contributing to the movement toward veganism or plant-based food recently.

“At its core, veganism is about choosing not to participate in the objectification and commodification of living beings,” she said. “With other social justice movements going along with human rights, people may be realizing that though animals aren't our species, they deserve the same rights.”

Doyle alludes to the research done in the last decade, and the fact doctors are becoming more on-board as well.

“Many are saying the healthiest way to eat is a mostly-plant diet with whole food ingredients. Some are now motivated to change how they eat for health reasons,” she said.

“But there's also climate change and environmental impact. You can grow more plant-based foods and sources of protein protein with less water and land emissions than you can when you're farming.”

The wealth of options in Halifax is also helpful for getting people to try vegan food.

“People who aren't vegan or vegetarian themselves will still eat the food if it's delicious or satisfying. Often people go out to eat as part of a group, and vegan options are considered to be inclusive for everyone going out,” she said.

“Restaurants are realizing including these options is important, and they need to make people feel welcome.”

Doyle can't wait to get people out to enjoy VegFest once again and mark their fifth year in style.

“It will be great to get people out into the community. We can't wait to see foodies, vegans and vegetarians, animal lovers, and anyone else.” she said.

“Businesses will get to serve food and engage with customers. We just want to be able to enjoy this with everyone.

VegFest is Sunday, October 23 from 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. at the Light House Arts Centre. Admission is $5 or pay what you can. Find more information online.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today