Now Eat This: Vegan Festival 2016

RAWSOME. vegan cake. Expo Sante et Manger. Photo Lily Huynh. RAWSOME. vegan cake. Expo Sante et Manger. Photo Lily Huynh.

Halloweekend is finishing up and November is rearing its windy and wet grey head, much like a scolding grandpa wagging a finger at our revelry and blaming us for our own hangovers.  As many of us head into Sober November in the hopes of maintaining some semblance of health consciousness before the holiday party season starts, we mourn our late nights  and midnight poutines and drag ass back to the gym in hopes of avoiding looking like a tree ornament. That being said, you don’t have to stay in to take care of yourself. The 3rd edition of the Montreal Vegan Festival is right around the corner and will tick all of your virtuous boxes. Whether you are well acquainted with veganism or are merely curious about the politics around these choices, this event has it all.

With health and the environment dominating news headlines, the health benefits, both physically and planetary, of the vegan lifestyle is a hot topic at MVF 2016. One of the world’s foremost experts in his field and creator of the glycemic index, Dr. David Jenkins presents the human and environmental health benefits of a plant-based diet. Dr. Jenkins’s work on international committees has influenced dietary guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and national diabetes associations around the world.

Parents bringing up their children on a vegan diet have gained widespread media attention over the past 12 months, much of it negative. For an alternative view, MVF 2016 is delighted to welcome very special guest speaker Seba Johnson. The youngest ever Olympic alpine ski racer and the first black female to ski in the Olympics will give visitors insight into how being vegan from birth helped make her the athlete she is today. Also featuring in the conference series; Anita Krajnc, co-founder of Toronto Pig Save will enlighten all about her current court case for giving water to thirsty pigs, and Mi’kmaq scholar Margaret Robinson discusses the shared values of vegan settlers and indigenous peoples of Canada. Finally, our own George Laraque will be closing out the festival with a talk about his journey towards veganism and what its meant to him

If the politics aren’t your thing, we can at least all get behind trying free food. Set in the gorgeous and historical Bonsecours Market visitors have a plethora of cooking demos to enjoy, including; mountain running champion and ultramarathon runner Alister Gardner’s energy-boosting burrito, a guide to vegan cheese-making by Montreal’s Geneviéve Dêchenes, or, for those with a sweet tooth, Ophélie Véron will knock up a Classic Fudge / chocolat praliné / salted caramel butter. There are also workshops on vegan cosmetics by the Les Trappeuses blog that looks really interesting.

When you are fed up of learning about stuff, straight up go get fed by the vendors. The exhibitors’ floor will feature sample goodies and delicious products from over 40 amazing vegan companies! If you are feeling really good about yourself, and celebrate it, kick off you Christmas shopping early for the conscientious consumer in your life, and then stick around for the party at 6pm on Saturday. 

The Montreal Vegan Festival kicks off on Friday 4th November and continues until November 6th at Bonsecours Market (33 rue de la Commune). entry is free. A special launch event screening of Jo-Anne McArthur’s stunning documentary Ghosts in Our Machine takes place November 4th at 7pm and the screening will be followed by a Q&A with Jo-Anne McArthur.