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Boston Vegetarian Food Festival proves plant-based power

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Boston Vegetarian Food Festival proves plant-based power

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By Juliana Tuozzola

The Boston Vegetarian Society brought together top-of-the-line natural foods, speakers and chefs for it’s 23rd annual Boston Veg Food Fest on Sat. Oct. 20. The lively atmosphere at the Ray Lewis Center ignited an equal passion and appreciation for vegetarian food among exhibitors and attendees.

The event welcomed all people, regardless of their dietary preferences or lifestyle choices. The festival provided vegans, vegetarians, non-vegetarians and anyone else the opportunity to sample different foods and to learn about plant-based options.

The Boston Vegetarian Society granted free admission to the festival with the idea the event would promote healthier, sustainable plant-based food options and raise awareness about food production and the environment.

Evelyn Kimber, President of The Boston Vegetarian Society and Chair of Organization for the Boston Veg Food Fest, said the organization focuses on raising awareness and educating the community about the benefits of vegetarianism.

“Our mission is essentially two-fold,” said Kimber. “We serve as a resource for people who are already vegetarian or vegan, showing them new products to support their way of living. Secondly, we hope to provide education to the American public who may be curious about their diet and interested in the destructive impact certain diets and lifestyles can make on the environment, and the wish to prevent the harm and suffering of animals.”

The Boston VegFest the festival is one of the longest running in the country. 

“This was our 23rd annual festival, and we all felt that it was our best yet which was extremely exciting for us,” said Kimber.

What set this year’s festival apart from others, Kimber said,  was a more efficient use of space as well as an increase of interest from the general public.

“This year, we expanded our space and were able to take on a large, 500-person theatre for our speakers, which freed up space for exhibitors and created a more comfortable atmosphere for all involved,” Kimber said.

Marissa Candace, 29, from Attleboro, MA, said volunteers like her aim to promote community enrichment with the program.

“The event is run completely by volunteers,” said Candace. “We are just really trying to expand outreach, better eating, and compassion to the Boston community and the public in general.”

The Boston Vegetarian Society also wanted to increase people’s knowledge about where their food is coming from and how it is produced.

“We’re really trying to educate people about factory farming as well as industrial farming,” said Candace. “It’s important for people to understand the origin of their food to not only lead a healthier, individual lifestyle but to live and eat in a way that is healthier for the world and more conscientious of the environment.”

Candace contrasted this 23rd festival with those of years past, saying the larger space allowed for a much more varied event. She said the event also had 30 more vendors than in previous years, allowing for more kinds of plant-based food to be offered.

“It’s also always fun having people who have never experienced having so many different vegan/vegetarian food options readily available before and learn that there really are an incredible amount of alternative options out there,” said Candace.

According to the Boston Veg Food Fest website, there were a total of 120 exhibitors this year who each strived to raise environmental awareness. In addition, The Boston Vegetarian Society and additional exhibitors maintained that this was a zero-waste event.

Second-year Northeastern English major Cameron Barone attended the festival for the first time and enjoyed the event as a passionate vegan.

“The festival was overwhelming in the best way possible,” said Barone. “As a vegan, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning in a building surrounded by all natural plant-based foods and hundreds of people who avidly support sustainable, healthy eating habits.”

When asked about her experience at the festival, Barone said that she enjoyed the event’s energy. Aside from the excitement of a variety of different foods, products, and information available, the spirit of the festival was marked by an overall passion for embracing a healthy, natural lifestyle.

Barone said that Evergreen Juices was her ultimate favorite and that the spirit at the festival was memorable and exciting.

“I love Evergreen Juices, their display was fantastic and they had interesting samples for people to try,” Barone said. “What I truly enjoyed about the day though, was not only being introduced to new foods and purchasing cool items, but the overall energy of the event and how everyone was so knowledgeable and excited about plant-based foods.”

On Nov. 16, The Boston Vegetarian Society is holding a dinner event with Will Tuttle in Brookline, MA. For tickets, visit bostonveg.brownpapertickets.com.

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Boston Vegetarian Food Festival proves plant-based power