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Health & Environment

Vegan Food Fest promotes a plant-based living

The Boston Vegetarian Society held the 24th Annual Boston Veg Food Fest  in a sports stadium in Massachusetts last Saturday with over 100 vendors participating to advocate a plant-based diet, meanwhile promoting animal and environmental protection.

On the first-floor exhibition hall in Reggis Lewis Center where the Vegan Food Fest is held, customers saunter by the pathways, along which different tables are presenting and selling their plant-based foods and products. Some exhibitors are in a smaller room on the second floor.

Vendors at the Fest sold a large range of products from vegan food to sports gear. "We see whose books are coming out and who we think are the community we really like to hear from. We also look around to local restaurants turfs," said David Havelick, a key member of the Boston Vegetarian Society.

David Havelick, a key member of the Boston Vegetarian Society, stands at the entrance of the first-floor exhibition hall. "Now we can't fit everyone here. You gotta imagine the 25th [fest] is gonna be huge," he says with exaltation.
According to Mr. Havelick, the first Boston Veg Food Fest, held in 1996, was born out of an idea from a group of vegetarians and vegans at Massachusetts Institute of Technology when "vegan" was a new concept to people and often mispronounced.

In 2018, 3% of the American population declared vegans. However, the rate of vegetarians has remained 5% to 6% since 1999, according to a Gallup investigation. Google Trends suggests that searches of "vegan" in America have roughly sextupled since 2004, while those of “vegetarian” have remained the same.

Paul Dann, a vendor of Cafe Indigo, cuts his carrot cake with a cream cheese-like frosting, the cake they featured at the fest. His wife Patti Dann is at another table with their home recipes and presentations of their home-made foods on three-tiered trays.
Kaylyn Keane, a vendor who wants to bring pickling back to the mainstream as the brand name "Lost Art" suggests, displaces a can of sample beet-kraut on the table. "Especially in the States it [pickling] kind of fell out of fashion...Now it's having a revival because people realize it's really healthy, full of probiotic, and also stays for a really long time," she said.
Jon Cornel invites a customer to a demonstration of how sharp his Swiss peelers are. "Give me your pinky, turn your hand over, hold it, give a pull," he guided. The customer is stunned at a strip of cucumber easily peeled off by the little force of her pinky.

At the Fest, the vegan carrot cake from Cafe Indigo attracted many customers. The owner, Paul Dann, started their business when he and his wife made a vegan wedding cake to their vegetarian daughter as they were lack of choices in local bakeries back then.

Viviana Wilches, standing beside some crafted yoga mats, has an ambition to bring sustainability and eco-friendliness to the yoga world. Her company is based in New York.

Viviana Wilches, a vendor of Shakti Warrior, had her table mottled by a variety of yoga mats made of cork, hemp fabric and natural true rubber. 

"Yoga mats are made of plastics and they're not eco-friendly, and they end up in the landfill. We want to make a product that stays true to the practice and wellness and make sure it's not toxic," Ms. Wilches said.

Fanciful Fox is a company devoted to producing plant-based bath and body products. Its booth emits a pleasant smell around. Owner Kathy Fox said their products are made from plant oils and natural extracts. "All the oils are well absorbed into your skin to help balance and moisturize your skin," she added.

"A plant-based and vegan lifestyle is about everything that you're purchasing and driving demands for, and we want to exploit fewer animals and be good to the environment, so we need to do more than just food," said Mr. Havelick.

Jackie Shi helps with garbage sorting. She does this as a service at Alpha Phi Omega fraternity she belongs to. "We make sure that exhibitors are using compostable products that can be returned to the earth instead of things that go in the trash. We really try to be as zero-waste as possible," says Mr. Havelick, adding that it has been a tradition for 10 years.

One of the organisers, Evelyn Kimber, believed the Fest can help spread the interest in vegan, pure plant-based eating among different people.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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