Story by Jenessa Blanchet
Photos provided by VegFest
Whether you’re already vegan or have just been wanting to learn more about plant-based foods and local, animal friendly goods and services, VegFest Calgary 2019 (VFC), on June 15 at Shaw Millennium Park, would be a perfect introduction to or continued education in all things vegan.
In January, Health Canada’s updated Food Guide lauded a drastically different message than the one it had been promoting since bell-bottomed pants and Saturday Night Fever were a serious thing. That message, loud and clear, was: eat less meat and dairy, eat more plants. Vegans across the country rejoiced.
“We think it opened a lot of Canadians’ eyes to the fact that we don’t need to get our protein only from animals,” says Tamber Tisdale, representative for VFC.
Furthermore, “We believe that people are becoming more aware of how their individual actions are affecting the planet and those they share it with so they are interested in learning about how to live in a more compassionate and sustainable way.”
In Alberta, a province known for its beef industry, this could have been received about as well as an Oilers fan at a Flames game. But this wasn’t exactly scandalous news, was it? For some time now, there has been a rapidly growing movement toward plant based eating and ethical product consumption.
Enter VegFest Calgary, “A one-day, epic festival filled with delicious food, powerful industry speakers, local businesses, kids’ activity zone, live musicians, beer gardens and so much more!”
When asked what the festival organizers wanted to see as the biggest take away from this event, Tisdale replied, “That the vegan lifestyle is for EVERYONE. VFC is unique among other vegan festivals in that we take a strictly pro-intersectional approach, in which we advocate against all oppression. We do not tolerate racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, or hate of any kind.”
The brain child of eight passionate individuals with, “A dream to re-imagine how vegan culture is expressed in this city,” VFC began in 2016 and has grown each and every year.
“We aspired to create something tangible that would bring attention to an urgent global need for social, environmental, and food justice.”
VFC provides real access to learn more about vegan culture and philosophy, as well as the local vegan community. The door is open for you to explore, educate yourself, discover amazing food and mingle amongst a diverse group of people whose overall intention is simply to “empower individuals to make meaningful changes that will benefit our health, planet and the animals we share it with.”
I asked Tisdale to sum up the overall vibe of this festival in three words and it came down to:“Energetic, magnetic and expanding.”
Calgary is a city that proffers up a varied array of festivals and events that manage to, despite contrasting philosophies, coexist beneath the same skyline. In a city known for its cowboy culture, you will find this beautiful, inspired festival that has not only found its footing, but is successfully changing the way people think about the vegan movement and the city of Calgary itself.
Entry to VFC is free with voluntary cash donations upon entrance. The festival runs from 12 to 8 p.m., at Shaw Millennium Park, Saturday, June 15. To check out the full line up of speakers, exhibitors and sponsors or to find out more about this event, check out www.vegfestcalgary.com