Featured Presenter – Anna Pippus
Anna Pippus is an animal rights lawyer and activist living in Toronto. She focuses the majority of her efforts on advocating on behalf of farmed animals because their suffering is profound, widespread, and largely socially accepted. Anna was a founding board member of Mercy For Animals Canada and is currently serving as the organization’s Acting Director of Operations.
How did you decide to become a veg/vegan?
I became vegetarian as a kid because eating meat vaguely didn’t sit well with me. I don’t think I could have articulated why I was vegetarian at that young age, but I took it very seriously, reading the labels of my vegetable-flavoured ramen noodles (the only thing I knew how to cook) and feeling as though vegetarianism was part of my identity. I didn’t know anything about animal agriculture, and I never turned my mind to it. It wasn’t until years later that I learned about the realities of factory farming. I was horrified. I stopped eating eggs and dairy virtually immediately, upset that all this time, I–an animal lover–had been participating in causing so much suffering to these vulnerable, sensitive animals. I have never looked back.
Did you have to make major changes to adjust to a vegan lifestyle?
I thought becoming vegan would be really hard at first, largely because cheese was my favourite food. The biggest hurdle for me was psychological: could I really do this? In fact, it turned out to be so much easier than I could have imagined. I have heard other vegans say this too. I was surprised to discover that the food I was eating became more diverse as I started to cook foods I had never even heard of (by this time, my cooking repertoire had expanded well beyond boiling ramen noodles). I enjoyed seeking out new restaurants, products, and recipes with my husband, and for the first time I started learning about nutrition, which almost inadvertently had the effect of improving my diet. Now I think it’s funny that I ever thought I couldn’t give up cheese. Did you know it comes from lactating cows? I know. Totally weird.
Anna Pippus’s talk, Inspiring Compassion: The Plight of Farmed Animals in Canada will be at 5:30 in the Studio Theatre
Featured Exhibitor – Front Door Organic
Front Door Organics brings a fresh and energectic approach to organic home delivery in Toronto. They are a small family-run company owned and operated by Angela Donnelly and JJ Sheppard.
At the festival, they will be showcasing all of the fresh local organic produce they have and have a great special for Festival goers interested in our delivery service. The look forward to the great food, wonderful people they always meet and the fantastic atmosphere!
Find Front Door Organics all weekend long in International Marketplace
Featured Presenter – Jo-Anne McArthur
The We Animals project was created by award-winning photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur who has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for over ten years. Her documentary project, We Animals, is internationally celebrated and over 80 animal organizations, among them Igualdad Animal, Sea Shepherd and the Jane Goodall Institute, have benefited from her photography.
Jo-anne, a Canadian junior champion in curling is slowly putting together the first We Animals photobook. She enjoys seeing movies, reading, gardening and seeing friends. She loves the Vegetarian Festival, she says, “it’s like Christmas and loves taking part in, seeing and eating as much as I can”.
Her workshop will be fairly interactive and the goal is to get people more familiar with some photography basics and why it’s important to take good photos for the animal right movement, at sanctuaries, of animals that are up for adoption, and finally in investigative work. For her, Good pictures speak volumes, often more than any text can, so she feels it is crucial that the images representing animals are well executed and compelling.
Join Jo-Anne McArthur’s workshop, “Helping Animals Through Photography”, at 1:30 pm in Studio Lab 3.
Featured Exhibitor – Truth Veg Belts
Truth Veg Belts owner and designer Renia Pruchnicki, back in 2001 found herself in the unemployment line after being laid off from her job. She had always wanted to own her own company. Through the help of an “unemployment assistance” program, which was a course on how to start your own business, she did just that! And that was how Truth Veg Belts got started.
With $2000.00 of her own money and a small business loan, she came out with her first line of belts. The reason that her belts were vegan is because she had never worked with leather and she did not know how to! She had been a designer of ski and snowboard wear for several years and knew a lot about technical materials. She simply used the materials that she was familiar with. And so began Truth! This year Truth is celebrating its 11th year in business. Even cows across the globe agree that the vegan belts at Truth are the best you can find! Shipping is free!
At this year’s festival, Renia is very excited to be unveiling a couple new items such as the Kid’s Elastic Belts and Suspenders, which are known for the cute patterns that include fish, flowers, elephants and their fun colours. Another item is the SITband, which is a new product, similar to a belt but you can wear it around knees and back while sitting on the ground. It can make you sit straight up or you can lean back into it. With the idea, that because so many people are at the Food festival, it would be an ideal product and only costs $20.00!
Find Truth at the festival all weekend long in the International Marketplace