Winnipeg VegFest is a free, one-day celebration of compassionate vegan living that will feature an all-star lineup of speakers, vendors, exhibitors, food, family fun, yoga, meditation and more.
SpeakersWe have an exciting lineup of speakers to educate and inspire. Speaking on topics relating to animal rights/welfare, sustainability, environment and health, there is something for everyone.
CAROL J. ADAMS
Carol J. Adams is a feminist-vegan advocate, activist, and independent scholar and the author of numerous books including her pathbreaking The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, now in a Bloomsbury Revelations edition celebrating its 25th anniversary. It has been translated into German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Portuguese and French. A Spanish edition will appear in 2016 and an Italian edition is in process. She is the co-editor of several important anthologies, including most recently Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (with Lori Gruen). The Carol J. Adams Reader: Writings and Conversations 1995-2015 appeared in the fall of 2016. Her writings are the subject of two recent anthologies, Defiant Daughters: 21 Women of Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Art of the Animal: 14 Women Artists Explore The Sexual Politics of Meat, in which a new generation of feminists, artists, and activists respond to Adams' groundbreaking work. She has a Masters of Divinity from Yale University. In the 1970s, she and her spouse, the Rev. Bruce Buchanan started a Hotline for Battered Women in upstate New York. She is the author of Woman-Battering (1995) in Fortress Press’s Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series. With Marie Fortune, she edited Violence Against Women and Children: A Christian Theological Sourcebook (1995). She is the author of the training manual, Pastoral Care for Domestic Violence: Case Studies for Clergy - for Christian Audiences - Training Manual (2007) published by the FaithTrust Institute. She wrote one of the earliest articles theorizing why batterers harm animals, “Woman-Battering and Harm to Animals" (in The Carol J. Adams Reader). Carol is also the author of books on living as a vegan, including Never Too Late to Go Vegan: The Over-50 Guide to Adopting and Thriving on a Vegan Diet (with Patti Breitman and Virginia Messina), Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Guide, How to Eat Like a Vegetarian Even if You Never Want to Be One.
Leilani Münter is a biology graduate, professional race car driver and environmental activist. Discovery's Planet Green named her the #1 eco athlete in the world, ELLE Magazine awarded her their Genius Award and Sports Illustrated named her one of the top ten female race car drivers in the world. Leilani is an advocate for solar power, electric cars, plant-based diet and animal rights. Leilani is active in lobbying for these causes in Washington, DC and beyond. She has been a guest at The White House and the United Nations in Geneva. Since 2007, Leilani has been adopting an acre of rainforest for every race she runs. She uses her race car to get environmental message in front of the 75 million race fans in the USA. Her race cars have carried messages about renewable energy from wind and solar power in addition to clean energy legislation. Leilani has also been active in the effort to end cetacean captivity and has run the documentaries The Cove and Blackfish on her race cars. She has raced both open wheel cars (Indy Pro Series) and stock cars (NASCAR, ARCA). Leilani has recorded 9 top five and 19 top ten finishes in 50 starts. Leilani is on the board of the Oceanic Preservation Society, a non-profit that creates film, photography and media, inspiring people to save the oceans. They won the Academy Award for their first documentary The Cove and Leilani is featured in their 2015 documentary Racing Extinction. Leilani is also an Ambassador for Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project, and organization she has been volunteering for since 2010. She also sits on the board of advisors of The Solutions Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy. Leilani is vegan. Her personal car is an electric Tesla Model S. Her home features solar panels, a 550 gallon rainwater collection system, solar and LED lighting, and a vegetable garden. Leilani’s motto is: Never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car.
Krista Hiddema serves as vice president for Mercy For Animals in Canada. MFA is the largest and most effective farmed animal advocacy organization in the world. Since setting up in Canada just five years ago, MFA has ushered in extraordinary change for farmed animals. Krista, along with MFA’s heroic volunteers, supporters, staff, and investigators, has ushered in historic policy changes, unprecedented legal reforms, and soaring public awareness. With 11 hard-hitting investigations, MFA was the first animal protection organization to go behind the closed doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses in Canada. The investigations spurred remarkable change for animals by helping MFA secure bans on gestation crates for mother pigs, cruel cages for nearly all egg-laying hens, and veal crates for baby calves. These bans will reduce suffering for hundreds of millions of farmed animals each year. Krista and team attained unprecedented legal convictions of factory farms, their owners, and their workers. A shocking exposé at Canada’s largest dairy factory farm resulted in charges against the facility, its owner, and seven workers. It was the first time a factory farm and its owner had been convicted of animal cruelty for acts of their employees after an undercover investigation by an animal protection group. Additionally, the investigation prompted the BC agricultural minister to amend the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to incorporate a new code of practice that mandated farms provide nonslip flooring, adequate bedding, and proper veterinary care. Krista is honored to be vice president for MFA in Canada, working every day for the most abused animals in world. She feels deeply fortunate to help lead an animal protection organization rated the world’s top by Animal Charity Evaluators four years in a row!
Mimi Kirk is a bestselling author, internationally renowned lecturer, raw food chef and coach. She has been a vegetarian and a vegan for the better part of 40 years. Mimi is well-known in the vegan and raw vegan community and the author of Live Raw, Live Raw Around the World, Raw-Vitalize and The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing. Mimi was awarded the title of PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian over 50” - a title that has piqued a great deal of public interest in her secrets of health and longevity. She has used this interest as an opportunity to share her lifestyle and help others transition into eating a plant based raw food diet. At 78 years old, Mimi says she feels like she’s in her 20’s. She credits her youthful look and spirit not only to her attitude, but really to her way of eating, which is a raw vegan, living foods lifestyle.
Camille Labchuk is a Canadian animal rights lawyer and Executive Director of Animal Justice – Canada’s only animal law advocacy organization. Animal Justice works to promote tough new animal protection legislation, enforce laws already on the books, and fights legal cases in courtrooms. Camille’s work includes defending the rights of animal advocates, intervening in Canadian court cases to enhance animals’ legal interests, filing false advertising complaints against companies making misleading humane claims, documenting Canada’s commercial seal slaughter, exposing hidden suffering on farms, and combating trophy hunting, circuses, zoos, aquariums, shark finning, puppy mills, and more. Camille is a frequent lecturer on animal law topics, a regular contributor to Canadian newspapers and new websites, and her work has been featured in countless media stories.
Dave Nickarz is Vice President of Sea Shepherd Canada. A life-long environmentalist, Dave has 25 years of active experience in forest conservation, marine wildlife protection and working to end the use of pesticides and other toxins. In 1993, along with a thousand other activists, Dave stood up for the ancient rainforests of Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia. This successful civil disobedience campaign was the largest in Canadian history. Dave played a key role in the successful effort to end logging in Manitoba’s provincial parks. This grassroots effort, which took twenty years to achieve, resulted in a parks logging ban in 2009. Dave has devoted years of his life to serving on the ships of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a marine conservation group dedicated to protecting marine wildlife. He’s sailed on a total of eight campaigns over 17 years including the successful campaign to stop illegal whaling in the waters around Antarctica.
Meet the VegFest Team
Jason Hannan is Associate Professor in the Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications at the University of Winnipeg, where he teaches a new course called, “The Rhetoric of Animality.” He is currently writing a book entitled, Voices of the Voiceless: Speaking for Animals and Nature, which examines the legacies of Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, and Carol J. Adams. He is also putting together a volume of essays entitled, Animals Under Capitalism: The Rhetoric of Denial, which looks at the disinformation of the meat industry. He is thrilled about Winnipeg’s first-ever VegFest.
Nikki is a passionate vegan and animal rights activist who has done volunteer work for several animal rights organizations. She has organized campaigns and outreach events in Winnipeg and has given lectures on topics relating to factory farming and compassionate living. She has a BFA Hons. in Art History, is an avid artist and well-seasoned traveler. Nikki feels that there are many misconceptions about veganism and sees VegFest as a wonderful opportunity to expose the community to this compassionate lifestyle in a fun, positive way.
Jonas is the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association’s liaison on the Winnipeg Humane Society’s board of directors, and a member of the Society’s Farm Animal Compassion Committee. He works as a small animal Veterinarian in the city of Winnipeg. He has a strong interest in animal welfare and strives to do all that he can, personally and professionally, to stand up for both domestic farmed and companion animals, and wildlife. To Jonas, Winnipeg’s first ever VegFest is a unique opportunity for its citizens to celebrate the growing humane movement and engage in dialogue with, and learn from, the leading voices in the world of animal advocacy.
Trevor is a strong voice for animals in Winnipeg. A vegan and animal rights activist, he has organized and participated in outreach events and done public speaking to encourage others to extend their circle of compassion to include all living beings. Trevor has a BA in History from the University of Manitoba, is a world traveler and an enthusiastic sports fan (particularly English football). Trevor is looking forward to Winnipeg VegFest because it’s a great way to spread compassion and awareness throughout Winnipeg.
Randy Tonnellier has been a volunteer at the Winnipeg Humane Society for over 10 years. He is currently the Treasurer of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Farm Animal Compassion Committee (FACC). FACC consists of approximately 20 dedicated volunteers who seek to make the world a kinder place for farm animals through advocacy and public education. Randy is excited about VegFest because it’s an opportunity for Winnipeggers from all walks of life to come together, learn and have a good time.
Brittany is a Veterinary Technologist with a passion for enhancing animal welfare. Through the years, her work has taken her across the globe and has enabled her to gain invaluable experience with a variety of animal welfare issues. She has a special place in her heart for farm animals and understands the necessity of living a cruelty-free lifestyle. She is incredibly excited to be helping plan Winnipeg’s very first VegFest. VegFest is important to Brittany because it showcases the various ways in which one can pursue a cruelty-free lifestyle, while educating consumers on the impact that their choices have.
Vanessa has been very fortunate to have been surrounded by animals her entire life. This love for animals comes from her parents who somehow allowed she and her sisters to have pretty much every pet you can think of, including two pot belly pigs. Although she grew up in the city, she spent a large part of her teen years on a farm with her beloved horse, Posh. Since graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s of Nursing, her job involves caring for human animals. The majority of her time is spent with her beloved dogs, Max and Fig, who she adores beyond words.
Ellie is very much a nature lover. She is passionate about the environment, animals and animal justice issues. She is also an avid concert goer who enjoys classical, jazz and heavy metal. Ellie likes to spend her free time watching documentaries, reading or walking in nature and she has recently become part of the zero-waste movement. VegFest is important to her because she understands that veganism is one of the most significant justice movements of our time. She is excited to be working with a great team to bring education, resources and entertainment about veganism and animal justice to the public with VegFest.
Lynn Murphy is a strong voice in the local vegan community. She is a passionate animal rights activist, nutritionist and vegan coach with a BA in Sociology from the University of Winnipeg and an eCornell certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Centre for Nutrition Studies. Lynn is excited about VegFest because she believes that education is key and that a plant-based diet will become the norm in the not-too-distant future in order to save our planet for future generations.
Melissa is a lawyer and a sessional professor at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law. Classed as property, animals have no legal voice, so she advocates for improving the welfare of animals through education and the law. Melissa also works to develop awareness of animal suffering among the legal profession and the general public. She believes that each of us is capable of transforming society in monumental ways and a shift towards a plant based lifestyle helps combat world hunger and the impacts of climate change, while promoting the humane treatment of animals. Melissa is thrilled to be part of the VegFest team.
Adriana is a graduate student in Mathematics at University of Manitoba. She has a BSc(Hons) in Mathematics from Oxford Brookes University in United Kingdom, in her free time she enjoys going to museums, reading or walking in nature. Recently she has discovered the vegan lifestyle and understood the impact this has on the environment and on our health. Adriana is excited about Winnipeg’s first ever VegFest because it is a unique opportunity to spread compassion and educate people on the effect that their choices have, and to witness all the vegans and non-vegans fill a space together enjoying, learning, and sharing positive ideas and a healthy ways of living.
Caitlin plays a heavy role in the local handmade community, and enjoys event planning - the social media aspect in particular. She is passionate about plant base cooking and supporting local markets and brick and mortar shops. While her day-job includes Purchasing and Vendor Relations, she devotes the majority of her evenings to her labour of love "Real Swanky", creating hand embroidered wall art with ethically sourced materials. She has a strong interest in keeping a carbon footprint and support local as often as she is able. To Caitlin, Winnipeg's VegFest is a huge opportunity to get to know the ever-growing local vegan community and share a snicker at her table of hand-embroidered goods, which are perfectly salty, snarky and made with heaps of care.
WHY VEGFEST?The global vegan movement is spreading rapidly and Winnipeg’s vegan population has exploded in the past few years. With a growing awareness and concern for issues relating to animals, the planet and our health, people are becoming increasingly interested in taking action to make positive change. With major cities all over the world hosting VegFests to unite the community and cultivate compassion, we decided that Winnipeg was long-overdue for a VegFest of our own! Winnipeg VegFest is an initiative of the Winnipeg Humane Society’s Farm Animal Compassion Committee. Our volunteer-run committee consists of people who are passionate about helping animals and devoted to spreading compassion. We have been working tirelessly to ensure that Winnipeg VegFest is an event that our city can be proud of and will spread the message of limitless compassion in a fun, engaging and inclusive way.
If you love animals and don’t want to cause them unnecessary harm, then you already share our values! Animals are sentient beings who value their lives and want to be free from pain and suffering - just as we do. We see animals as friends; not food, fashion or entertainment and believe that everyone has the power to vote for compassion and kindness through their choices. To quote Pam Ahern of Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary: “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?”.
Eating plants is good for the environment and the global population - a plant-based diet cuts your carbon footprint in half! Factory farming uses up vast quantities of natural resources and is recognized as one of the leading causes of global warming. According to a United Nations report, a worldwide shift towards a vegan diet is critical to combat climate change, preserve our planet for future generations and fight world hunger. Even by reducing our intake of animal products (i.e. Meatless Monday) we can positively impact the planet.
We’ve heard it a million times: “you are what you eat”. Well, guess what? It’s true! Filling our diet with an abundance of plants - fruits, vegetables, whole grains - is not only delicious, but healthy! A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce rates of, and often reverse, many of the ‘diseases of affluences’ that plague our society today: cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc. People often wonder where vegans get their protein, calcium, iron and other nutrients from, but the reality is that plants are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet! The Dieticians of Canada state on their website that “a healthy vegan diet can meet all your nutrient needs at any stage of life including when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or for older adults”. Many athletes have even adopted a vegan diet to improve their performance and endurance! So, go ahead and eat your veggies!