Meet The VegFest Committee Members

A team of dedicated volunteers that lead the planning and organization of VegFest London.

 Front Row from Left to Right: Abby McCuaig, Social Media Lead, Krista Kankula, Festival Founder, Marketing & Vendor Lead, Joan Bongers, Speaker & Financial Lead, Teresa Ford, Newsletter & Blog Lead, Amanda Dwyer, Social Media Lead.   Back Row from Left to Right: Melanie Gamsby, Speaker & Financial Lead, Kristen Houghton, Logistics Lead, Matt Schwab, Volunteer Lead, Susan Campbell, Public Relations Lead, Jay McIntosh, Vendor Lead  Missing from photo: Carol McLeod, Website Lead, Candice Hicks, Volunteer Lead

Front Row from Left to Right: Abby McCuaig, Social Media Lead, Krista Kankula, Festival Founder, Marketing & Vendor Lead, Joan Bongers, Speaker & Financial Lead, Teresa Ford, Newsletter & Blog Lead, Amanda Dwyer, Social Media Lead.

Back Row from Left to Right: Melanie Gamsby, Speaker & Financial Lead, Kristen Houghton, Logistics Lead, Matt Schwab, Volunteer Lead, Susan Campbell, Public Relations Lead, Jay McIntosh, Vendor Lead

Missing from photo: Carol McLeod, Website Lead, Candice Hicks, Volunteer Lead

Krista kankula, festival founder, marketing & vendor lead

After going vegan 6 years ago and visiting Niagara VegFest and Toronto Veg Food Fest, Krista was inspired to bring a similar festival to London. Krista is the founder of the festival and served as Chair from 2014-17 and focuses on growing our vendor and sponsor community. You can usually find her covered in paint and eating vegan poutine.

Joan Bongers, speaker & financial lead

Joan became vegan January 1st, 2014 following 5 years of being a vegetarian. The more she learned about veganism, the more inspired she became to adopt a plant based lifestyle. With a childhood history in farming, she always felt a connection to the animals and was distraught when they would suddenly disappear. It was only when she invested in learning about healthy eating while raising her children did she become more curious and focused on changing her childhood indoctrination. The change was a process and only while becoming more educated and finding inspiration in others did she make that shift. Planting seeds of change and hope is the legacy she wishes to leave as well as a stronger and healthier planet with all sentient beings living harmoniously.

Abby Mccuaig, social media lead

Abby is a local animal rights activist and organizer with the Worldwide Save Movement. In addition to organizing slaughterhouse vigils, protests and rescues in and around the Forest City, Abby also works the front lines with Toronto Pig Save - aiding them with content creation, video editing and promotion. Abby has been with VegFest since year one and is very excited to continue to help the vegan message grow in London, Ontario. 

candice hicks, volunteer lead

As someone passionate about veganism, Candice is happy to be a volunteer coordinator for VegFest London. She has been vegan for over ten years (yes even before they had figured out good vegan cheese!). She was inspired to go vegan after watching videos of the way people use and exploit non-human animals. Candice loves to bake delicious vegan cupcakes and always attends VegFest to try as many vegan goodies as she can. VegFest is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and she is excited to be on the team that brings it to London!

Teresa Ford, newsletter & blog lead

Teresa is passionate about inspiring and motivating people along the path toward veganism. She joined the VegFest London committee because she knows VegFest is a powerful agent for change. And she's excited about the momentum this incredible movement is gaining...paving the way toward a brighter future for all.

susan campbell, public relations lead

After a 30 year career in media, Susan is thrilled to be the Public Relations Lead for VegFest London for her second year. She has been vegan for about 2.5 years - her vegan inspiration is her son, Matt. Through him, she has learned so much about veganism, and she continues to be inspired and educated every day! She feels very lucky that both her children and their partners are vegan and she hopes that she can inspire others to learn more and make the switch. VegFest is an amazing community festival - she has attended since the first year and looks forward to helping make this year's event the best one yet!

amanda dwyer, social media lead

Amanda has been vegan for five years now, and over this time she developed a passion for cooking and learning new recipes. She tends to take spontaneous trips around the world, and ends up finding the most amazing foods and adventures! Amanda has met so many wonderful people, and she is grateful for every relationship she has built. She is currently a teacher with Thames Board and living in London with her partner and their daughter.

Kristen houghton, logistics lead

Kristen has been vegan since 2013.  For the first two VegFests she volunteered and had a wonderful time and met great people. She’s looking forward to being more involved with the committee and growing the London vegan community. 

matt schwab, volunteer lead

After participating in VegFest as an attendee, Matt is excited to be a volunteer coordinator of event-day volunteers for VegFest London! Matt became vegan after watching the powerful documentary Earthlings which inspired him to make the connection to the individual animals affected by our food, clothing and entertainment choices. He is now an activist, focusing on disrupting speciesism. He has been been attending the festival for years and has been working with the committee for over a year now. Matt is stoked to bring another successful VegFest to London!

Jay mcintosh, vendor lead

Jay is a 52-year-old vegan who has been vegetarian for over 30 years. Jay made the conscious decision to go fully vegan after watching some amazing documentaries (like Get Vegicated, Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy). As they say, you can’t unlearn what you know, and Jay could no longer justify eating dairy, especially when there are so many amazing alternatives. He was also inspired by Vegfest London 2 years ago to become vegan and with the support and encouragement of his wife, Shelagh, they are raising 2 children in the vegan lifestyle. Jay feels that with education and understanding, the majority of people will one day be vegan.

carol mcleod, website lead

After some health issues 9 years ago, Carol turned to a vegetarian diet and noticed remarkable changes almost immediately. When her oldest daughter decided to go vegan on New Year’s Day, 2016, she saw the positive changes it made to her outlook on life and the environment. A few months later Carol decided to take the plunge and became vegan. She’s never looked back. This is her second year as a Vegfest London volunteer, and first as a committee member.