Plan Your Visit to VegFest London 2018

It's Almost Thyme for VegFest London!
Saturday, November 10 from 10 am - 6 pm

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for! Our annual celebration of community + compassion + plants. As always, we look forward to welcoming you and we want to help you maximize your VegFest London experience. Read on for our tips and tricks for navigating the big day and download a copy of our festival program to keep handy!



Thanks to all the 2017 VegFest attendees who brought vegan non-perishable items for donation to the London Food Bank. We’re putting out the call again, and this year your donations will go to the London Ontario Vegan Food Bank. Your donations will help stock the food bank over the winter and the Food Bank will raffle some amazing prizes. Check out the event page here.

Some of our vendors will only be handling cash sales, so if you plan to shop bring some cash. There are three ATMs onsite too. On your way in you can pick up your program so you can be sure you don't miss a beet.


To help reduce waste, we’re encouraging everyone to bring reusable shopping bags, mugs/bottles, plates/containers and utensils. If you do, you could win this "Zero Waste Essentials" kit (worth $108) courtesy of London’s Naked store at Reimagine Co. VegFest attendees who want to enter to win will receive 1 ballot per item you bring, for a maximum total of 4 ballots. Collect your ballots at either of our two information booths.

And VegFest is even more fun with friends. So bring your whole squad and strike a pose at the Photo Booth sponsored by Purdy Natural and Booch Organic Kombucha.




Sweet coupons and other goodies fill these awesome bags and the first 500 attendees at VegFest London will get one. You'll have to arrive early though as these go fast.



VegFest London will take place at the Western Fair Agriplex in the Western Fair District at 845 Florence Street in London. There is ample free parking. Need directions? Click here, we've got you covered.


Admission is $5 - children 12 and under are free. You can pay by cash or credit. If paying by cash, exact change would be much appreciated. Admission is available on event day at the entrance.



Thanks to our friends at Rebirth Wellness Centre we have a whole area dedicated to kids, filled with face painting, colouring and more. The children's area is open all day from 10 am - 6 pm.



New this year! The Benevolent Barn is offering free yoga classes on-site to relax and rejuvenate.



All guest speakers and our cooking demonstration will take place on two stages in the Western Fair Agriplex. Seating is limited for each of the sessions so arrive early. Click here to learn more about our speakers.

Carrot Stage Schedule
11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Genesis Butler ~ Living a Compassionate Life and Advocating for Animals at any Age
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
: Susie Coston ~ The Role of Farm Animal Sanctuaries
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm:
Camille Labchuk ~ Animal Law 101: How We Can All Be Legal Advocates for Animals
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm:
John Lewis ‘Badass Vegan’ ~ Food Choices we make that can either Poison or Promote Life
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm:
Justin Plet ~ Musician - performing a great mix of Canadiana, current Indie, 70s Folk, and music to sing along to!

Beet Stage Schedule
10:30 am - 11:30 am: Caterina Lindman ~ Eating to be kinder to the Earth
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Toni Okamoto ~ Eating Plant Based On A Budget
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: Chef Yoda Olinyk ~ Cooking Demo - Aquafaba... the new miracle egg replacer!!
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm: James Wildman ~ 101 Reasons to go Vegan
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Amanda Barker ~ Cultivate Connection, Engender Empathy, Prepare for Peace

Special thanks to our festival emcees Marty Menard, Ben Le Roi and Kevin Lahey. Learn more about them here.



Tons of vegan food and product vendors, health and wellness vendors and animal sanctuaries and rescue organizations will be all in ONE PLACE for this ONE DAY! Check out our full vendor list here.

Come hungry and ready to shop. If you feel like you need a break along the way, enjoy some time relaxing in our dining area.   


See you on November 10!

We believe in a kinder world & we know that you do too!


By now many Londoners have surrendered to the sheer joy of a Boombox Bakeshop cupcake. Whether it’s a classic flavour combo or something a little more adventurous, these vegan wonders are a hot commodity. But have you heard that Boombox also bakes custom vegan cakes?


The Boombox Bakeshop’s custom cakes are as delicious and ethical as they are beautiful. Think birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, promotions, engagements and the birth of a child. To be sure, there is no shortage of occasions to celebrate with a big slice of delectable cake.  

Then there’s the cake of all cakes…a wedding cake! Boombox is excited that their wedding cakes are enjoyed by a growing number of clients who choose a vegan cake for their special day. Whether it’s in Toronto or Windsor or anyplace in between, a Boombox wedding cake is sure to impress.


As the days turn cooler, think of making Boombox your cozy destination for a warm drink and a cupcake. They have some impossible-to-resist offers: a coffee, tea or hot chocolate with a cupcake for $5, or a latte with a cupcake for $7. Boombox has a wide selection of plant-based milks for their warm drinks, so you can either enjoy your tried and true, or experiment with something different. They also have weekly featured lattes definitely worth checking out (some past features have been the Pumpkin Spiced Latte and the Peppermint Mocha Latte…yum!).

Boombox welcomes you to sit and stay awhile…relax into the sweet bakery ambience, peruse their supply of books or enjoy one of their board games. Of course, taking your beverages and treats to go is always an option. Either way, supporting this local business is a smart and scrumptious decision.

Photo credit: Amy Muschik, Imagery by Amy

Photo credit: Amy Muschik, Imagery by Amy


Website –

Facebook -

Instagram - @theboomboxbakeshop

Twitter - @boomboxbakeshop

VegFest London is grateful for The Boombox Bakeshop's support, being a vendor and proud sponsor of VegFest London for four years in a row now. This year The Boombox Bakeshop is the Volunteer Sponsor for VegFest. We're looking forward to seeing you at VegFest and at The Boombox Bakeshop soon!

The Plant Matter Movement: The Growth of Vegan Philosophy, Cuisine, and Discourse in The Forest City

Written by Kre'Adiv House

As the vegan movement grows worldwide, so too does it grow in Southwestern Ontario’s Forest City.

The Plant Matter Movement—represented by three booming restaurants and their passionate founder/owner Glenn Whitehead—is always finding new ways to educate the community, contribute to the growing accessibility of vegan options, and encourage the discourse around plant-based eating and living.

The Plant Matter Philosophy

Photo Credit: Property of Postmedia

Photo Credit: Property of Postmedia

Glenn’s vision for Plant Matter Kitchen (PMK)—as well as Plant Matter Bistro (PMB) and Plant Matter Cafe (PMC)—has always been to create a hub where vegans and non-vegans alike (from London and surrounding areas) could come together, break bread, offer up cheers, enjoy conversation, and celebrate the prospects of a healthy, vibrant, supportive, and engaged community.

With every passing year, Glenn has come to realize that achieving success has meant never wavering from his core ethics of protecting animal rights and ensuring food safety and security. In his nearly three years of restaurant ownership, Glenn’s envisioned philosophy from day one has remained steadfast: creating high-quality food using the best possible ingredients from local sources will appeal to everyone, vegans and non-vegans alike.

 “We've seen many people's minds change about their perceptions of vegan food,” says Glenn about the growth of the Plant Matter conversation. “More people are embracing the vegan lifestyle. Many entrepreneurs continue to push this market as there are lots of new and emerging vegan places opening.”

 “The community,” Glenn adds, “has become more vocal, more activist-minded. The awareness of the truth behind our food is becoming increasingly harder to avoid, and as a result, we’re seeing drops in sales of animal products across North America.”

The Plant Matter Restaurants

PM restaurant logos.jpg

The growth of the Plant Matter restaurants is indicative of support for the vegan lifestyle in London; all three restaurants continue to partner with local food and beverage companies, are now working with Skip The Dishes, welcome guests who travel from out of town to experience the Plant Matter menus, and strive to give back to the community in whichever ways they can—proving they are about more than food, and are committed to supporting the diverse vegan community.

What do Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel, vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke, and the band Elliott Brood have in common, other than being vegan? They’ve all supported PMK! Aside from its famous dinners, PMK also offers event catering, has a Meal Plan program in the works, has added Beyond Meat’s renowned Beyond Burger to the menu, has given back to various local charities and non-profit groups, has helped host Taste of Vegan London, has recently partnered with Green Goddess Guelph, and hosted a Pre-Festival VegFest dinner party for the third year in a row.

The sleek, New York-style PMB that will soon celebrate its first anniversary, has participated in local events that give back to the community (including Health Kick LDN and The Shoe Box Project), hosts a Meatless Monday challenge, has a new fall menu on the horizon, and is offering discounts to Fanshawe College and Western University students, specials on bottles of wine on Wednesdays and draught beers on Thursdays, and a two-can-dine Friday date night special.

PMC, the newest and most casual of the three, offers specialty coffees with a Canadian flair, such as The Coconuck: PMC’s signature “double-double,” has a grab-and-go refrigerator loaded with fresh lunch items each day, and is home to the recognizable table where Glenn and Marty Menard host their hit podcast Two Reasonable Vegans.

The Plant Matter Approach That Sprouted A Podcast

Marty & Glenn.jpg

As a way to expand the plant-based discourse (and all topics that involve animal rights, environmentalism, and activism), Glenn has collaborated with his longtime friend and fellow vegan activist Marty Menard in a new project: Two Reasonable Vegans* (2RV).

This podcast serves as a medium through which they discuss, argue, and debate everything from current events and art to food and business, all through the lens of veganism—sometimes with guests, often with foul language, and always with passion and conviction.

Their first podcast, which shone light on a local issue causing a rift in London’s restaurant community, was launched on June 18, 2018. Since then, 2RV has released 10 additional episodes, launched a website and social media pages (Facebook and Instagram), and host their podcast across various platforms (SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher).

Hosts Glenn and Marty have been interviewed on radio shows (NewsTalk 1290 CJBK and, spoken at events (VegFest Windsor and VegFest London), welcomed world renowned activists Earthling Ed and James Aspey to their table, and developed a growing audience that values plant-based eating and living—so involved that they stop Glenn and Marty on the streets to say hello!

For Glenn, this podcast is “a way to speak further to veganism as a social justice issue.”

When asked what 2RV means to Marty, he responded: "As an educator and news junkie, I wanted to help create a show that explored the science, ecology, and socio-economic impact of plant-based living. 2RV is a show where no subject is off limits and opposing points of view are welcome to the table.”

Stay tuned for Season Two, which is sure to be as riveting, controversial, foul-mouthed, and passionate as Season One!

Glenn and the Plant Matter restaurants are excited to be contributing to the vegan movement and to be changing the vegan landscape in London through their philosophy and their food; they hope to be able to continue to serve an evolving plant-based community in a variety of facets for many years to come.

Be sure to visit the restaurants’ websites for more Plant Matter updates and tune into the 2RV podcast when the new season airs.

 * The podcast episodes available on this website contain coarse language.

Announcing the 2018 VegFest London Guest Speakers!

VegFest London is so excited about this year's speaker lineup! There is a massive amount of knowledge, wisdom and passion among them and we couldn't be happier that they'll be rocking our stages come November 10. Without further they are! (Check back later in September for the schedule.)



Genesis Butler is an 11-year-old animal rights advocate who went vegan on her own when she was 5. Genesis has attended numerous demos to protest against animal testing and entertainment venues that exploit animals. At the age of 10, Genesis presented a TEDx talk on animal agriculture and its destruction of the planet. She is featured in Vegan Everyday Stories and The Invisible Vegan. In 2018, Genesis established her non-profit organisation, Genesis for Animals, to raise funds for animal sanctuaries around the world. She also speaks regularly at various vegan and non-vegan events discussing the benefits of veganism.

In Genesis’ talk, she will share her vegan journey and will provide insight she has learned along the way that will inspire others to live a compassionate life and advocate for animals whether you are 3 or 93!



Instagram: @aveganchildsjourney

Twitter: @GenesisButlerV



Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1977, John grew up in St. Louis, MO. At a young age of 13 John found himself at 315 pounds, but through hard work and dedication he lost the weight and excelled in football and basketball. He continued his streak of athletic excellence throughout his high school and college years in McCluer Senior High in the heart of Ferguson, MO. and Harris-Stowe State College respectively. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he later went on to pursue his MBA from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. John’s education in business coupled with his love for health and fitness gave him the ability to start his venture – BadAss Vegan.  

As a well renowned fitness expert, John Lewis has spent over a decade in the health and fitness industry. John is highly passionate about not only his own health and fitness, but that of others as well.

In addition to his extensive knowledge in body sculpting and contouring, what makes John one of the top national fitness consultants is his creative ability to understand and live a vegan lifestyle while maintaining a physique that is commendable. In essence, he is able to cater to a diverse group of individuals and his services are highly sought after as he masterfully creates and develops personalized, unique and healthy life changing plans.  



Instagram/Twitter: @badassvegan

Photo credit: Michelle Cehn

Photo credit: Michelle Cehn


Toni Okamoto is the founder of Plant-Based on a Budget, the popular website, food blog, and meal plan that shows you how to save dough by eating veggies. She’s also author of The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook. Plant-Based on a Budget has been featured in Reader’s Digest, US News and World Report, and more. Toni’s also a regular presence on the FOX affiliate in Sacramento, where she teaches viewers how to break their meat habit without breaking their budget, and was featured in the popular documentary What the Health. Toni is a burrito enthusiast, and spends her free time swing dancing across the county.

Toni will talk about how affordable, easy, and delicious eating a plant-based diet can be, how you don’t have to shop at specialty grocery stores or restock your pantry with all kinds of unfamiliar products and substitutes, and, most of all, how you don’t have to sacrifice time, taste, or money in the pursuit of healthier, tastier eating.


Instagram and Facebook: @plantbasedonabudget

Twitter: @plantbasedblog

HEAD 2.jpg


James Wildman is the Humane Educator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. Since 2007, James has given over a thousand presentations at over a hundred different schools and universities in South Florida, teaching respect and compassion for animals and the environments we share. These presentations have reached over a hundred thousand people, empowering youth and adults to live a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle. His "101 Reasons to Go Vegan" video has been translated into 18 languages and has over 4 million views total on YouTube. James was also featured in the 2017 documentary Food ReLOVution. He has worked with youth for 20 years, and in 2006, he obtained a master's degree in Humane Education.

James’ talk, 101 Reasons to Go Vegan, is a humorous and honest look at diet and culture that highlights the benefits of a plant-based diet for our health, the environment, and the welfare of animals. It’s an ethical examination of our food choices designed to empower people to live a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle. A 10-minute version of the presentation was recently posted on Facebook and has generated over 40 million views.



Twitter: @animalrightsfl


Camille with Sheep at Wishing Well Sanctuary.jpg


Camille Labchuk is a leading animal rights lawyer, and executive director of Animal Justice—Canada’s only animal law advocacy organisation. Under her leadership, Animal Justice fights legal cases in courtrooms across the country, works to pass tough new animal protection legislation, and ensures laws already on the books are being enforced.

Camille’s work includes filing false advertising complaints against companies making misleading humane claims, like Canada Goose; documenting Canada’s commercial seal slaughter; and exposing hidden suffering on farms and zoos through undercover investigations.

Camille is a frequent lecturer on animal law, and her work has been featured in countless media stories.

Most people are outraged by stories about animal abuse, yet paradoxically, Canada has the worst animal protection laws in the western world. But with animal issues currently grabbing news headlines, it has become impossible for the legal system to ignore their suffering. Camille’s talk will explore the legal status of animals in Canada, how each of us can play a role in improving the laws protecting them.



Twitter: @CamilleLabchuk, @AnimalJustice

Instagram: @camillelabchuk, @animaljustice



Susie Coston is the National Shelter Director of Farm Sanctuary and has been working with animals used in food production for over 23 years. Besides overseeing the caregiving team at all of the Farm Sanctuary’s shelters Susie has worked to advance individualised medical care and treatment and made tremendous strides in the field of farm animal medicine. She shares her wealth of knowledge with other farm animal advocates acting as a mentor to many peers who have started their own sanctuaries. Susie strives to create a world where animals are seen as the complex individuals they are.

Susie will talk about the role of farm animal sanctuaries. Sanctuaries are not just about rescue, since with over 56 billion land animals slaughtered worldwide annually we cannot rescue our way out of this problem. But what we can do is tell the stories of the victims of animals in food production and pull them out of those billions and show their individuality. 



Twitter/Instagram: @farmsanctuary

head shot 9.jpg


Yoda is the chef and owner of Yoda’s Kitchen - the small but mighty plant based catering company! She’s been cooking in London and area for 11 years and took her love of vegetables and compassion for animals to the next level when she decided to launch one of South Western Ontario’s first plant based catering companies. She’s working on a cookbook memoir and loves spending her spare time writing, reading and playing with her dog.

Chef Yoda will be talking about aquafaba - the magical bean water than you can use to replace eggs in a variety of recipes. Aquafaba is a relatively new discovery, and is hard to believe how it works until you see it with your own eyes. Come learn how to use it as a replacement for eggs in sweet & savoury applications, and watch as Yoda turns chickpea water into beautiful meringues!



Twitter and Instagram: @yodaskitchen

Caterina Lindman 2017.jpg


Caterina Lindman is a retired actuary, with over 35 years of experience in the insurance industry. Caterina is recognised as a leading actuary in Canada and internationally in the area of climate change research and sustainable healthcare through whole-food plant-based nutrition. She led the volunteer committee that helped develop the Actuaries Climate Index. She is also involved with Actuaries for Sustainable Healthcare, a group that educates actuaries about the benefits of whole-food plant based nutrition as a way to prevent and reverse chronic disease. Eating plants is also a key way to mitigate carbon emissions, sequester carbon and preserve biodiversity.   

Caterina will be talking about why eating a whole-food plant-based diet is kind for our planet, in comparison to our current, industrialised, animal-based food system.



For 29 years Amanda made judgements, evaluations and demands on those around her without realising she was contributing to violence in the world. After working an ‘adult job’ for a few years she went into a ‘what is this all for?’ cocoon and emerged as a penniless, hippie who decided to hitchhike across Europe, India, Canada and the US on a quest to learn about peace. After causing her family a few sleepless nights and minor heart attacks she is here today to talk about how we in our everyday words and actions can build empathy, connection and peace.

Come to Amanda’s talk to cultivate empathy and connection from a focus on meeting needs rather than the cultural prescribed framework of punishment, rewards and enemy images. Discover the latent judgements, evaluations and demands in our everyday interactions and get in touch with the actions and words which enrich life and grow peace.



Summertime Recipes for Easy Living

Ah, the joys of summer! We’re all a little more relaxed. Life is a little less intense. With the long days, it seems like we have more time on our hands. Many of us naturally tend to lighter, simpler fare in the kitchen during these warm summer days. The VegFest London committee members are sharing here their favourite easy breezy vegan recipes for all to enjoy. Have a wonderful summer!


Banana Protein Smoothie

Recipe by Amanda

1 banana

3 dates

1 heaping tbsp natural peanut butter

1/4 cup rolled oats

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp hemp hearts

1 cup almond milk (add more depending on desired thickness)

2 tbsp raw cashews (optional)

2 strawberries or a few raspberries for colour

4 ice cubes

Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth.


Alfredo Sauce

Recipe by Joan

1/2 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance

227 g cream cheese (try Daiya Chive & Onion Cream Cheeze)

2 cups nut milk (an almond/cashew blend milk works well)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup parmesan cheese (try the Oh She Glows recipe here)  

Parsley or cilantro for garnish

Heat butter, cream cheese and milk on the stove until blended and smooth. Then add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir until well blended, then add the parmesan cheese. Mix well.

Pour over your favourite cooked pasta, sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Easy Cheesy Caesar Dressing

Recipe by Amanda

This dressing tastes great with a romaine & kale salad. It can also be added to wraps and roasted potatoes!

1/3 cup soaked, drained raw cashews

1 tsp chia or flax

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp Dijon mustard (optional)

1 ½ tsp agave (or maple syrup)

In a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.


Jude's Summer Salad

Recipe by Teresa

It's the perfect time of year for this fresh easy dish because it calls for fresh corn and tomatoes. It can be eaten as a salad or served as a salsa with nachos.

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 ears of corn cooked and taken off cob

1 can of black bean, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups chopped and seeded tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 chopped avocado (optional)

salt and pepper

Mix liquid ingredients together. Mix non-liquid ingredients together. Combine everything and serve.


Ice Cream Sundae

Recipe by Krista

Who doesn’t love an ice cream sundae in the summer?! Check out Krista’s delicious recipe here. As she says, it’s so wholesome that you can even eat it for breakfast…