Every year we curate a group of the best speakers, chefs and presenters on the topics of vegan health, ethics, animal rights, good eating and more to present to our festival goers.
Kari Bagnall founded Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, home to over 300 monkeys. The monkeys were ‘used’ in research, former ‘pets’ or confiscated by authorities. Kari was introduced to a vegetarian lifestyle in 1971 when she moved into a yoga ashram. Today, vegan communal living is part of the Jungle Friends experience. As part of the sanctuary culture, people are encouraged to adopt a vegan lifestyle and have compassion for all of Earth’s remarkable inhabitants.
Michael Bedar is a researcher, wellness coach, author, and speaker improving health through diet and lifestyle. He graduated from UCSD, then studied with healing practitioners for 15 years, and has a masters in Vegan and Spiritual Nutrition. He was a founding filmmaker of “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days.” After Michael’s 2016’s 50-city book launch tour for his transformative novel, “Sweet Healing: A Whole Health Journey,” Michael returns to the SF Bay Area where he is Co-Director of the Healing Collective and leads meditation groups in SF and Berkeley.
Edita Birnkrant is Campaigns Director of Friends of Animals, (FoA), an international non-profit animal advocacy organization founded in 1957. Edita runs FoA’s New York office, leading efforts to ban horse-drawn carriages, challenge the fur trade, transform policies for urban and suburban wildlife and birds, and expose government agencies who kill wild horses, bison, wolves and others to benefit animal farmers. In addition to vegan advocacy, Edita works on numerous state legislative issues affecting animals in New York and other states.
Catherine Blake, B.A., B.D., is a plant-based nutrition educator. At Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, she has been educating patients with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease for years. Catherine has completed the Cornell plant-based nutrition course. She enjoys bringing nutritional science home to the kitchen with practical, delicious recipes. Catherine has taught many classes at University of Hawaii, Maui. She is a graduate of Skidmore College and is an interfaith minister. Catherine earned a certificate in Micronutrition in 2010. Books: Healthy Recipes for Friends, Parkinson’s Disease Cookbook. She is a televised chef.
Steve Blake, ScD is faculty nutritional biochemist at Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience. He is a research scientist finishing a clinical study at Hawaii Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He has presented grand rounds at John A. Burns School of Medicine at U.H. and at Boston University Medical Center. He is author of Parkinson’s Disease: Dietary Regulation of Dopamine, the McGraw-Hill college textbook Vitamins and Minerals Demystified, A Nutritional Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease, Mosby’s Alternative Remedies, and co-author of Mosby’s Drug Guide for Nurses, 4th edition. His Diet Doctor software analyses dietary nutrients.
Jackie Day is an award winning health educator and the author of The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet And You (Macmillan, October 2016). Jackie has been aptly hailed as a “mover and shaker” by the American Public Health Association and has been vegan for over 28 years. Jackie Day has been featured in TIME Magazine, CNN, NPR, and the CBS Evening News.
Stacie Dooreck is the author of the SunLight Chair Yoga: yoga for everyone! books and teacher trainings. She teaches at Bay Area companies and senior homes. “Stacie is breathing new life into S. Florida Seniors.” -CBS news Miami Healthwatch
RG Enriquez at astigvegan.com finds ways to see that Filipino food can be vegan, healthy, and delicious without losing its soul. Born and raised in Cavite, Philippines, RG veganizes the Filipino food of her childhood. She has appeared on the television show, “Adobo Nation” and given demonstrations and talks at “Savor Filipino”, “Taste of South Lake”, “Barrio Fiesta”, Pitzer college, and Cal-State East Bay. Her recipes could be found on astigvegan.com, youtube.com /rcestudios, and onegreenplanet.org
Priscilla Feral has presided over Friends of Animals, an international non-profit animal advocacy organization since 1987. She has also served as president of the San Antonio sanctuary Primarily Primates since 2007, which operates as a subsidiary of Friends of Animals. As an organic food activist, she has authored three vegan cookbooks for Friends of Animals–Dining with Friends: The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine, The Best of Vegan Cooking (2009) and For the Love of Dog Biscuits (2015). Friends of Animals places critical habitat, wildlife protection, veganism, environmental and animal rights issues at the core of animal advocacy.
Audrey Fontaine is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor providing support for individuals and groups in creating healthier lives through a whole foods plant based diet with a focus on raw, vegan and gluten free preparations. She is certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Audrey has studied raw, vegan food preparation at the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, GA, and The Science of Raw Food Nutrition at Living Light Culinary Institute in Fort Bragg, CA.
Rebecca Gilbert is a former competitive figure skater whose switch to a vegan diet healed chronic joint pain. Rebecca is the author of It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan and founder of the global vegan website and community Yummy Plants, and a featured speaker at Vegetarian Summerfest and Paris Vegan Day. It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan – Health and ethical concerns are encouraging more and more Americans to switch to a plant-based diet. Rebecca’s talk will include information on easy egg and dairy substitutions, vegan protein sources, how to stock your vegan pantry, and tips on how to make a vegan diet workable both inside and outside your home. www.yummyplants.com
A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the infamous “meat defamation” trial. He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Greger serves as the public health director at The Humane Society of the United States. His latest book How Not to Die became an instant New York Times Best Seller. More than a thousand of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org, with new videos uploaded every day.
Sid Garza-Hillman is the author of “Approaching the Natural: A Health Manifesto,” host of the Approaching the Natural Podcast, and host of his YouTube Channel. Sid is a certified nutritionist and Stanford Inn’s Wellness Programs Director.
Timaree Hagenburger, an RD and certified exercise physiologist, is a full-time nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College. Timaree also works in corporate wellness, writes a monthly newspaper column, has a regular segment on California Bountiful TV and published her first book – The Foodie Bar Way: One meal. Lots of options. Everyone’s happy. www.FoodieBars.com Life is better when you “love the food that loves you back.”
Grant is an avid outdoorsman, living in oceanic, forest, and desert environments throughout the year. He has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching yoga for 22 years, in addition to providing healing thai yoga therapy sessions. Through his annual trips to Australia, he surfs with wild dolphin and connects with the aboriginal community. He is an international award winning documentary feature filmmaker, surfer, and author. Supreme health and vitality drive his passion for life.
Chef Patricia is a certified Nutrition Consultant. She and her husband Dave Koot host a weekly vegan, delicious dinner on Wed nights followed by a lively presentation at the SF Opera Plaza. RSVP@wellnesscentral.us
Dan Ladermann is co-owner and director of Living Light International, a family of businesses united in their commitment to sharing the benefits of an organic, sustainable, raw food lifestyle with people around the world. Once overweight and plagued with back pain and health problems, Dan turned his life around and is now encouraging and motivating people of all ages to achieve their best self.
Ellie Laks is the Founder of The Gentle Barn Foundation, a national organization that rescues and rehabilitates unwanted animals, and heals people with the same stories of abuse and neglect. She is a celebrated animal welfare advocate, humane educator, and the author of “My Gentle Barn: Creating a sanctuary where animals heal and children learn to hope”. Since 1999, Ellie has saved hundreds of animals and hosted over 300,000 guests. The Gentle Barn is currently home to approximately 200 animals.
Dr. Anthony Lim is a board-certified family physician with a special interest in whole-food, plant-based nutrition. He is a graduate of Stanford University, Harvard Law School (Member of the State Bar of California), and Boston University School of Medicine, and he completed his residency training at Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, a UCSF affiliate. Currently, he divides his time between his various roles as Medical Director of the McDougall Program, Staff Physician at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, and part-time Family Physician at Kaiser Permanente in Rohnert Park. He also co-leads Kaiser Santa Rosa’s monthly plant-based nutrition class.
Martine is originally from Montreal and is the Culinary Programs Manager at Living Light Culinary Institute in Fort Bragg California for the last 8 1/2 years. She is passionate about teaching, and loves to share information about food with a balance of professionalism and her sense of humor. Health, fitness and nutrition are significant point of interests for Martine, a perfect cocktail that gives her that boost of energy!!!!
Dr. Andy Mars is an expert in raising veg kids and an expert in raising kids in general. He is a Ph.D. in Education who is highly sought after for parent education sessions, teacher training seminars, and helping children directly. A vegan for thirty-four years and Trustee of the American Vegan Society for thirty years, he has raised veg kids, runs the Veg Kids organization helping veg kids connect with other veg kids, and is entering the 25th year of the Camp Exploration totally vegan camps for kids.
VeganCamp.org | VegKids.org
Mia Moran envisions a world where kids crave salads, moms feel healthy and energetic, and the whole family feels fabulous after every meal — and she hopes you will join her on the journey. Once 85 pounds overweight, Mia turned to food to lose the weight. She was surprised to find she also gained boundless energy, and eliminated life-long allergies, ailments and medications. Mia is committed to bringing the amazing benefits of eating clean to other families — teaching simple solutions for moms everywhere to eat clean and create a more peaceful family rhythm at home.
Humane Education is one of the most effective tools in the vegan movement. The Ethical Choices Program (ECP) inspires and empowers high school and college students to make thoughtful, responsible food choices in order to improve their health, protect the environment, and decrease animal suffering. Lorena Mucke, founder of ECP, has successfully developed a presentation and “recipe for delivery” that advocates compassion and that schools embrace. Students not only learn the countless benefits of adopting a plant-based diet but also learn tools to be advocates of change in their schools and communities. The Ethical Choices Program has almost 70 Educators (and counting) employed throughout the U.S. and Canada and will expand to additional countries in 2016.
Longtime activist and Food Empowerment Project founder Lauren Ornelas will address lack of access to healthy foods and the exploitation of workers and farmed animals. FEP works in solidarity with farm workers, advocates for chocolate not sourced from the worst forms of child labor, and focuses on access to healthy foods in communities of color and low-income communities. She persuaded Trader Joe’s to stop selling all duck meat and was the spark that got the co-founder of Whole Foods Market to become a vegan.
Lisa is a shamanic soul coach and an internationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist. Honoring her Native American heritage, she embraces an eco-spirituality that can be explored through her recently published book, The Sacred Art of Eating. With graduate degrees in both public health nutrition (UC Berkeley) and culture and creation spirituality (Holy Names College), she is highly and uniquely qualified to help us understand our spirited relationship with food. Lisa has trademarked the term ‘Imperfectly Vegan.’
Dustin Rhodes started working at Friends of Animals in 2007. As a vegan, working for an organization that chooses to connect the dots, confront tough, unpopular issues and stay the course for all animals is personally and professionally rewarding in a way that makes him feel like he won the job lottery. He is currently the director of development, and lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Friends of Animals places critical habitat, wildlife protection, veganism, environmental and animal rights issues at the core of animal advocacy.
Shanta has earned an MA from SF State where she taught Vegetarian Nutrition. Shanta has published two cookbooks; The Ethnic Vegetarian Kitchen and Flavors of India; the later became a classic among vegetarians. Shanta’s third book on local history, Other Avenues Are Possible, the Legacy of The People’s Food System of The San Francisco Bay Area launches a this 17th Annual World Vegetarian Festival! Shanta lives in SF where she is a co-owner of Other Avenues Food Co-op.
Prof. Johanna Sophia is an experienced teacher and speaker. She has taught at Waldorf schools and universities around the world, including at Columbia University, Yale University, City College, the Waldorf School of Windhoek, and Camphill in Scotland. After careers in front of and behind the camera, as a language expert for corporate America, and as an expert in gourmet raw foods for private parties and restaurants, she founded Johanna’s Raw Foods, PBC an organic food manufacturing company. She lives in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Cherie Soria is founder and co-director of Living Light Culinary Institute and author of four books, including Raw Food Revolution Diet and Raw Food for Dummies. Known as the Mother of Gourmet Raw Vegan Cuisine, Cherie has been teaching people to make healthy living delicious for over 20 years and has personally trained many of the world’s top raw food chefs, instructors, and raw recipe book authors. At 69 years young, Cherie is a vibrant, energetic and inspiring example of the raw food lifestyle. Visit RawFoodChef.com for more details about both live and online culinary and nutrition training courses.
Jeff Stanford is the co-author of “Dining at the Ravens: Over 150 Nourishing Vegan Recipes from the Stanford Inn by the Sea.” He co-owns the Stanford Inn by the sea with his wife, Author Joan Stanford.
Prof. Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren (Dr. T) MD, DC, LN is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist; Holistic Scientist, Green Construction & Nutrition Innovator, Trekking-Guide, Author; Professor – Natural Medicine University and IAACN; Board-Certified – Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Chelation Therapy. Humanitarian, supporting 20’000 Nepali children, ecological projects and adventures.
A strict vegetarian for 21 years and vegan for over 6 years, novelist Carol Treacy has a driving desire to educate her readers on the many forms of animal exploitation through fiction. “There are many non-fiction vegan books: cookbooks, the hows and whys of becoming vegan, but there are so few novels where the protagonist is a vegan or the story involves animal rights issues.” Carol wrote her first novel, Vegan Cowboy in 2014. The Scheme was published the following year and last July, Madeleine’s Masterpiece was published.
Sarah Tranter is a critical care nurse, mother of two, and certified Food for Life instructor, who is passionate about preventative care. Her classes on plant-based nutrition are geared towards showing how easy and delicious eating a whole foods plant-based diet can be. Sarah’s passion for nutrition education stems from seeing too many patients become victims to ignorance and poor health. Sarah is eager to share hope of healing and health to those she meets, by energizing and empowering people to take their well being into their own hands. She firmly believes that when people know better, they do better.
Dr. Brad West ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, Wholistic Primary Care, Hygienic Physician, Dermatology, Humanitarian, B Vitamin Happy Hours, Chelation and IV therapies, Ozone, HDIVC, Therapeutic Fasting, Clinical Nutrition, Bio-Identical Hormones, Thyroid, Digestion and Autoimmune Expertise. Clinic in Los Gatos.
Personal Chef, Caterer, Instructor, Restaurant Consultant and Professional Vegucator, Lisa Books-Williams has been sharing the joys of plant-based foods since 2005. Lisa has lost more than 100lbs and regained her health and vitality through WFPB eating. She won Vegan Iron Chef in 2013, is an award winning raw foods chef and a certified Green Chef Instructor. Lisa developed the culinary portion of the Plant-Based Diet Program for Kaiser Permanente and teaches patients, staff and physicians at dozens of Kaisers throughout Northern California.