World Veg Festival 2017 Speakers

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.

Chef AJ

Chef AJ has been devoted to a plant-based diet for over 40 years. She is the host of the television series Healthy Living with CHEF AJ which airs on Foody TV, author of the popular book Unprocessed and the creator of the Ultimate Weight Loss Program. Chef AJ holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and She is proud to say that her IQ is higher than her cholesterol.


Catherine BlakeCatherine Blake

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 BlakeDr. Steve Blake

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.


Lisa Books-Williams

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.


Lamiaa Bounahmidi

Lamiaa is Founder and CEO of leCupboard, a closed-loop food startup based in SF. With a holistic approach to nutrition, leCupboard’s goal is to improve health throughout the macro- and microbiomes by preventing metabolic disease, protecting natural resources, and creating dignified jobs in developing communities. She worked as a strategy consultant at Grameen Creative Lab, founded by the Nobel Prize Professor Mohammad Yunus in Wiesbaden, Germany. She has won awards from MIT Enterprise Forum, the Skoll Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, and Harvard Startup.


Kevin Danaher

Dr. Kevin Danaher is a Co-Founder of Global Exchange, FairTradeUSA, and the Green Festivals. In addition to Kevin’s 1983 PhD dissertation, The Political Economy of U.S. Policy Toward South Africa, he is the author or editor of 12 books on the global political-economy, including his two latest, “The Green Festival Reader: Fresh Ideas from Agents of Change”; and “Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grass Roots.”


RG EnriquezRG Enriquez

RG Enriquez at 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, /rcestudios, and


Sid Garza HillmanSid Garza-Hillman

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 HagenburgerTimaree Hagenburger

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. Life is better when you “love the food that loves you back.”


Patricia Allen Koot

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.



Sonya Looney

It’s perseverance and attitude that have propelled World Champion Pro Mountain Biker Sonya across the Sahara Desert, high mountain passes of the Himalayas, jungles of Sri Lanka, and rural mountains of Haiti. She focuses on ultra-endurance and multi-day events around the world. Sonya has been eating a plant-based diet for over 4 years and it helped take her to the next level not only as a professional athlete, but by adding more dimension to her mission: leading by example to spread positivity and empower people to take action in their lives to turn passions into reality.


Jillian Love

Combine equal parts imagination and training. Add a heaping dash of talent and an overflowing cup of passion. Top it off with the ability to create engaging sensory experiences with the fusion of food, entertainment and fun…and you have the recipe for Jillian Love…Talented raw vegan chef, international raw educator, community organizer and event planner, inspiring presenter, extensive background and training in assisting people in personal transformation and change. Certified Raw Chef, M. Ed. Counseling, Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner.


Andy MarsAndy Mars

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. |


Kristie Middleton

Kristie Middleton is senior food policy director for The Humane Society of the United States and the author of MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live—One Meal at a Time. She’s a sought-after speaker and thought leader on the topic. Middleton has partnered with the nation’s biggest school districts including Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston to implement plant-based initiatives such as Meatless Monday. Her work has been covered by national media, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and CNN.


Lani Muelrath

Lani Muelrath, MA, is an award-winning health educator, author, speaker, and TV host featured on CBS-TV, ABC-TV, Prevention, USA Today, Saturday Evening Post, PCRM, and Plant Pure Nation. Vegetarian/vegan for forty-five years and teaching in health for over four decades, Certified in Mindfulness Meditation Instruction and Plant-Based Nutrition, Lani has been guest lecturer at San Francisco State University and is faculty at Butte College. Lani’s third book, The Mindful Vegan: 30-Day Plan for Finding Health, Balance, Peace, and Happiness is released October 2017.


Mathew Piccione

“A stand-up comedian of 8 years and follower of the vegan lifestyle for 7 years, with 2 years vegetarian prior. Going plant-based was the best decision I’ve made in my life and even helped me become better on stage. I have performed at California’s hottest comedy clubs, like Hollywood and Ontario Improv, the Comedy Store and others. I do it because I love making people laugh. It’s our best emotion and truly is a medicine.”


Vaidya Priyanka

Vaidya Priyanka or Vaidyaji, as she is often called, comes from a 725 year old lineage of women Ayurvedic healers from Kerala, India. She is a world renowned Marma therapy healer, accomplished speaker and a Gurukul teacher of Vedic knowledge and Kaya Kalpa. Vaidyaji travels all over the world and teaches the principles of Ayurveda and how to integrate some of the world’s most ancient healing practices alongside music, dance, aromatherapy, color therapy, vaastu shastra, yoga and meditation to create your own unique healing journey.


Ocean Robbins

Ocean Robbins is co-founder & CEO of the 450,000+ member Food Revolution Network. He has spoken in person to more than 200,000 people in live events, and he has organized and facilitated hundreds of seminars and gatherings for leaders from 65+ nations. Ocean founded Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) at age 16, and directed it for the next 20 years. He serves as adjunct professor for Chapman University, and is a recipient of the national Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service, the Freedom’s Flame Award, the Harmon Wilkinson Award, and many other honors. He is author of The Power of Partnership, and co-author of Voices of the Food Revolution and Choices For Our Future.

Clifton Roberts

Clifton Roberts is the Humane Party’s first ever U.S. Presidential Candidate, former National Staff Coordinator, and current volunteer of the only U.S. political party committed to rights of all animals…and not just the human kind. Now vegan for almost two decades, Clifton works tirelessly to raise awareness in our country and is internationally recognized for his talks and speeches about animal rights, veganism, human and non-human health, and a vision for a brighter tomorrow.


Shanta SacharoffShanta Sacharoff

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.


Jeff StanfordJeff Stanford

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.



Will Tuttle

Join Dr. Tuttle in exploring the hidden consequences of animal agriculture. This presentation illuminates the cultural and health impacts of our food system as the primary organizing and compelling force in our world, and provides some essential keys to thriving in our lives, and being more effective advocates. Dr. Will Tuttle, award-winning visionary educator, musician, and author of the international best-seller, The World Peace Diet, presents globally and is featured in many documentaries and online broadcasts.