A representative of the Good Food Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit promoting plant-based and cell-based meat, is among an impressive lineup of presenters at this year's Rehoboth Beach VegFest, set to take place Saturday, May 18, at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach.
Sanah Baig, special assistant to the institute's executive director, will speak on the soaring worldwide interest in new technologies to create a sustainable, healthy, and just food system.
Other presenters who will be sharing their personal journeys toward a plant-based lifestyle include Kristin Renai Jackson of Nude Food Truck in Wilmington; Dr. Kerry Foley of Washington, D.C. and Dewey Beach; Rehoboth Beach City Commissioner Stephen Scheffer; and Charles Wolfe of VegDover.
Baig brings government-related expertise to her role at the Good Food Institute, where she supports the executive director in implementing the organization's strategic goals. "We harness the power of food innovation and markets to accelerate the transition of the global food system to plant-based and cell-based meat, eggs and dairy,” said Mary Allen of the institute. Cell-based meat, also known as clean meat, is real meat produced without the need to raise and slaughter an animal.
Other featured speakers cover an array of topics from cooking to health. Jackson, proprietor of Nude Food Truck, is opening a new restaurant V-Trap Kitchen and Lounge in Wilmington's Little Italy. A long-time food enthusiastic, Jackson is tapping into the growing demand for taste-forward, plant-based food. She will be sharing some of her techniques and inspiration at this year's Rehoboth Beach VegFest cooking demonstration.
Foley, a retired emergency medicine doctor, is a passionate volunteer with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The committee's mission is dedicated to saving and improving human and animal lives through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research. "Our efforts are dramatically changing the way doctors treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. By putting prevention over pills, doctors are empowering their patients to take control of their own health,” she said.
Wolfe was once a hardcore meat and potatoes guy, but after watching a documentary he went vegan and hasn’t looked back. In February, he celebrated five years of being vegan. Wolfe felt like he needed to do more to help animals so he volunteered with Mercy For Animals and now runs VegDover in Kent County.
Scheffer's journey toward eating more plants began two years ago. Motivated by his concern for the environment and his health, Scheffer said, “I am constantly exploring plant-based options for protein. It is an ongoing process, and I am actively pursuing it."
Rehoboth Beach VegFest President Tara Sheldon invited her friend Andrea Jones to share her personal story at Vegfest in 2018. After Jones was told her cancer returned for a fourth time, she turned toward a plant-based diet. Her cancer eventually became undetectable. Sheldon said, "Her story, and those like hers, have to be told.”
Sheldon believes the more people can relate to the experiences of others and what motivates them to change their diets, whether it be for their health, for the environment or for the animals, the more people can see it is within their reach. "I invited Charles and Stephen to speak because they are just like so many of us who want to be healthier, and are learning every day how to get there," she said.
Rehoboth Beach VegFest, now in its seventh year, will feature dozens of exhibitors, food vendors, a music tent, a kids tent and a healing arts village. In addition to the free festival May 18, Rehoboth Beach VegFest events span the entire weekend, with a film screening, an art show and brunch. For more information, go to www.VegRehoboth.org.