Vegan Summerfest features experts in the fields of health, nutrition, animal rights, the environment, exercise and other related lifestyle topics, plus talented chefs. The following speakers are already confirmed, with more to be added. Please check back for updates.
Michael Greger, MD
A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, 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. His latest book is How Not to Die. More than a thousand of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org, with new videos and articles uploaded every day.
T. Colin Campbell, PhD
For more than 40 years, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. He has more than 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding and authored more than 300 research papers and coauthor of the bestselling the book, “The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.”
Robert Breakey, MD
A 5th generation graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School who has. He has followed a plant-based lifestyle himself since 1977, and has led dozens of seminars on Vegan Health for both lay and professional audiences over these past 35 years. He is the head of his medical group’s “IHA Lifestyle Medicine Institute Disease Reversal” initiative, and is on the Board of Directors for “Plant Based Prevention of Disease” (P-POD). He is also Co-Medical Director with the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group in Southeast Michigan.
Chef GW Chew
GW Chew, aka Chef Chew, is a vegan food inventor/restaurateur for over 15 years. His mission is to change lives one chew @ a time, and to bring holistic solutions to urban communities. He has developed his own line of plant protein, entitled Better Chew, which help meat-eaters transition into a vegan lifestyle. He recently founded The Veg Hub Restaurant, a social enterprise that provides affordable and delicious vegan food, and free cooking classes to the San Francisco Bay Area. Chef Chew has his own Cooking Show, called Chew’s Challenge, and loves to share the good news of health.
Longtime animal rights activist and Founder of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in New York—one the country’s most recognized and respected sanctuaries for farmed animals. Previously she had worked in film and television, but an experience in Texas going undercover to document stockyard conditions led her to change course and dedicate her life to helping these animals. After 12 years, Jenny left the sanctuary to focus on a national lecture tour, raising awareness about the plight of animals used and abused in food production. Jenny’s story and the work of the sanctuary has been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, CNN, The Diane Rehm Show and more. She is the author of The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight For Farm Animals.
Will Tuttle, PhD
Dr. Will Tuttle is author of the acclaimed best-seller, The World Peace Diet, published in 16 languages. A recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Prize, he is also the author of several other books on spirituality, intuition, and social justice, as well as the creator of online wellness and advocacy programs. A vegan since 1980 and former Zen monk, he is featured in a number of documentary films. The co-founder of the Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals, he is a frequent radio, television, and online presenter. With his spouse Madeleine, a Swiss visionary artist, he lectures extensively throughout North America and worldwide.
Motivational speaker, certified life coach, certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADA); author of ten books including the vegan weight loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet, the best-selling Creating Charmed Life, and the Oprah-featuredLit from Within and Shelter for the Spirit. vegetarian since age 18, and mother of lifelong vegan actress Adair Moran.
Maribeth Abrams, MS, CNC
Certified Nutritional Consultant; Certified Holistic Health Practitioner; Certified Lifestyle Educator; author of The 4-Ingredient Vegan and Tofu 1-2-3; NAVS Board Member; Associate Editor Vegetarian Voice magazine; vegan for 20 years; mother of two teens vegan since birth.
A full-time spokesperson for other species and the environment for over 35 years; co-founder of Plant Peace Daily, Vegfund and the Institute for Humane Education; she leads compassionate living and ethical consumerism programs internationally for diverse audiences ranging from schools and prisons to businesses and universities
Mark Agrusti, E-RYT 200/RYT 500
Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga Teacher; Co-Founder of Yoga Lab. Collaborator on mindfulness-based interventions with the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State University. He is a long-term practioner of mindfulness & self-inquiry and has completed 1000+ hours of yoga training across a variety of styles. Mark’s teachings are insightful, practical, and accessible; inspiring students with a sense of curiosity to uncover strength, joy, compassion, patience, and resilience within their everyday lives. He offers classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings in the northeast region.
Jonathan Balcombe, PhD
Biologist; life-long animal advocate; author, Pleasurable Kingdom (first in-depth examination of animals’ capacity to enjoy life), Second Nature, and The Exultant Ark (present animals in a new light and presage a revolution in the human-animal relationship); author of the New York Times best-seller, What a Fish Knows(explores the private lives of the planet’s most misunderstood and maligned vertebrates); Director for Animal Sentience with The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy; Associate Editor for Animal Sentience, the first scholarly journal of animal feeling
Milton Mills, MD
Associate director of preventive medicine with Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM); co-author of PCRM’s report on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
Formerly taught mathematics at a high school and technical college in Wisconsin, and also worked as a student services counselor at the technical college. He developed an interest in line dancing as a hobby and has now been dancing for about ten years. He line dances regularly three times a week and has been teaching line dancing for about two years. Adams lives on a tree farm in Wisconsin and, with his wife Helen, is engaged in conservation. projects benefiting native and migratory birds, animals, and the environment.
Juggling teacher; with 20 years experience in the field teaching ball/club/ring/scarf juggling, diabolo, poi, juggling stix and other skill-toys and cooperative games; boomerang, frisbee, kendama, rola-bola, footbag, etc.; co-founder of the Vegetarian Club of the Ozarks; 20 plus years advocating for animals and veganism; vegan for 26 years.
Carol H. Barnett, PhD, JD
Co-Coordinator, Rochester Area Vegan Society; provides the recipes, cooking and food sampling for a six-week course in Plant-Based Eating which has reached more than 300 people in the Rochester area; mother of three adult children who are lifelong vegans.
Ted D. Barnett, MD
Founder, CEO and Medical Director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, PLLC, launched in 2016, which utilizes the plant-based Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) as the core curriculum of a year-long intensive lifestyle intervention; Board-Certified Interventional and Diagnostic Radiologist; teaches a six-week course in Plant-Based Eating which is accredited for physicians by the University of Rochester and which has reached more than 350 people in the Rochester area; Co-Coordinator, Rochester (NY) Area Vegan Society; father of three adult children who are lifelong vegans.
President, Farm Kind, Ltd.; born and raised on a cattle farm in Michigan and spent over half his life in agriculture including three years in the dairy industry; featured in the Tribe of Heart documentary, Peaceable Kingdom, the Journey Home, his story is one of transformation from animal farmer to vegan animal advocate; works as an advocate for sustainable independent family farms, environmental justice, social justice, and peace through non-violence.
Executive Director of Jewish Veg; writer of The Beet-Eating Heeb, a blog on theology-based veganism; earned Masters of Public Management at Carnegie Mellon University, and BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkley; former director of community relations, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh; former print and broadcast journalist.
Professor of Law and Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell University, where she teaches courses in animal rights, criminal-related constitutional law, and evidence law; author, Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?; co-author (with Michael C. Dorf) of the forthcoming book, Beating Hearts: Animal Rights and Abortion; writes a bi-weekly column for lawyers, law students, and general audiences at Verdict.Justia.com, where her topics frequently address animal rights themes.
Marty Davey, MS
She is a RD and spent 10 years in private practice specializing in weight loss, diabetes reversal and childhood nutrition. Currently, she is working on her second vegan research study, The NEW Soul Study, at the University of South Carolina as the Nutrition Interventionist. She, also, works with E4 Diabetes Solutions. She is the alter-ego of the international YouTube star, LaDiva Dietitian!TM These gals wrote the eBook, You’re Not Dead, Yet: Nutrition for the Over 50 Crowd and 3 recipe books. She is married to actor, Jim Fitzpatrick and mother of actor/director, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.
Michael C. Dorf, JD
Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School; graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School; author of four books and numerous articles on law and its relation to social change; co-author (with Sherry Colb) of the forthcoming book Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights; as a vegan activist, he applies the lessons he has learned from studying other justice movements.
Co-author (with H. Jay Dinshah) of the forthcoming book Powerful Vegan Messages; co-author of Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake: Kids! Teach Yourself to Cook; author of Dating Vegans; vice president of American Vegan Society; managing editor of American Vegan magazine; professional rowing coach; lifelong vegan, third generation vegetarian, and mom to vegan son Clint.
Co-author of Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake: Kids! Teach Yourself to Cook a great new book that inspires kids to make healthy snacks and meals; author of The Vegan Kitchen which in 1965 was the first U.S. cookbook to use the word vegan in the title and espouse the vegan philosophy; lecturer & teacher; lifetime vegetarian (56 years vegan); President of American Vegan Society and editor of American Vegan magazine; inducted to the Vegetarian Hall of Fame
Mylan Engel Jr.
Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University specializing in animal ethics and environmental ethics; co-author (with Kathie Jenni) of The Philosophy of Animal Rights: A Brief Introduction for Students and Teachers (2010); lead editor of The Moral Rights of Animals (2016); he has developed a common sense approach to animal ethics, which he uses to defend ethical veganism and to argue that animal experimentation should be abolished.
Microbiologist, and former biodecontamination consultant for Pharmaceutical giant Merck and Co Inc. Then an activist and founder of Vegetarians of Kansas City. Vegan for 20 years. Mother of two lifelong vegans. Her first book, Compassionate Souls — Raising the Next Generation to Change the World, was a primer for raising healthy compassionate children. Her newest book, Get Off Gluten aims to help vegan’s learn how getting off gluten can be beneficial, and to help gluten sensitive omnivores discover veganism for their health.
Sarina is a life-long vegan and second generation activist dedicated to making the world a better place. She speaks and writes about growing up vegan and dealing with “pushback”. Sarina was previously Tribe of Heart’s International Liaison, helping to make the award-winning animal films The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom: The journey Home understandable and accessible around the world. Also a science educator, Sarina is passionate about bringing ethics, holism, and true critical thinking into science curricula. She earned her degree in biochemistry and policy studies at Grinnell College where the also founded the vegan group AACT.
Presenter forBeyond Carnism, the organization founded to expose and transform carnism, the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals; author of Demonstrating Our Values through Eating, an ethical eating curriculum developed for church groups or individual study, with 100% plant-based recipes; creator of “Eating on the Side of Love” Facebook campaign; board member of Unitarian Universalist Food Justice Ministry; founder of Vegan Long Island Meetup group; volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and has been responsible for getting several CCL conferences to go all-vegan with their menus
Lee Hall, JD, LLM
Lawyer and grass-roots advocate connecting vegetarianism with ecology and animal rights; board member of Compassion for Animals, Respect for the Environment (CARE) and co-facilitates Pennsylvania’s annual Chester County Vegan Festival; penned the “Vegetarian” and “Environmental Racism” entries forThe Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice; Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environment & Climate Law and a member of the adjunct faculty at Widener University; Hall’s new book is On Their Own Terms: Animal Liberation for the 21st Century (2016)
She is the Executive Director, Coalition For Healthy School Food; wrote NYS Legislative Resolution that passed unanimously in the NYS Legislature in 2004 – requesting vegan entrees each day and nutrition education that includes information on multi-cultural and vegan eating styles; responsible for the first five vegetarian public (non-charter) schools in the United States (all in NYC) and a vegan option on the menu every day in NYC schools, oversees development of nutrition education curriculum (Food UnEarthed: Uncovering the Truth About Food), educational resources, and helping school transition to more plant-based menus; founder and president of Club Veg: Vegan Education Group in the Southern Tier of NY (Binghamton & Ithaca); founder of Growing Peace Farm, a veganic farm outside of Ithaca, NY.
Director of Interior Design for National Healthcare Corporation, 30 years. 25+ year passionate vegan cook and activist. Raised two very healthy young men on a plant based diet. Founder and Lead instructor for Studio Veg Productions in Murfreesboro, TN. Specializing in health promoting, delicious, plant-based nutrition and cooking classes. www.studioveg.com Certified in Plant Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Cornell University. Certified instructor for PCRM’s Food for Life Programs, including Employee Wellness, Weight Management, Cancer Project, Diabetes Initiative, Nutrition Essentials, and Kid’s Health. Holds certificate in the Wellness Forum Institute’s Diet and Lifestyle Intervention Course.
Ellen Jaffe Jones
Author of Kitchen Divided and Eat Vegan on $4 a Day and co-author of Paleo Vegan; former cooking instructor for PCRM’s Cancer Project for 6 years and a frequent cooking instructor in Florida health food stores; certified personal trainer, certified running coach.
She is a 30 + year vegan and earned a BFA in Film and TV at New York University’s TIsch School of the Arts. She has presented film appreciation classes and lectures since 1994. For the past 10 years, Kathleen has been teaching English at Centreville High School in Northern Virginia, where her students enjoy such literature and films as the anti-hunting short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” and the great avian rebellion in “The Birds.”
Nationally and internationally recognized speaker focusing on the ethical, health and environmental impacts of veganism. She is author of If You’ve Ever Loved an Animal, Go Vegan, and has given recent presentations at National Animal Rights Day, Green Food Fest in Jessheim, Norway, Veggie Pride Parade in New York City, and Oakland VegFest. A volunteer and speaker with the Humane Party, her highly-praised TEDx talk on veganism is included in Unbound Project, celebrating noted women around the world who advocate for animals. A critically-acclaimed concert pianist, she will appear in the upcoming documentary, Taking Note, about vegan musicians.
Vegan columnist (“V for Veg”) for the Philadelphia Daily News; cartoonist, speaker, piano-player and all-around entertainer; founding member of vegetarian pop band Green Beings; creator of “Edgy Veggies” cartoon for VegNews; author, Joy of Soy (collection of his vegetarian cartoons); illustrator (created NAVS “Food/Friend” T-shirt) and feature writer for Vegetarian Voice.
Bob Leroy, RD, MS, EDM
Founder & Coordinator, Plant-based Prevention Of Disease (P-POD) national conference; NAVS Nutrition Advisor since 1990; vegan since 1976; public health nutritionist & educator; fitness instructor; developer of nonprofit initiatives for continuing education of health professionals in plant-based nutrition; long-time activist promoting local food & economic self-reliance measures; advocate for personal & agricultural carbon-footprint reduction.
Sally Lipsky, PhD
She has a Ph.D. in Education and Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Knowing the importance of day-to-day food choices in maintaining long-term health and well-being, she educates others about practical ways to implement and maintain plant-centered eating habits. She has authored articles, curriculums for healthcare providers, a monthly newsletter, and the recently published book Beyond Cancer: The Powerful Effect of Plant-Based Eating. Also, she is leader of the Pittsburgh Plant-Based Support Group in partnership with PlantPure Communities.
Myriam Parham, RD, CDE
She is a Registered Dietitian, and a Certified Diabetes Educator. She coordinates and teaches multiple programs which promote plant-based lifestyle at the Florida Hospital Zephyrhills; is president and co-founder of Florida Voices for Animals, Inc. She presented nutrition lectures for Dr. John McDougall’s Publix program in Lakeland, worked on the GEICO research program with PCRM, has been a frequent speaker at the North American Vegetarian Society’s Vegetarian Summerfest, is a frequent speaker at local community programs, and served on the PCRM Professional Advisory board for many years. She is the mother of a healthy, active and thriving teenager who was raised vegan.
Personal trainer to top celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs, and his client list has included Ellen DeGeneres and Emily Deschanel; vegan nutrition and fitness consultant who lectures throughout the US sharing the principles of compassionate living to people of all ages; best known for his innovative work helping older adults enhance cognitive functioning, and his fun, yet effective approach to functional fitness; author of The Pilars of Health.
Kathy Pollard, MS
Kathy was an instructor for the renowned plant-based nutrition certification course offered through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell for six years. She is adjunct faculty for the University of New England graduate program in nutrition, and co-founder of SustainableDiet.com, which supports successful transition to a whole food plant-based diet. Kathy serves on the Board of Directors for the Plant-based Prevention Of Disease conference. Her upcoming book, Climate Party! is about the connection between food and climate change. Kathy holds a MS in applied clinical nutrition from New York Chiropractic College and a BS in Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley.
Tim Radak, RDN DrPH MPH
Academic Coordinator for the Public Health PhD and DrPH programs at Walden University, where he has taught public health courses since 2010. He previously served as Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Dietetic Internship Director at Appalachian State University, Senior Research Program Manager for the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and Director of Nutrition for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has been credentialed as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist since 2000, and earned his doctorate in Public Health Nutrition at Loma Linda University. His research interests include: the relationship between plant-based diets and reduced risk of chronic diseases; epidemiology of chronic diseases; essential fatty acids requirements and metabolism; behavioral strategies for lifestyle modification; body composition; and nutritional assessment methodologies.
Allison Rivers Samson
She is a Self-care Coach, Speaker, and Workshop Leader who helps people make room for themselves, turn workouts into personal playdates, and makes healthy eating feel indulgent.
For 20 years, she ran Allison’s Gourmet, the first online vegan bakery and chocolaterie, which she retired in 2016. Allison is an award-winning vegan chef and author; Nia Black Belt instructor, mama to lifelong vegan Olivia, and co-creator of The Dairy Detox.
Dr. Kerrie Saunders, PhD
Dr. Saunders’ unique background in psychology, addiction, nutrition, and body composition assessment is unmatched in the US. She’s a featured expert in the movie documentaries iThrive Diabetes & Obesity Prevention and Eating You Alive, co-star of When Bachelor Meets Homemaker food demonstrations, and Founder of the Michigan Firefighter Challenge. Dr. Saunders is author of The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention, contributing author for RETHINK FOOD, and co-author of Guidelines for a Standard of Care for Preventive and Integrated Medicine.
Roberta Schiff, MS
She has been presenting at Summerfest for over 10 years. She lives in Rhinebek NY where she is a health educator, nutrition counselor and coordinates Hudson Valley Vegans, planning events and educational outreach activities.
Kay opened and ran Chicago’s first modern-day vegetarian business, The Bread Shop, from 1971-1996. The Bread Shop was a 100% whole-grain bakery, with an adjacent bulk food store and a restaurant across the street. The restaurant is still open, now owned by two former employees.
She incorporated Go Veggie!®, a not-for-profit, in 2001 and, through it, hosted Dine Outs, Turkey-Free Thanksgiving dinners, potlucks, cooking classes and an 8-segment televised cooking show: Go Veggie!® with Kay. For over 4 years, she then wrote The Veggie Cook, a syndicated biweekly vegan column for the Chicago Tribune.
Go Veggie!® is now DBA the National Vegetarian Museum, which opened as a travelling exhibit in Chicago and suburbs in 2017.
He is a business executive with 33+ years’ experience selling complex and high-level projects to executives, engineers, influencers and users. Understanding the art of the sell, support and how a customer buys is critical to success. Michael uses these same principals in successful “selling”/converting people to veganism and with a high degree of success in keeping them vegan. He travels in North America, South America and Europe for business and also contributes to VegWorld Magazine as the restaurant “critic.
Professional meal planner, dancer, PhD student in mathematical biology, and mother to a thriving vegan child; half of the husband and wife team of competitive bodybuilders behind Vegan Muscle and Fitness, where they have shared their training and nutrition tips, recipes and more since 2009; co-owner of Richmond, Virginia’s only plant-based personal training studio, Root Force Personal Training, which seeks to promote a fit and active plant-powered lifestyle and shatter the perception that strength and athleticism can’t be achieved with a plant-based diet – the mission: to generate as many fit vegan role models as possible to get the message across that a plant-based diet isn’t a handicap in the world of athletics – it’s an advantage!
Three-time natural bodybuilding champion and WNBF pro bodybuilder; A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology; half of the husband and wife team of competitive bodybuilders behind Vegan Muscle and Fitness, where they have shared their training and nutrition tips, recipes and more since 2009; co-owner of Richmond, Virginia’s only plant-based personal training studio, Root Force Personal Training, which seeks to promote a fit and active plant-powered lifestyle and shatter the perception that strength and athleticism can’t be achieved with a plant-based diet – the mission: to generate as many fit vegan role models as possible to get the message across that a plant-based diet isn’t a handicap in the world of athletics – it’s an advantage!
Meet Joe-Vegan. A life-long consumer of meat, sea food, and dairy until the age of 46, Blake did the “possible” and completely changed his diet, and his life. Signs of cardiovascular disease struck fear of an early death from his stressful and unhealthy life. He discovered the right baby-steps by doing just a little something each day. Losing over 50 pounds and easily keeping it off for the past 9 years through a vegetarian and later vegan diet, he’s learned to integrate a healthy lifestyle into a busy work and family life. Just an average Joe who became vegan…JoeVegan!
Robert C. Victor
Former Staff Astronomer at the Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, where he served for over 30 years; he still designs and produces occasional issues of their monthly Sky Calendar, and writes on sky watching for theCoachella Valley Independent, and for the California and the Michigan Science Teachers Associations; he received the Clifford W. Holmes Award for his “Major Contribution to Popularizing Astronomy,” and the Shiny Apple Award from Palm Springs Unified School District for sharing his passion and knowledge of the sky with students and parents.
Ariel Jing Xu, BS, LMT, RYT
Ariel is a Yoga, Mindfulness, and Meditation teacher; Licensed Massage Therapist in PA; co-founder of Yoga Lab Studio. Her classes combine functional movement, traditional Yoga postures, Pranayama (Breathing techniques), meditation, and mindfulness to balance students’ bodies and help them release into silence and stillness. Her practice and teaching was influenced by Chan Buddhism, and teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Ariel is a native of China.