Baltimore VegFest was held by The Humane League at UMBC and The Retrievers for Animal Welfare and Sustainability. Both groups work together to help cultivate sustainability at UMBC. The 7th annual Baltimore VegFest is a celebration of vegetarian/vegan living with vegan food, yoga, music, guest speakers, adoptable animals (cats and greyhounds) and goodie bags for the first 300 attendees.
The Humane Society of the United States “provides hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year, and they professionalize the field through education and training for local organizations. They are one of the leading animal advocacy organizations, seeking a humane world for people and animals alike,” according to Kate St. John, grassroots director of The Humane League.
Some of the food vendors that were lined up for the Baltimore VegFest were B-More Alive Falafel, Neat Nick Preserves, BuddhaBites Energy, Juice Fresh, Roots Market, Donut Alliance, Old Town Brick Oven Pizza and Nourrie Cuisine. These food vendors had items for individuals to pick up such as free organic shaving soap, chips, vegan food for individuals to purchase, jams, preserves, artwork that would be donated to animal rights organizations, pet food and more.
The schedule for Baltimore VegFest included events such as a performance by Soul Island Rebels, yoga and a vegan cooking demo. Speakers included Kiki Adami of Veganizer NYC, Michael A. Webermann of Better Eating International, Eddie Garza. author of Salud! Vegan Mexican Cookbook and member The Humane Society of the United States and Naijha Wright- Brown of The Land of Kush and Vegan SoulFest. Kiki Adami is originally from Philly, PA and spent five years traveling as a Cruise Director where she explored vegan food all around the globe and taught vegan cooking classes to the guests on her trips.
Emily Thomas, political sciences major and SGA senator, stated, “I loved it. It was a great event! Super fun, great turnout – especially the vegan desserts place was really, really cool.” Sarah Pollock, biochemistry major, was on the planning committee for Baltimore VegFest. She stated that she liked the festival because it promotes plant based eating and an animal cruelty free lifestyle. Pollock stated, “The Humane League had a contract with UMBC, so The Humane League was the primary organizer for the event this year, however Retrievers for Animal Welfare and Sustainability still had an active role in organizing the event, particularly with regards to promotion.” The grassroots director of The Humane League is Kate St. John.
“Because multiple vegan food vendors participated in the festival, attendees were able to try an assortment of vegan foods that they might otherwise not have the chance to do so. Attendees also interacted with a range of nonprofit organizations and learned about the work being done in the animal rights/animal welfare and environmental fields,” she said.
However, some other individuals expressed discontent, particularly in regards to the dog food that was given out for free. Overall, the majority of concerns were with the peas that were in the dog food and how some animals might not prefer to eat that. Others were discontent with other food served, such as “vegan chicken.”
Jackie Johnson, political sciences major, stated, “I think the food should have been better. When you’re making food, the aim is for it to taste good. Even if you take away the animal byproducts, it should taste edible. That’s the thing they don’t seem to be understanding with this: other cultures seem to have a firmer grasp of what tastes good without animal byproducts. Here, they don’t seem to even try.”