Vegetarian tastefest & expo celebrates plant-based diet for health & planet


ROYAL OAK, Mich., March 26, 2010 - Number-one New York Times best-selling author Rory Freedman and NBA star John Salley will headline the speaker lineup at this year’s VegFest, the annual vegetarian tastefest and expo hosted by VegMichigan, taking place Sunday, April 18 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Ferndale High School. The event features food from local restaurants, lectures, cooking and raw-food demonstrations, exhibitors, free samples, door prizes, children's entertainment and more, all designed to promote the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet. VegFest also serves as the kick-off event for Ferndale Green Week activities.


Major sponsors include Whole Foods Market, 93.9 FM The River, Natural Awakenings magazine, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Meijer and the Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy, with free biofuel shuttle service provided by The Night Move and free bike corral and lockup courtesy of KLM Bike & Fitness.


Keynote speaker Rory Freedman is expected to draw fans of her best-selling, sassy and entertaining Skinny Bitch series. 


As Freedman tells it in her book, she was always obsessed with food -- but she wasn’t always a healthy eater. When she did eventually change her ways, she experienced firsthand the difference a healthy, plant-based diet could make. The more she learned for herself, the more she wanted to share her knowledge and help others.


With two million copies in print and translations in 27 languages, her first book, Skinny Bitch, with coauthor Kim Barnouin, sparked a worldwide movement. It’s a no-nonsense wake-up call that exposes the problems with the food industry while inspiring people to eat well and enjoy food. Since Skinny Bitch came out, four others in the series have followed, including the cookbook Skinny Bitch in the Kitch; Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven, An Eating Guide for Pregnant Women; Skinny Bitchin’, a fun, self-help, motivational journal; and Skinny Bastard, for men. Voted VegNews magazine’s first-ever "Person of the Year," Freedman has successfully counseled models, actors, athletes and other professionals using the Skinny Bitch method.


And back this year by popular demand, after drawing a record-breaking crowd of nearly 2000 to last year's VegFest, is NBA champion and TV personality John Salley.  He helped lead the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers to NBA championships before retiring to host the Emmy-nominated "Best Damn Sports Show Period" on Fox Sports Net and has since appeared in a number of films and TV shows.  Like Freedman, he also is vegan--meaning he neither eats nor uses any animal products--and he passionately believes that his diet choice improved his game and his life.


VegFest offers something for everyone, from vegans to raw foodies to meat eaters just trying to eat less meat.  Attendees can enjoy tasty vegan cuisine from two dozen local restaurants, national brand samples, cooking and raw-food demonstrations, door prizes, children’s activities plus several lectures and presentations. In addition to Rory Freedman at 1 p.m. and John Salley at 2 p.m., speakers throughout the day include Joel Kahn, MD, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Hospital; diabetes specialist Caroline Trapp, MSN; environmentalist Troy Farwell, executive director of Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center; raw foods educator Andrea McNinch, founder of Regeneration Raw; Dorothy Davies, cofounder of SASHA Farm; VegMichigan president Harry Pianko; and a panel of vegan and vegetarian adults and children who will discuss "going veg for dummies." 


VegFest is presented by VegMichigan, a 10-year-old, membership-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that also offers classes, lectures, dinner club outings and an e-newsletter with more than 5000 subscribers.


VegFest takes place from 11 a.m until 5 p.m. at Ferndale High School, 881 Pinecrest in Ferndale (south of 9 Mile, west of Woodward). Admission at the door is $10, or $5 for students, and free to children under 6 and VegMichigan members. Free round-trip shuttle service via The Night Move biofuel bus is available starting at 10 a.m. on the east side of Woodward Ave. at Troy, just south of 9 Mile, between Woodward Avenue Brewers and the Emory.


For details and to purchase discounted tickets and memberships in advance, or to volunteer to work at the event, visit, or call toll-free 877-778-3464.