By Melinda Cheevers – Niagara This Week – St. Catharines
ST. CATHARINES – As Niagara VegFest returns for its fifth instalment, the festival has evolved into a full weekend of vegtastic activities.
When Laurie Morrison and Keri Cronin first founded the event in 2011, there wasn’t anything like it happening in Ontario. There were vegetarian festivals, most notably the annual Vegetarian Food Festival held in Toronto, but as Morrison remembers it, there wasn’t another fully vegan festival at the time. Now, five years later, just as the festival has grown and expanded, so has the vegan community around it, both locally and in the broader scope.
“The conversation’s changed,” said Morrison, adding that when the festival was first starting, they’d still have to define veganism — a way of life that excludes animal products and byproducts, not just from one’s diet but all products — to many people. “Now, there’s a heightened awareness around the term and the lifestyle. We’re starting on a different level.”